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Despite recent spike, latest stats show crime rate decrease in Marshalltown

October 3, 2013
By ABIGAIL PELZER - Managing Editor ( , Times-Republican

Over the course of Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper's 21-year career in law enforcement he's found that some crime comes in cycles.

"You see spikes and then you see periods where crime is very low," Tupper said. "Nobody really pays attention when nothing is happening."

However, Tupper is quick to point out that he shares the concerns of local residents that have seen several significant crimes in the past few weeks.

Article Photos

Police discovered an adult male’s body late Tuesday night at this home at 502 N. Fourth Ave. in Marshalltown. Two Marshalltown men face charges related to the murder. Despite a recent outbreak in crime, the Marshalltown Police Chief says Marshalltown is a safe community.

Tuesday's homicide investigation is the second murder in Marshalltown this year. September was marked with several high-profile crimes - the attempted murder of a teenager, an armed robbery at a convenience store and a woman robbed at gunpoint at the mall.

But despite the uptick, crime rates in Marshalltown have declined the past two years, Tupper said. The 2012 annual report for the department showed several positives signs, including a decline in both burglary and theft cases.

"The last three or four weeks in our community is not what we like to see or what we typically see," he said. "If you look back at the history of this community, homicides are fairly rare."

Fact Box

Recent violent crimes in Marshalltown

July 14

Marshalltown woman Rebecca Hall is found dead in a minivan on East Main Street. Police later arrest Mathew Irving and charge him with first-degree murder. Court records indicate Irving strangled Hall to death and then left the scene of the crime.

Sept. 10

A 17-year-old Marshalltown boy shows up at the hospital seeking treatment for a gunshot wound to the head. Daniel Robert Lott, 32, of Marshalltown, is later arrested for the attempted murder of Mario G. Murrrillo. The incident took place in an alley north of the 600 block of West State Street.

Sept. 15

Marshalltown Police begin a death investigation along with the Division of Criminal Investigation. Police later determine an accidental shooting caused the death of Daniel Berg, 33, at his home on 12 W. Grant St. Police describe the incident as a tragic accident.

Sept. 18

As employees were preparing to close Casey's General Store, 1009 Lincoln Way, a man walked in with a semi-automatic pistol and fled with an undisclosed amount of money taken from the register. Police later released surveillance images, but a suspect remains at large.

Sept. 25

A woman is robbed of her purse at gunpoint in the parking lot of the Marshall Town Center. Police later arrested two suspects, Andrew Xavier Ramirez, 22, with first-degree robbery, going armed with intent and possession of a firearm. Frances Tillie Gasca, 22, is arrested with charges related to using the stolen credit cards in Marshalltown and the Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines. Another male suspect involved in the initial robbery remains at large.

Oct. 1

Police begin investigating a suspicious death and conclude that a man was murdered at 502 N. Fourth Ave. Jeremy A. Gartin, 30, is charged with first-degree murder and carrying a concealed weapon. Max E. Nelson, Jr., 55, is charged with accessory after the fact, first-degree theft and abuse of a corpse. Both men are being held without bond.

Moreover, Tupper said when serious crimes do occur, police are solving crimes quickly.

"The staff of the police department is working very hard, very diligently and resolving them very quickly," he said. "You don't see significant crimes going unsolved for long periods of time."

In addition the recent incidents, in 2012 the police department made swift arrests for a homicide, arson fire and an armed bank robbery in which an officer was shot.

Tupper said Marshalltown is a safe place and he doesn't have concerns about the overall safety for the community.

The most concerning and frequent crime the police department deals with is domestic violence, he said.

"We're not seeing a lot of random crime where people have to be worried about walking the streets," he said. "I'm proud to call Marshalltown home. I wouldn't raise my family here if it wasn't a safe place to be."



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