In FD, crime is on the decline, with one exception
Financial crimes are on the rise
Overall, crime is going down in Fort Dodge.
But there is an exception: financial offenses.
There was an increase in counterfeiting, forgery and fraud in Fort Dodge in 2018, according to Fort Dodge Police Chief Roger Porter.
There were 64 counterfeits and forgeries reported in 2017.
That number rose to 143 in 2018.
Porter believes it’s because of access to technology.
“We have seen an uptick in counterfeit bills,” he said. “People are making copies of bills and the technology makes it so they are able to print and make bills that, at first appearance, look real. So they’re able to get by with it.”
Phone scams are another problem that Fort Dodge has had to deal with, but Porter said it’s a challenge to get an arrest in those cases.
“They are hard to investigate because a lot of the suspects don’t even live in the same country they’re calling,” he said.
He advised being alert when it comes to answering phone numbers that are unknown. If someone asks for personal information, do not give it to them.
“If it sounds too good to be real, it’s probably not true,” he said. “If they claim to be from the credit card company saying, ‘We need this information because you have some charges,’ just hang up and call your credit card company back directly and ask if they made that call.” Credit card companies usually have that kind of information already, so there’s no reason for them to solicit that information over the phone, he said.
An issue Fort Dodge has not yet seen, he said, is credit card skimming.
“We haven’t really seen that here yet, but they are popping up around the country and state. They’ve been reported in Ames and the Des Moines area.”
He advised that when using an ATM or credit card reader, tug on it first to see if there’s a skimmer attached to it before using it.
When gathering crime statistics, the Police Department groups crimes into two categories.
Group A is anything that is reported.
Group B includes incidents in which an arrest was made. It includes crimes considered simple misdemeanors.
In Fort Dodge in 2018, there were 2,156 crimes reported, which is Group A. In 2017, that number was 2,231, a decline of 75.
In 2018, incidents that would be considered a part of Group B totalled 944. That number was 1,179 in 2017.
The Fort Dodge Police Department reports all of its crime statistics to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Police Department also regularly posts information on crimes on its social media pages to help alert the public about what’s happening.
The good news is that statistics show a drop in violent crimes.
“All violent crime has gone down,” Porter said.
He attributes that to members of the community being more willing to report crimes to law enforcement.
“We have a good investigations unit, but I think what it boils down to is having the community events and getting the citizens to work with us and report things,” he said. “They may see something and they’re reporting it rather than just saying, ‘Well, I don’t want to bother the police.’ They’re actually getting involved and providing information for us to follow up on.”