Waterloo PD and US Attorney Tackling 'SAFE'

WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Waterloo Police and the US Attorney's Office for Iowa's Northern District announced Thursday they're partnering to tackle violent crime in the community.

Waterloo police said several shots hit a house in the 200 block of Denver Street on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. There were no injuries. (Myke Goings/KCRG-TV9)

It comes as the crime rate in Waterloo overall has dropped about 30% since 2009. But, officials there say certain violent crimes still warrant special attention.

Late last month, police responded to four shootings over the course of one morning. One man died and three others were hurt.

The new program is being called the "SAFE" initiative. That's an acronym for Safer Areas For Everyone.

Officials are launching it after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed all US attorney offices to develop ways to cut crime stats in their district's nation-wide.

SAFE is being deployed in Waterloo on sort of a test run.

While officials held back some specifics-- they said the initiative will focus on creating better communication between the community and its police officers. They plan on having regular meetings with town members to not just catch those responsible for crimes but prevent them.

If it works-- and stats reflect that-- people could see something like SAFE down in Cedar Rapids.

"We are going to start in Waterloo with the idea that if we can find success here that this will be a program that we can take to other parts of the state," said US Attorney Peter Deegan, "other parts of the northern district, and hopefully find success in other places as well."0

Why start the program in Waterloo? Deegan says the town has done a great job of tracking its crime data-- which means they should be able to get a clear picture of any kind of program benefits.