BLACK HAWK COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) – Crime statistics for 2018 are in for Black Hawk County and show an increase in a few types of crimes including assault.
Leaders of the Center for Violence Prevention at the University of Northern Iowa said well-informed bystanders are important in driving down the number of assaults and early intervention is key.
“We are responsible as human beings to not be passive when we see something happening, but we have to be trained in order to be responsive,” said Annette Lynch, co-founder of the center and interim director of the School of Applied Human Sciences.
Simple assaults increased in Waterloo by six percent; increasing from 648 to 697. For those hande county as a whole, the number nearly doubled; 11 in 2017 and up to 21 in 2018.
With the population of Black Hawk County being around 132,000 people, that means about 1 in every 200 people fell victim to simple assault.
Dr. Michael Fleming is the Director of Research and Assessment at the center. He said many of these assaults existed in the past, but now people are becoming less afraid of reporting them.
“More of the iceberg is being revealed. Prior to that, just the tip of it. As more people talk about these things and address these issues, more of this iceberg that has been hidden begins to get revealed,” said Fleming.
Lynch said bystanders can be the best ally in stopping a bad situation, but need to be trained so as to not make the situation worse.
“You end up revictimizing without really intending to or how to you create more problems than less problems,” she said.
The Center for Violence Prevention is hosting a bystander training session at the Cedar Valley Unitarian Universalists at 3912 Cedar Heights Drive in Cedar Falls. It will be Friday, January 18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
*Simple assault is different from other forms of assault such as domestic and aggravated. Simple assault is generally defined as the attempt to do serious bodily harm to another person or doing something to make them believe you will hurt them.
The 2018 crime statistics for Waterloo can be found here.
The 2018 annual report, including crime statistics, for Black Hawk County has not been posted to their website as of this writing.