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Authorities Take New ‘Comprehensive Approach’ To Jordan River Crime

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah – In what is being described as a first-of-its-kind move, police agencies that patrol the Jordan River from the Great Salt Lake to Utah Lake are joining with the State of Utah in a comprehensive approach to fighting crime along the river.

Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands spokesman Jason Curry said patrols have already been increased in the area, with additional increases expected once the weather improves this spring.

“(It’s) extra law enforcement presence on the Jordan River specifically to deal with the problems that are down here and make it a safer place,” Curry said.

In addition to the patrols, the 13 departments will have access to the same computer database, which marks on a map camps that have been found and crimes that have been committed.

“If we share information, then we can address the problem, kind of from a coordinated standpoint,” Curry said.

Though police agencies that border the Jordan River have generally worked together, Curry said the new plan essentially constitutes a never-tried-before strategy there to reduce crime — which has been a challenge of its own in recent years.

“With the element that’s here, we’ve seen a very significant uptick in assaults, suspicious activity, theft, strong-arm — that type of thing,” Curry said. “We can go maybe just a few feet up and down the river or across the river to the other side and find areas where people have set up camps to operate a criminal enterprise.”

Curry said the criminal element has made the situation worse for innocent homeless along the riverbanks who are in need of services, and their hideouts have only grown more sophisticated.

“One of them had 80-square feet underground,” Curry said. “They had power.”

Curry said the increased police presence became possible when lawmakers during the 2018 legislative session signed off on ongoing funding for improvements—including in law enforcement—along the Jordan River.

An online reporting tool has also been set up for neighbors and others to notify law enforcement about crimes committed in the area.

“It’s just part of a bigger plan to address Jordan River and make it a better place,” Curry said. “We’re hopeful that Jordan River is a more safe and inviting place for families and other groups to hang out.”

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