United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr, Waterloo Police Chief Daniel Trelka, and other community partners today announced a new initiative to enhance efforts to combat violent crime in Waterloo. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001. The Safer Areas For Everyone (SAFE) initiative is an effort by the Waterloo Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office to implement lessons learned from PSN and other programs over the years and to continue to reduce violent crime in Waterloo.
Since 2009, Waterloo’s overall crime rate has declined by more than 30%. However, certain violent crime continues to warrant special attention. Through a comprehensive strategy building upon the successes already achieved in Waterloo with a community policing philosophy, the Waterloo Police Department and the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa are expanding their collaborative efforts to achieve even greater success through the cutting edge SAFE initiative. Waterloo was chosen to participate in this initiative due to the success already achieved in the city and the detailed data compiled by the police department.
The goal of SAFE is to reduce violent crime and make Waterloo neighborhoods safer for all to enjoy. The initiative includes holding violent offenders accountable, but also intervening in the cycle of criminal behavior that evolves into violent conduct through discussions with the public and encouraging communities to help law enforcement in this effort. SAFE will also seek to support locally-based prevention, rehabilitation, and re-entry efforts, to stop violence and crimes before they occur and to help those who have been punished return to society as law-abiding citizens.
United States Attorney Peter Deegan stated, “Reducing violent crime and protecting our communities remains a top priority for my office.” Deegan added, “We have worked closely with the Waterloo Police Department over the years and the SAFE initiative is the next step in making the streets of Waterloo safer for all members of the community. We will continue to hold the most dangerous criminal offenders accountable, but will also ensure that those who want to be contributing members of society can do so through rehabilitation and successful re-entry. Working with our community partners to provide services and opportunities to those looking to end the cycle of violence will make the streets of Waterloo safer.”
Waterloo Police Chief Daniel Trelka stated, “My department works hard to keep the streets of Waterloo safe for everyone.” Chief Trelka added, “The SAFE initiative will allow us to build upon the successes we have had in the past while looking to make our streets safer in the future. Our partnerships with community members and law enforcement agencies in the area will only grow stronger and will provide paths for success through rehabilitation and community resources.”
Other participants in SAFE are the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Iowa Department of Corrections, the Black Hawk County Attorney’s Office, and members of the community in Waterloo.