Shots Fired: Part 2
DUBUQUE – Since 2012, reports of shots fired have been on the rise. As of today, 30 reports have been filed for 2015, already surpassing last year’s number of 25. That’s got Dubuquers concerned.
The City Council has agreed to fund more streelights and cameras on the streets, while the Police Department says they are continuing to engage with community programs.
Still, people are wondering; why did this spike in gun violence happen in the first place?
Depending on who you ask, you’ll hear different theories.
Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Lisa Garoutte says that it is because Dubuque is growing.
“Crime is going up and part of that is just associated with a larger city, right. So anytime you have more people, there’s going to be an increase in violence.”
While Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Dr. Valeria Bell speculates that it might be gang related.
“We may be seeing an increase in gang members in this neighborhood.”
No matter what the reason, some people are concerned about the impact this violence has on kids.
Dr. Bell stresses the importance of children having good role models.
“We need these kids to have positive people to hang out with,” she stresses.
The Dream Center in downtown Dubuque is seeking to do just that by offering an afterschool mentorship program to reach those most in need.
Director of Communication Jay Schiesl works with the kids at the center directly.
“What we’re trying to do at the Dream Center is empower, engage and build relationships with families and children in the downtown community.”
He stresses that their goal at the Dream Center is not to prevent violence. However, their programs have the potential to make a big difference.
“We never look at it as we’re stopping violence, we just believe that once we empower and we begin to engage kids and families within the program, they begin to take ownership in the Dream Center and they begin to take ownership within the community.”
If you would like to get involved at the Dream Center, visit their website to find out how you can help.