SIOUX CITY (KTIV) — The Sioux City Police Department announces its preliminary crime statistics for 2018. We see them every year: crime statistics released by cities all across Siouxland. It’s a count of how much crime happened the year before, but do these numbers tell the whole story?
A look at the preliminary numbers shows when it comes to violent crime, Sioux City had 341 reported incidents in 2018. Murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault crimes make up that category. Up last year from 2017 are murder and aggravated assaults. Down? Forcible rape and robbery.
The other category is property crime, which is broken down into burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. Sioux City had slightly more than 3-thousand property crimes in 2018. Up last year from 2017 is burglary and arson.Down? Theft, and motor vehicle theft.
KTIV’s Ashly Richardson recently spent some time with Sioux City Police Chief Rex Mueller. She is “Digging Deeper” on the impacts of those statistics and why the numbers don’t always tell the whole story.
Chief Mueller said he is happy to see the numbers in crime mostly decreasing, but he says the police department can’t take all the credit for it. He said there are a number of things that really impact the numbers.
Chief Mueller said sometimes stats don’t tell the entire story.
It’s a typical day for Sioux City Police Chief Rex Mueller. He’s been the police Chief of Sioux City for about a year and a half now, but he’s been with the department for more than 22 years. He said he believes Sioux City has a low crime rate.
“Over the last several years in Sioux City, crime has been fairly consistent. We will see a small uptick in some area crime, we’ll see s small downturn in others but, I can say from a general stand point crime has been fairly steady,” said Chief Mueller.
He said numbers don’t tell the entire story.
“I think that the community members, how they feel here, where they feel safe going, going out at night. Do they feel comfortable doing that. I think those talk about the community better than the numbers do, but that being said, do I like the numbers going down? Yes,” said Chief Mueller.
Chief Mueller adds they really value how the community feels. So much so that, he said, they are constantly trying to get feedback from residents.
“We’re really constantly getting the communities input as to how we’re doing the job, having town hall meetings, having open forums where we invite people in to tell us the way that they like the department to direct its efforts and its resources,” said Chief Mueller.
Chief Mueller said it’s not just good police work that goes into the crime statistics we are seeing.
“We’d like to think law enforcement has a big impact and, I think we do have an impact but, there’s so many other factors that impact crime that don’t have anything to do with law enforcement. So, it’s nice to know we’ve got a relatively low crime rate,” said Chief Mueller.
However, what exactly is affecting the crime numbers in the community? Chief Mueller said there’s a lot that can affect crime statistics including things like the weather and socioeconomic status of citizens, but that’s not all.
“A lot of things can weigh in. the job rate in the community. The current economy in a community. The jobless numbers can impact that, the composition of the community, is it largely an older population or largely a younger population?,” said Chief Mueller.
The Chief said Sioux City Police take every single call they receive, no matter what so that could also be another factor.
“We take all these calls for service that other departments might not, has an impact on our crime rate so, that could do it,” said Chief Mueller.
Chief Mueller said having a good relationship with members of the community is key to the departments success.
Overall though, he said he is happy with the numbers.
“Bottom line is this is a great community. I live here for a reason. I’m confident that we have a low crime rate and a safe town. It’s something that is always a work in progress with us. We are always changing our policing tactics to deal with any new threats and we try to stay ahead of those threats by the way we police and the progressive way we do that,” said Chief Mueller.
Chief Mueller said he hopes people gauge how safe the community is by the way they feel here and how their experiences have taught them how to not be impacted by crime in this town.
The statistics the police department released are preliminary, which means they could change. Sioux City Police said they try to report their crimes based on the FBI’s national statistics. That’s called Uniform Crime Reporting Information. The police department said each city and state have different definitions of crime because of that, the numbers could change slightly.