Waterloo's crime rate drops - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo's crime rate drops

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Despite perception from some, crime is actually down in Waterloo.

The city saw a decline in things like assaults, burglaries, and murders, as well as some minor crimes including trespassing and disorderly conduct in 2016.

Going back to 2009, Waterloo saw a 27% decrease in total offenses.

According to USA.com, Waterloo ranks number seven on the list of cities with the most crime per capita in Iowa.

Council Bluffs at the top of the list. Des Moines sits at number five.

The Waterloo Police Department has been chipping away at the violent and non-violent crimes the city faces over the last seven years.

"The gang issues that we are dealing with in Waterloo. We have got a good handle on it. We just need to hold those who are engaging in violent behavior accountable. We are doing that. Little by little we are doing that," said Waterloo Police Chief Dan Trelka. 

According to Chief Trelka, they do it on a budget. He says his department receives, on average, $50 less from each resident than other major Iowa cities.

However, Waterloo is far from the finish line; a point community activist Sharon Silva wants to drive home.

"Most people will get very excited. I hope the community does not say, 'Oh well, now we don't have to worry. We can just leave it in the hands of the police and we don't have to be concerned.' Because the community absolutely does need to be concerned," said Silva.

Both Silva and Trelka believe the continued improvement in the crime rate and hopefully, the perception of the city's crime, needs community support.

"In many cities across the country, the communities expect too much of their police. They expect them to be teachers, social workers, priests, and councilors. We are the police. We need the help of the community to make this work," said Chief Trelka.

Sharon Silva is part of the Reaching for Respect initiative which focuses on bringing law enforcement leaders and residents to the table to talk about the issues at hand.

For those wishing to get involved in community improvement, Silva asks that they reach out to Chief Trelka to get started.  


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