Preliminary data provided by the Davenport Police Department shows that there were 29 confirmed reports of shots fired in the first month of 2018.

That’s more than double the amount reported between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31 of 2017. 

“Any amount of confirmed gunshots is alarming to us,” Davenport Police Maj. Jeff Bladel said. “It’s definitely something that we pay close attention to, definitely something as an agency that we want to make sure our resources are focused in those right directions to curb gun violence."

Shots fired, as well as vehicles thefts, are two crime trends that are continuing into 2018 in Davenport, as well as the metro Quad-City area, according to data obtained by the Quad-City Times. 

The Times reached out to local law enforcement to talk about the numbers and how they are addressing the issue.

Shootings

In January 2017, Davenport had 11 confirmed shots fired incidents and 20 in 2016. Davenport recorded 168 verified shots-fired calls in all of 2017.

Bladel said there is no specific pattern of highs and lows and that “we get a variety just about every month.”

He said that while it is too early too early to determine why there was an uptick in the number, the vast majority of them were target-specific and “essentially are retaliatory conflict.”

Davenport is not the only community that had shots ring out in the first month of the year. Rock Island reported four confirmed shots fired incidents, while Moline and East Moline reported two each.

Moline Police Detective and Public Information Officer Michael Griffin said there were no injuries reported in either shooting and there were no known victims or targets at this time. No arrests have been made, he added.

Davenport in January recorded the first two homicides in the Quad-Cities. On Jan. 8, police found the body of Chuck Oliver, 47, of Denham Springs, Louisiana, in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Flying J Truck Stop.

Police have not officially said how he died. No arrests have been made as of Tuesday.

At 11:15 p.m. Jan. 26, Davenport police responded to the 1300 block of Warren Street and found Angel Herrera, 17, of Davenport, who had been shot.

He later died at University Hospitals, Iowa City.

“That’s something that shocks any community,” Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane said of Herrera’s death.

No arrests have been made in his death.

On Jan. 28, officers responded to the 700 block of Howell Street and the 400 block of Fillmore Street after receiving simultaneous reports of shots fired.

Later that day, Adan Herrera, 23, of Davenport, who is listed as Angel Herrera's brother in his obituary, was arrested and charged with assault by displaying a dangerous weapon, an aggravated misdemeanor, in connection with the incident.

Police say Adan Herrera was driving his gray 2008 Chevrolet Impala south on Fillmore Street and was approaching West 4th Street and intentionally rammed a dark blue 1992 Toyota truck in the rear.

Approximately two shots were fired from the Chevrolet Impala at the truck after impact, according to affidavit. The truck turned westbound on West 4th Street from Fillmore Street and the Chevrolet Impala began chasing it at a high rate of speed down West 4th Street, according to police.

Police have declined to say whether the two shootings are related.

Bladel said that the majority of the gun-related incidents reported in January are open investigations and that officers are taking the time to not only piece together each individual investigation but also trying to determine whether there are connections between the incidents.

He said police will continue a multi-pronged approach, as well as aggressive patrolling, to help curb gun violence in Davenport.

“We also utilize every bit of investigative resource and information gathering, as well as utilize our partnerships with federal law enforce to include our local law enforcement,” Bladel said.

“It’s not one thing that helps curb gun crimes.”

He added that the department follows up on each incident with an aggressive prosecution plan and works with federal partners to get more prosecutions for gun crimes and gun-related incidents.

Stolen vehicles

Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, Davenport had 58 stolen vehicles, up from 43 reported in January 2017. Bettendorf had three, up from two in 2017; Moline had 18, up from six in 2017; and Rock Island had nine, down from 11 in 2017. 

One incident happened Jan. 26 in the 3900 block of State Street in Bettendorf. Police say three juveniles fled from police in stolen silver Toyota Corolla that ended with the vehicle crashing in to a telephone police at Greenwood Drive and Wood Lane.

The vehicle had been previously reported stolen two days prior from Davenport, Bettendorf Police Capt. Keith Kimball said.

He said Bettendorf police recovered a stolen vehicle Jan. 16 in the 900 block of 39th Street; three on Jan. 25 in the 3700 block of Creek Hill Drive; and one on Jan. 26 in the 900 block of 39th Street.

Kimball said the recovered vehicles were stolen in Davenport and Moline.

Bladel said that in many cases, cars are left running or have the keys still inside.

“The far majority of these cars (thefts) are still very preventable,” he said.

Last spring, police in the Illinois and Iowa Quad-Cities launched the “Lock It Up" initiative and urged owners to secure their vehicles and valuables to help cut down on the number of thefts and break-ins.

Police have said that many of the vehicle thefts are being committed by juveniles who are taking them for a joy ride. In some cases, they are eluding police and using the vehicles to commit much more serious, forcible felonies, like robberies. 

Lane said that as of Tuesday, Scott County currently has 14 juveniles who have been remanded to the adult jail on forcible felony-type crimes.

Three of those juveniles are being housed in Scott County, while nine of them are being housed out of the county. Two are being housed in the juvenile detention center, he said.

Lane said he has been appealing to state law makers to make changes in the juvenile justice system and wants to see juveniles being classified by the severity of their crimes when they are in the juvenile detention center.

Scott County law enforcement, the court system, the Iowa Department of Human Services and other local service agencies also are exploring the possibility of establishing a juvenile assessment center to help provide services earlier to juvenile offenders. 

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