Iowa’s Department of Public Safety has compiled statewide crime statistics for last year, and Iowa Public Safety agency spokesman Jim Saunders says we’re in luck…in many categories the numbers are too small to mean much.
Saunders says the Midwest enjoys pretty low crime rates compared to the rest of the country, and it makes more sense to collect crime statistics over many years than to try and compare one year to the next. He says such low numbers can be affected by many things and don’t necessarily point to any trend. He says that’s clear in the 2005 reports just released for Iowa.
From 2004 to 2005 in all the categories compiled for this report, he says there was less than a one-percent increase in crimes. Some of the good news in the report — the number of murders were down last year. Saunders says we saw the lowest number of homicides in Iowa that have been reported since 1974, the year when DPS began collecting crime statistics. Last year it was 42, a record low for murders, with a slight one-point-three-percent increase overall in crimes against persons.
Saunders says it’s quite possible that law enforcement is doing a better job of reporting and compiling crime statistics. He says there’s a lot to be learned from thorough investigation and good record-keeping. Kidnapping was down 8-percent, property crimes fell. But looking at drug crimes, you see that there was a 40-percent decrease in 2005 in the manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine. In general, property crimes like theft were down, and crimes against people like assault and rape, were slightly up last year.