DES MOINES, Iowa — Social distancing and self-quarantines have impacted the Des Moines Police Department’s workload.
On March 15, Mayor Frank Cownie declared a state of emergency. Then on March 21, Cownie launched a stay-at-home initiative. In the two weeks that have passed since the mayor’s declaration, calls for service to the police department have dropped 14 percent.
“What that tells us is that people are staying inside. They are getting along for the most part, and that it’s one thing that we can do to kind of flatten the curve, stop the spread a little bit because we’re not going from one contact to another as much as we were last year, so that’s a good sign,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek.
More specifically, thefts have decreased as people are spending more time at home. Domestic calls have increased, those specifically related to arguments within a relationship that does not result in violence. The most dramatic drop in calls for service relates to “child in need of service.”
“When you look at that drop you might think that’s a good thing, but it’s a little concerning that kids aren’t in school, so we’re a little worried at times that maybe they’re not getting the same attention or the eyes aren’t on them like we thought they were. So that’s one of the community pieces where people can really step up and help us out. If you see something, say something. We want to make sure that the kids in our community are safe and being cared for,” said Parizek.
Parizek also says that although many businesses, schools, etc. are closed, there are still resources available for people at home.
“There’s a lot of different resources out there. [Calling] 211 is a great stop to get directed to the right place if you need somebody to talk to. yourlifeiowa.org you can call, you can text them and there’s someone there who can talk to you. You can always get ahold of the police because we’ve got a mobile health crisis, people that are working with us that can come to your home and talk to you,” said Parizek.