SIOUX CITY -- Overall violent crime in Sioux City increased by 26 percent last year, while total crime decreased by 10 percent, according to preliminary data released by the Sioux City Police Department Monday.
A total of 461 violent crimes were reported in 2020, compared to 366 the previous year. The number of overall crimes decreased from 3,569 in 2019 to 3,197 in 2020.
Police Chief Rex Mueller noted in a statement that many of the violent crimes reported were gun-related.
"An interesting question that the numbers will likely not tell us, is how the worldwide pandemic influenced crime rates. While the pandemic likely did impact local crime numbers, we cannot currently specify exactly how. Any theories would be speculation without more supportive data to provide context," he said.
Mueller said factors such as economic conditions, age and demographics of population, geography and climate, population density, citizen education, and cultural factors "provide variables that more significantly affect crime."
The city saw increases in murder and non-negligent manslaughter (2 in 2019 to 6 in 2020), robbery (57 in 2019 to 75 in 2020), aggravated assault (257 in 2019 to 334 in 2020) and motor vehicle theft (248 in 2019 to 284 in 2020).
There were decreases in burglary (645 in 2019 to 489 in 2020), larceny/theft (2,310 in 2019 to 1,948 in 2020) and total property crimes (3,203 in 2019 to 2,736 in 2020). The number of arsons reported remained unchanged at 15.
Mueller said violent crime generally cannot be predicted and that police patrol tactics and strategies "only have a limited impact on crime rates."
"Clearly the rise in violent crime is something that we have given special focus to. Many of these violent crimes are gun related, and current departmental initiatives are doing a very good job of identifying and prosecuting our most dangerous local offenders," he said. "This 'major offender' approach continues to utilize evidence based techniques and area law enforcement partnerships to share vital data and intelligence. Finally, work with local and federal prosecutors assists in ensuring violent offenders receive appropriate sentences for their crimes."