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Des Moines About to Top Record for Homicides in 2017

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The city of Des Moines could set a record for the number of homicides this year. Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department says if another homicide happens, it will be the most the city has seen in over a decade.

“Right now we are at 21, and in 2015, that was the mark we hit for the whole year, and that was the highest we’d hit since 1995. So, with so much time remaining in the year, there’s a very real possibility we’ll hit that,” says Parizek.

“We’ve had as low as 5 in a year. We tend to hover around the 7, 8, 9 range.”

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Parizek about gun violence in Des Moines.

“It seems to me that there are a lot more guns out there in the wrong hands,” says Parizek. “I don’t know if it’s the access to firearms, but it’s the comfort people have when they have access to use them. With kids, they don’t think beyond the end of that gun when they pull the trigger. The bad combination is guns in young hands.”

In this hour of River to River, we also hear from IPR’s Katarina Sostaric about the concerns black Iowans have regarding Iowa's new stand your ground laws, and Dawn Sweet, professor of communication studies and psychology at Iowa State University, about a new study she published on the likelihood that a police officer can detect a concealed firearm.

Then in the second half of the program, we hear from University of Iowa sociology professor Mark Berg about cross-national rates of gun violence, and journalist Al Tompkins about how the media covers gun violence. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River