SLC mayor, police chief address city’s crime rates

Sep 7, 2021, 2:28 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City officials say science is driving where they are focusing their efforts when it comes to keeping communities safe.

And while they’re seeing some encouraging signs, recent criminal activity reminds them they need to do more.

Backed by members of the Salt Lake City Police Department at Pioneer Park, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Police Chief Mike Brown vowed to address crime in the growing city.

“Just last week a disturbing incident happened right here in Pioneer Park. Clearly, a stronger deterrent is necessary to prevent such crimes,” said Mendenhall.

From lewd acts in Pioneer Park to drive-by shootings in Salt Lake City neighborhoods, leaders acknowledge one incident is one too many.

“We are coming off a weekend that’s all too much gun violence,” Brown said.

They released data today showing an encouraging trend – the overall crime rate in Salt Lake City is trending downward.

Brown said there was a 2.9% decrease in crime over the last five years’ average.

“In 2015, in 2016 (and) 2017, our overall crime year to date from Jan. 1 to Aug. 30 was higher than it is right now.”

Brown said they’re stepping up enforcement in neighborhoods experiencing violent crimes and it’s paying off.

For example, the gang unit worked quickly to make an arrest in a drive-by shooting where two teenagers were shot.

And detectives are working to track down a suspect who shot a man sitting on his porch Monday morning, sending him to the hospital.

“To those who say there’s lawlessness in Salt Lake City, you are wrong,” Brown said.

Brown said they saw a 20% increase in calls for service in the last week of August.

They are hiring more officers and believe the boost in salary is attractive to new recruits as well as officers who left the force and have since returned.

However, Tyler Clancy Pioneer Park Coalition said they believe the city can and should do more to combat what the group calls an “obvious safety crisis.”

“While we sincerely appreciate the police department’s hard work & the mayor’s new commitment to raise pay and hire more officers, we also maintain that there is an apparent and obvious public safety crisis on our hands,” he said. “Talk to anyone who lives or works in downtown Salt Lake about criminal activity and they will have story after story to tell.”

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SLC mayor, police chief address city’s crime rates