STORM LAKE, Iowa (KTIV) – Storm Lake city leaders say they have one of the most diverse communities in the state of Iowa.
So what makes the town thrive?
“Our crime has been trending down for almost a decade while we have become more and more diverse,” says Mark Prosser, Storm Lake Public Safety Director.
Prosser has worked in law enforcement for nearly 40 years.
Prosser says as the community has diversified, crime rates have not gone up.
“For those individuals who might be confused that immigrants, whether documented or not are disproportionately involved in criminal activity, national studies show that’s not true and the Storm Lake story shows that’s not true,” says Prosser.
Law enforcement officials say they spend a lot of time developing relationships with people in this community.
They say Storm Lake is really an example for other places across the nation.
“I think a lot of communities are starting to experience a shift in demographics especially smaller rural communities. We’re used to diversity in our large urban centers but, it’s a drastic change for some smaller communities in rural America,” says Prosser.
That shift in demographics has been embraced in Storm Lake.
Prosser says the community has learned to adapt and is stronger for it.
“Our businesses have learned new marketing strategies, our elected officials have learned to adapt to a multi-lingual community and how to get information out and how to do business,” says Prosser.
Prosser says the community has continued to see growth over the past decades as a result.
“Our growth and our enrichment is all about our immigrant growth. They have brought that gift to this community,” says Prosser.