CRIME

SLC PD and Mayor Mendenhall release update on ‘Crime Control Plan’

Oct 10, 2022, 5:10 PM | Updated: 5:22 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Two years ago, crime in Salt Lake City was surging, and the police chief and mayor launched a crime control plan to combat the greatest problems, including violent crime.

On Monday, they released new, encouraging crime statistics. While overall crime and violent crime are down, staffing and handling a rise in calls for service are continuing challenges.

The 2023 Salt Lake City Crime Control Plan is the third version of the plan. The first was released in January 2021 in response to a dramatic rise in crime in Salt Lake City and also other cities in the US. The data shows crime is dropping, but the volume of calls keeps growing.

“The goals here are still focused on reducing violent crime and overall crime in the city,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall in a press conference Monday.

The latest data shows the plan is working, but Mendenhall and Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said there is more to be done.

“We will never be done working on new strategies to improve lives and divert, stop, and prevent crime in the city,” Mendenhall said. “That’s what the crime plan is all about.”

Police Chief Mike Brown, Mayor Erin Mendenhall, and Deputy Chief Scott Mourtgos Briefing the media on the 2022 Crime Control Plan (KSL TV)

Key long-term goals include lowering overall crime, especially violent crime. Improving response times, getting staffing back to adequate levels, and building community relationships for better policing.

Since January 2022, violent crime is down 4.5%, property crime is down 10%, and total crime is down 9%.

“That’s fantastic. But, there is more work to be done,” Brown said.

Especially for those who have been victims of crime.

“If you put a face to that, that’s somebody’s mother, somebody’s father, their brother, their sister, those are victims,” Brown said. “So, we can never lose sight of that. If a crime happens to you, your crime is up 100%.”

Response times are improving, but calls to 9-1-1 are growing dramatically as they are up 8.5% since last year. In the last week of September, the data shows a more than 100% jump in calls for service over last year.

“We are going on twice as many calls this year,” the police chief said.

The SLC PD officer shortage peaked at 92 in January 2021. They are still short 41 officers but are optimistic they will continue to add officers through ongoing recruitment efforts.

To cover shifts, the department has instituted mandatory overtime that includes 18 mandatory 10-hour shifts each day.

“That’s a lot of overtime. That’s a lot of officers on the street answering those calls for service,” Brown said.

But that is not a long-term strategy. Overtime is expensive and doesn’t fill officer vacancies. The police department needs recruits to fill those shifts.

In the short term, the mayor and police chief say the officers on the streets are making a difference.

“They want our neighborhoods to be safe. That’s why you see crime numbers going down,” Mendenhall said. “There are strategies in place. But, most of all, there are great officers in this department who want to do the work.”

The 2022 Crime Control Plan continues to focus on hotspots in the community where a disproportionate amount of crime is committed. That strategy is also making an impact.

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SLC PD and Mayor Mendenhall release update on ‘Crime Control Plan’