Crime totals closer to pre-pandemic times

While some crime reports have increased, Monroe County law enforcement agencies have not seen a call volume like prior to the COVID pandemic. 

Monroe County

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department saw 12,781 calls for service in 2021, up a couple hundred from 2020’s 12,369 calls. 

Sheriff Neal Rohlfing said that had the pandemic not lasted into 2021, his department would have seen a higher call volume. 

In 2019, the department saw over 13,000 calls – the highest on record since 2010. 

Between 2019 and 2020, the MCSD’s number of traffic stops decreased. In 2020, these stops increased to top the 2020 figure by over 1,000.

Perhaps the largest increase between the county’s 2020 and 2021 stats was the number of identity thefts. In 2020, the department reported 32. In 2021, this number rose to 201 cases. 

“We have that every now and then every couple of years where it will really jump high,” Rohlfing said. “The biggest (category) is typically tax fraud, and we’re going to see that here coming up.” 

Rohlfing’s advice? File your taxes early.

“The key on that is to file as early as you can,” he said. “What I’ve seen is the people who wait until late March or right into the beginning of April or if they extend it again like last year are the people who are getting hit. If you file as soon as you can, you’ve already filed so somebody can’t steal your identity and file their taxes on you.” 

The department also recorded a substantial increase in methamphetamine arrests between 2020 and 2021. In 2020, the MCSD reported 45 meth arrests and 26 arrests for controlled substances. 

In 2021, these figures grew to 53 and 31, respectively. 

Rohlfing said the increase did not come as a surprise. 

“I think it’s just we continue to see an increase in it because the availability has just gone through the roof with the amount of crystal methamphetamine coming across the southern border,” Rohlfing said. “It’s a very cheap drug for cartels to make and they ship it across the border by the thousands of pounds.”

With crystal meth being so cheap to obtain from other countries, individuals in the United States are not taking the risks associated with manufacturing it themselves – including potentially having the ingredients tracked and turning their space into a toxic lab. 

Rohlfing said St. Louis is a major distribution point because of all the interstates, and of the arrests his department made, most were on major roadways. 

“A lot of it is individuals bringing drugs into our community … the majority of it is not our residents,” Rohlfing said of these arrests. “We do have some pocket areas of problems and people who are using drugs, but a lot of the people (arrested) are a transient part of the population who are driving down the interstate and driving down Route 3 and (Route) 159.” 

Rohlfing estimated at least two-thirds of the meth arrests his department made in 2021 were of out-of-county individuals. 

Also according to MCSD stats, there were 32 accidents with injuries in 2021 and 159 non-injury crashes.


Like the sheriff’s department, the Waterloo Police Department also saw an increase in calls for service. In 2020, they received 10,832, but in 2021, this figure jumped to 11,975. 

Still, this is not on par with 2019’s pre-pandemic number of over 12,000. 

The department also took 202 traffic crash reports in 2021 opposed to 185 in 2020. These were not broken down by injury and non-injury incidents. 

Waterloo Police Chief Jeff Prosise said he expected his department’s stats to rise as more people began resuming normal routines, just as his officers had. 

He explained that in 2020, officers were instructed to limit exposure to the coronavirus by limiting traffic stops to public safety issues. 

“In 2020, we were telling our officers to kind of relax on some of the traffic stops … but they were back to normal for the most part of 2021 with enforcing and stopping cars, so if some of the numbers went up from last year, I think that’s probably (why),” Prosise said. 

Prosise said that in 2021, the WPD issued 890 traffic tickets and 2,149 written warnings. 

While Waterloo’s drug arrest figures did not increase nearly as much as the county’s, they did make two more arrests for possession of meth in 2021, bringing this figure to 10. However, Waterloo made eight controlled substances arrests in 2020 and in 2021. 

“With meth becoming more and more available, those arrests could continue to rise,” Prosise said. 

He noted that his department is not seeing as many fentanyl arrests as in the past, yet they are still seeing overdoses associated with that drug. 


The Columbia Police Department saw one less call than the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department in 2021, losing its 2020 title as the in-county agency with most call volume. 

Still, with 12,780 calls, the CPD topped Waterloo’s total. 

“I believe Columbia’s proximity to St. Louis and South County and having Interstate 255 are reasons for our higher call volume,” Columbia Police Chief Jason Donjon explained. “I believe you still have a lot of people who are not going into work, or (who) are working from home, and that is why the numbers are still not up from pre-pandemic.” 

In 2019, Columbia reported 14,423 calls for service. 

Like the sheriff’s department, Columbia police saw a substantial increase in identity theft reports. In 2020, Donjon reported the department handled 58 such calls, and in 2021 they had 152. 

Donjon noted auto thefts also rose since 2020. 

“However – I don’t want to jinx anything – we have seen a big decrease in the last four months of 2021,” Donjon said of auto thefts. 

Donjon also reminded residents to lock their vehicle doors overnight.

Second to warrants, drug offenses were a large arrest category for Columbia. 

In 2021, the CPD made seven arrests for possession of meth and 14 for controlled substances. 

Domestic battery is the third largest 2021 arrest category for Columbia, Donjon said. In 2021, the CPD took 28 domestic battery reports and 17 arrests. 


The Valmeyer Police Department was the only local law enforcement agency to see its call volume further decrease from 2020. 

In 2019, Valmeyer saw 1,140 calls for service. In 2020, this figure dropped to 674 and further decreased to 640 in 2021. 

Valmeyer Police Chief Marty Seitz said his department’s numbers in regard to traffic were less than half compared to recent years. They had further dropped since the pandemic began – in 2020, the department made 106 traffic stops while in 2021 they made 97. 

“I would attribute that to the COVID situation and less traffic on the roadways, and also limiting the person-to-person contacts,” Seitz said. 

He said Valmeyer typically makes 15-20 arrests a year. In 2021, the department made eight. 

Like the CPD and MCSD, Valmeyer saw the number of ID theft reports rise in 2021, although it did not provide an exact number in its report. 

“The most common was the Chase Bank debit card fraud,” Seitz said. 

Other than in the above areas, Seitz said 2021’s report was similar to that of past years. 

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Madison Lammert

Madison is a reporter at the Republic-Times. She has over six years of experience in journalistic writing. Madison is a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mass communications. Before graduating and working at the Republic-Times, Madison worked for SIUE’s student newspaper, The Alestle, for many years. During her time there she filled many roles, including editor-in-chief. When she is not working, she likes to spend time with her dog and try new restaurants across the river.
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