Neighbors gather in park to hear crime stats

34th Place Neighborhood Watch member Steve Howard speaks with community members Saturday during a community forum in Old Settler's Park. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – Over some hot dogs and beverages, about a dozen Fort Madison residents gathered in Old Settler’s Park to talk crime and neighborhood watch groups.

Representatives from the 34th Place, Lincoln, and Dry Creek Neighborhood Watch groups spoke to the group about getting a neighborhood watch started in their area of the town.

Larry Lee Stewart, of the Lincoln group, gave a detailed description of criminal activity in the area, including small crimes like property damage and larcenies to violent crimes.

His violent crime information comes from a Federal Bureau of Investigation database and outlined where in the community there are hot spots of crime.

Steve Howard, with the 34th Place group, has helped get the other two groups. He told a story about a vehicle that was moving through the area a couple years ago the group brought to the attention of authorities who were able to catch the man and put him in jail on multiple counts.

“This thing works,” Howard told the group.

He said the data compiled by Stewart was eye-opening.

“These charts just blow you away,” Howard said.

Larry Lee Stewart shows a graphic to community members outlining crime spots in Fort Madison over the past year. The green spots indicate locations where criminal activity has been documented. Red are concentrated crime locations in the city. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Stewart said he there were too many things going on today.

“We just had too many events going on today and it just sucked people away from here,” Stewart said.

“We had eight or nine people that weren’t from the watch, but the rest were from the groups. But we did have a good conversation with one person who’s very interested in getting a group started in her neighborhood, so that makes it all worth it.”

Stewart said the numbers over the past six years show a shift in crime in the city to several concentrated areas. One near 8th and G. Smith said Fort Madison is the No. 1 city in the state for stolen bicycles. He also said 90 percent of all stolen motor vehicles in Fort Madison during the same time have been taken because the keys were left in the vehicle.

Stewart said that six guns were taken from the motor vehicles taken and only three have been recovered. Two of those were taken by juveniles.

Stewart said his non-violent crime statistics were compiled from Pen City Current’s For the Record section, which is information received daily from Fort Madison Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Department. He said he left out shoplifting charges.

The groups have been holding open meetings and now community meetings to help educate residents in other neighborhoods on creating and sustaining there own watch groups.

Anyone interested in more information on how to get the watch groups started can visit them on Facebook at (34th Place) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1563343443950722/, (Lincoln) https://www.facebook.com/groups/742909882536500/, (Dry Creek) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1574131209554770/


About Chuck Vandenberg 5464 Articles
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1 Comment

  1. The juvenile crime has been let out of control in our town last few years so weve had to spend lots of extra money to keep our place safe.not only have we had street lights put up, two of them that we pay for that the city should supply anyway,to go along with outside lights on our house and garage and couple cameras.plus i like standing watch til after midnight with my baseball bat and phone in hand ready to use.
    Not only the young kids being allowed to act foolish we also have a huge wave of people walking around on meth.they are scavanging anything and everything around.any and all vacant houses are being trashed and burned down by these meth users.
    Then we also have a group of homeless cart pushers.they are walking down middle of roads with their carts of trash and pop cans.
    These three groups of people are doing it all.
    With the amount of police officers being paid for by our tax money we shouldnt have to pay extra to keep our house and neighborhoods safe.parents need to be liable for their kids actions and we need a crackdown on the meth people and cart people.police need to be allowed and do their jobs, judges and prosecuters need to do theirjobs too.stop being easy on these people.keep them in jail for more than a night.fine and jail their parents for lack of being a parent.and the meth people is no reason they are walkibg around.if you was walking from a bar drunk youd get arrested so why wouldnt someone walking around on meth not be?
    The nieghborhood watch thing is a good idea but making parents be parents is a better idea.

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