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Dalsing: USA Today Characterization of Dubuque Crime Rate Off Base

Dalsing

Dubuque Police are disputing how a recent USA Today article characterizes the level of crime in the city. Dubuque was listed at #6 on the publication’s list of “25 Cities Where Crime is Soaring.” USA Today arrived at their findings by comparing crime statistics in the years 2011 and 2016. According to those numbers, Dubuque saw a 56% increase in violent crime over those five years. But Police Chief Mark Dalsing says those numbers can be deceiving, based on changes made in how the department classifies and reports crimes, which created an artificially low number of crimes. Dalsing notes that smaller cities, like Dubuque, can see wide swings in the “crime rate” based on just a handful of incidents. That’s evidenced by comparing the homicide numbers in Dubuque in recent years. While statistics can be easily manipulated, Dalsing says he’s more concerned with how Dubuque residents feel about crime. Dubuque is one of three Iowa cities on the list, along with Waterloo and Des Moines. Dalsing says he wouldn’t want to trade places with the chiefs from either of those cities. The USA Today article does note that, despite the increase in reported crimes since 2011, that Dubuque is still – in their words – “one of the safest places in the country.”

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