Utah Neighborhood Holds Anti-Violence Meeting After 4 Homicides In 11 Months
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Salt Lake community is calling for an end to the violence after four homicides in less than a year and only blocks apart from each other.
“I live a block and half in that direction,” Amy J. Hawkins said, standing on the sidewalk about a block away from Smith’s Ballpark.
“We like it very much because of how close it is to downtown,” she said. “We like being close to other people.”
Hawkins moved to the Ballpark neighborhood in 2014, but some things have come too close to home over the last year or so.
“The fact that this is happening literally outside my doorstep is deeply disturbing to me,” she said.
In less than a year, four homicides occurred only blocks apart from each other in the Ballpark community. The first was a fatal stabbing in August 2018 at Kensington Avenue and State street.
The next month, a woman was shot and killed at a home in the area of Harrison Avenue and Major street. Salt Lake City Police are still investigating this homicide and asking for the public’s help to solve it.
Then in October 2018, there was a strangling at Main Street Motel.
And most recently in July, “somebody was stabbed to death at that Maverick gas station that’s very close to us right now,” Hawkins said, pointing at the Maverik at the intersection of Main street and 1300 south.
“It is a little odd that there are four homicides in that area in a year. None of them are related. There is no nexus,” said SLCPD detective Michael Ruff.
For Hawkins, that fact is part of the issue.
“The fact that there is no connection suggests that there is something about this area that’s become permissive to crime,” she said.
Not long after the most recent homicide, Hawkins began reaching out to neighbors, nearby businesses, the Mayor’s office and law enforcement. On Thursday, many of those people, including two mayoral candidates, came together for an anti-violence meeting.
“We want to have dialogue because we can’t do our job without the help of the community,” Ruff said.
A community Hawkins hopes can band together and come up with solutions to distance the neighborhood from the violence.
“A healthy neighborhood is one where people get to walk around and say hello to each other and not fear that something’s going to happen,” Hawkins said.
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