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'We can't continue on at the pace that we are': Des Moines police concerned about shootings

Des Moines police say the number of people shot in the city is concerning, especially looking at the trends going in to 2022.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Two Illinois residents were shot with an AR-15 Sunday after coming to a Des Moines home to pick up a pair of shoes, an incident that police say is part of a concerning trend.

"We're not even through the first quarter of the year yet," Des Moines Police Department Sgt. Paul Parizek said. "And we've had over 40 shooting incidents."

He said 18 people have been shot in the 44 incidents so far this year, and there was an unsettling trend coming into 2022 as well.

"The number that stood out the most for us was the number of people that were actually hit by gunfire, it nearly doubled from 2020 to 2021."

In 2020, 49 people were shot in 224 shootings. Last year, that number skyrocketed, with 86 people hit in 232 shootings.

Even though the number of gunshot victims spiked last year, Parizek says those killed in shootings actually dropped by six. 

"Our hospitals are saving more people," he said.

When looking at the pace of gunfire in the city so far this year, Parizek said there isn't a clear explanation.

"We ask ourselves that all the time as to 'why is this happening? And what can we do to impact that?'" he said.

Parizek believes curbing this growing number will require a team effort, which can't happen overnight. 

"I think the most important piece that's missing right now is that prevention piece," he said. "And that's something that not just the police can do, we need the community support. Everybody's got to step up, because we can't continue on at the pace that we are."

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