Des Moines murder rate rose in 2020

(Des Moines, IA) -- Des Moines Police say there were 21 homicides in 2020, up from 14 in 2019. Police say, however, overall calls were 195-thousand, down from 202-thousand in 2019.

Sergeant Paul Parezik says they expected that, given more people stayed home because of the pandemic. He says early on last year, there were more domestics, but that leveled off. Des Moines Police officers took 661 guns off the streets last year.

He says the violent crimes are almost always tied to drugs, gangs, and domestic situations.

Police will start a new effort later this year to recruit new officers. Last here the department received 600-applicants, and currently have the largest class of officers in the police academy the department has ever had.

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