The number of shootings in Iowa’s major cities is increasing, but law enforcement says it’s due to a small number of people.

“Too many people assume that there is some sort of organized gun violence or that there’s an epidemic of gun violence,” said Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Roxann Ryan.

“With each incident, people are assuming that it is someone different. When we talk about local crime, it may be a localized problem. And it may be the same small group of people that are responsible for many of the incidents.”

She said it is important for law enforcement agencies to understand the context, including motivation, in order to address gun violence in their communities.

Dan Trelka, public safety director and police chief in Waterloo, said law enforcement generally knows who is responsible for the gun shots. He said they attributed the roughly 100 shootings in the city last year to about 30 people.

“The problem is our information is coming secondhand from individuals,” he said. “It doesn’t give us solid facts to establish probable cause for an arrest.”

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