CRIME IN RURAL BLACK HAWK COUNTY REMAINED FLAT IN 2020, BUT SEX OFFENSES, DRUNK DRIVING WERE UP
January 20, 2021
WATERLOO -- Overall crime in rural Black Hawk County remained flat in 2020, but the county did see an increase in sex offenses and drunk driving arrests, according to numbers released Tuesday by the sheriff’s office.
Deputies responded to 16 sex offense calls in 2020, up from only three the prior year, and Sheriff Tony Thompson attributed the spike to conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“When people are cooped up, held more closely together for longer periods of time, assaults, substance abuse crimes and sexual assaults can be anticipated to increase,” Thompson said. He said most of the county’s sex crimes involve acquaintances and assailants known by the victims.
Thompson said the increase in operating-while-intoxicated arrests -- which more than doubled from 100 in 2019 to 214 last year -- and drug cases -- which climbed from 213 to 295 -- were a result of increased attention to those areas over the past year. He said deputies were able to concentrate on those offenses because of a dip in calls for service, which went from 8,473 in 2019 to 6,906 last year.
The sheriff’s office crime numbers pertain mainly to cases in the county’s unincorporated areas and not inside the city limits of Waterloo and Cedar Falls, which maintain their own statistics.
Overall index crimes -- homicide, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft -- were relatively flat with 167 last year, compared to 164 in 2019.
But individually, aggravated assaults and burglaries were up while larcenies -- thefts -- were down.
The county saw one homicide in 2020. Chad Buck, 43, was shot and killed by his father on Christmas Day. Witnesses said the shooting was self defense, and the father died of a heart attack days later. No charges were filed.
The Sheriff’s Office also saw a brief drop in its jail population. The average daily population for 2020 was 222 inmates, down from 266 inmates in 2019.
Statistics show this was because of a drop that stared in March at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the courts were releasing all but those facing the most serious charges. The daily population was down to less than 150 inmates in April and May but then began climbing again during the summer before ending the year just short of its 272-bed maximum.
Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.