Police: crime rate in Waterloo is not what you'd expect - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Police: crime rate in Waterloo is not what you'd expect

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -  A chart put together by Waterloo Police Chief Dan Trelka shows the crime rate in Waterloo is not as bad as many believe.

Trelka says it's not a secret Waterloo has faced a challenging reputation for quite some time, but contrary to what many people may believe, the crime rate has been on a downward trend over the past five years,

He says it's news pessimists need to know.

"it really chaps my hide when people bash Waterloo," said Trelka.

Hurtful memes and comments about Waterloo pepper social media, but those sentiments aren't shared by everyone.

"When I hear some of the crimes being reported, especially lately, it just breaks my heart because I know this is a great place to live, great place to work, great place to be,," said Waterloo resident Drinda Williams.

"I think if the community steps up a little more we could perhaps make it a little safer," said fellow resident Rachel Jones.

Trelka used FBI data to create a chart comparing crimes reported per 1000 residents for the 10 largest cities in Iowa.

With Waterloo coming in as the sixth largest city, 94 incidents is comparatively average.

He says one of the most important takeaways from the data is population, for example, you can't compare the streets of Waterloo to the streets of Chicago, that's like comparing apples to oranges.

"What makes headlines in Waterloo doesn't even make the radar in Chicago, or even Des Moines," said Trelka.

But just because the numbers are better than expected, doesn't mean there isn't still work to do.

"What we need to get a handle on now is our gang violence. The good news is the general population isn't the target, sadly there can be innocent victims like Marshon was, but generally these acts of violence are directed towards other gang members," said Trelka.

In terms of comparing Waterloo to neighboring cities such as Cedar Falls, Trelka said in part, "we cant lose sight of other disparities between Waterloo and our neighboring cities such as population size and socioeconomic factors. Each and every one of those elements impact the other if we can improve upon even one, the others tend to follow."



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