In many Iowa cities, police see an increase in criminal activity during the summer months. Neighborhood organizations in Cedar Rapids are hoping to curb a recent outbreak of crime by cleaning up areas of the community that have been trouble spots.
Terry Bilsland is president of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association in Cedar Rapids. He watched this week as crews demolished an old apartment building that had been the site of several shootings and stabbings in recent years.
“It was a disgrace to the neighborhood. It was a disgrace to the city,” Bilsland said of the Bever Apartments. “There are a lot of people that are just fed up with some of the stuff that’s going on in the community.” A new effort by the Cedar Rapids Police Department called “text to tip” allows residents to submit anonymous tips about possible criminal activity.
Sergeant Cristy Hamblin said officers are ready to focus their efforts on whatever neighborhoods have trouble. “Whenever we see a certain area of town that’s having an increase in a certain activity, we’ll focus on that,” Hamblin said. There have been an unusually high number of shootings and stabbings in Cedar Rapids this year.
Last Saturday, dozens of residents gathered for a “stop the violence” rally and march.
By Nadia Crow, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids