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Press Release

U.S. Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. Announces Progress in Making our Communities Safer through Project Safe Neighborhoods

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

One year ago, the Department of Justice announced the revitalization and enhancement of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which Attorney General Sessions has made the centerpiece of the Department’s violent crime reduction strategy. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Throughout the past year, we have partnered with all levels of law enforcement, local organizations, and members of the community to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.

“Project Safe Neighborhoods is a proven program with demonstrated results,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “We know that the most effective strategy to reduce violent crime is based on sound policing policies that have proven effective over many years, which includes being targeted and responsive to community needs.  I have empowered our United States Attorneys to focus enforcement efforts against the most violent criminals in their districts, and directed that they work together with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners to develop tailored solutions to the unique violent crime problems they face.  Each United States Attorney has prioritized the PSN program, and I am confident that it will continue to reduce crime, save lives, and restore safety to our communities.” 

“Reducing violent crime and protecting our streets from gun violence remains a top priority for our office,” said United States Attorney Peter Deegan. “It has been one year since Attorney General Sessions announced the revitalization of Project Safe Neighborhoods, and our work continues in earnest.  We have partnered with federal, state, and local law enforcement to prosecute violent offenders and those who illegally possess guns.  At the same time, we have worked with our community partners to help ensure that offenders who want to be contributing members of society have the support they need to successfully rejoin the community.  Using the additional resources made available to us by Department of Justice leaders, we will continue the fight against violence and work to create safe areas for everyone in the Northern District of Iowa.”

As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the revitalized PSN program, here are some of the highlights of our PSN actions over the past year:


Enforcement Actions

In May 2018, the United States Attorney’s Office and law enforcement agencies across northern Iowa announced the arrest of more than thirty individuals who were charged with violating federal gun laws.  Many of these individuals had criminal backgrounds demonstrating their danger to the community.  You can read more here:


Community Partnerships

In June 2018, the United States Attorney’s Office and Waterloo Police Department announced the formation of the Iowa SAFE (Safer Areas For Everyone) Task Force, a collaboration between federal and local law enforcement that includes community partners and community members.  The goal of the task force is to reduce violent crime in Waterloo by holding violent offenders accountable while at the same time support locally-based prevention, rehabilitation, and re-entry efforts and to stop violence and crimes before they occur and to help those who have been punished return to society as law-abiding citizens.  You can read more about Iowa SAFE here:


Department of Justice Funding

On October 2, 2018, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded $141,365 to fund Project Safe Neighborhoods initiatives in the Northern District of Iowa.  The funds will be used to combat violent crime through a comprehensive approach to public safety that marries targeted enforcement efforts with community engagement, prevention, and reentry efforts.


Improvements to Community Safety

  • The FBI’s official crime data for 2017 reflects that, after two consecutive, historic increases in violent crime, in the first year of the Trump Administration the nationwide violent crime rate began to decline.  The nationwide violent crime rate decreased by approximately one percent in 2017, while the nationwide homicide rate decreased by nearly one and a half percent.
  • The preliminary information we have for 2018 gives us reason for optimism that our efforts are continuing to pay off. Public data from 60 major cities show that violent crime was down by nearly five percent in those cities in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same period a year ago.
  • For the two year period beginning in 2017, violent crime in Waterloo is on track to decrease by approximately 40% as compared to 2015 and 2016.

These enforcement actions and partnerships are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime. Learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods here:

Interview opportunities with United States Attorney Deegan and Waterloo Chief of Police Dan Trelka are available.  Please contact Tony Morfitt at 319-363-6333 or to schedule an interview.

Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated October 4, 2018

Community Outreach
Project Safe Neighborhoods