Oct 11, 2022 - News

How Salt Lake City plans to combat violent crime

Illustration of a spotlight shaped like a police badge.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Salt Lake City leaders on Monday revealed an updated short-to-long-term plan to reduce crime in Utah's capital city and improve police response times.

  • The third iteration of the plan was conducted in collaboration with the University of Texas at San Antonio.

By the numbers: Between January and October of this year, overall crime was down by 9%, according to the Salt Lake City Police Department.

  • Violent crime was down by 4.5% and property crime decreased by 10%.

Yes, but: Street-level violent crime increased by 20% between May 2020 and May 2022.

  • Violent street crime is defined as murder/non-negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault and robbery.

Details: Between June 2021 and June 2022, 12 addresses accounted for about 11% of the city's violent crime.

State of play: SLCPD's short-term plan to curb crime includes placing police at or near addresses where violent crime commonly occurs, also known as "hot spot policing."

  • Its mid-term plan features working with other city agencies to identify the underlying conditions that lead to violent crime at certain locations.
  • Its long-term plan includes informing high-risk offenders of consequences related to their behavior, as well as pointing them to resources like counseling, substance abuse treatment, education and employment services.

Of note: SLCPD Chief Mike Brown declined to share where those hotspots are located, but said they will be included in a future report.

Between the lines: As of Oct. 3, the police department is down 41 officers.

  • This year, they began offering $5,000 hiring bonuses for trained and qualified officers but have had difficulty competing with out-of-state agencies that offer up to $40,000 bonuses.
  • The department has also experienced an influx of calls since the pandemic. In January of this year, it received 665 calls. Last month, the department received 1,412.

What they're saying: "The needs of this capital city are dynamic. They're ever-changing and our desire to evolve and serve and meet those needs continues with that momentum," Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said.

  • Mendenhall said sharing the city's crime statistics is not meant to diminish the "real impact" of crime that businesses and residents experience on a daily basis.

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