Does Waterloo deserve a bad reputation for safety? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Does Waterloo deserve a bad reputation for safety?

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Waterloo has a bad rap.

Brent Sadler grew up in the city, and said he thinks the reputation isn’t fair.

“I think if you try to compare it to some of the nearby cities such as Cedar Falls, I think its reputation is negative,” he said.

But reputation is a battle of perceptions, according to Waterloo Director of Safety Services Dan Trelka, in a memo to his officers that recently ran in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

“I’m sorry folks; Waterloo just isn’t as tough as some people want to believe,” he wrote.

And he has the data to back this claim. Trelka’s memo included a graph, comparing the crime rates for Iowa’s largest. Council Bluffs actually tops the list, followed by Des Moines, Davenport and Sioux City, in the order.

Waterloo falls towards the middle, at about half the crime rate of the high mark – and, below average.

Still, the city gets a bad rap, and officials are working to change that. Along with Trelka’s crusade against negative perceptions, Waterloo has offered tax incentives for the past few year.

The two primary programs are the Consolidate Urban Revitalization Application (CURA) and the City Limits Urban Revitalization Application (CLURA), and they offer substantial financial breaks.

But what does that mean for the average person?

"Anywhere within the city limits of Waterloo you can build a single family home and have three years of 100% tax abatement," said Waterloo City Manager Aric Schroeder.

Three years of no property taxes for families building new homes in Waterloo – a way to welcome people to the community, and counter a reputation that might push them away.

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