SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Dozens of people attended the virtual Ballpark Community Council Meeting Thursday night, talking about the recent rise in crime. Many believe drug use is out of control. 

“They are extremely persistent,” said Dan Thomas. “They never leave. They’re always sitting there smoking meth or whatnot and there doesn’t seem to be a way to get them to stop.”

Some people at the meeting said their neighborhood has gained a reputation as a place where criminals and drug addicts can do what they want and at most, be asked to leave, only to return the next day. 

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said overall, the city is seeing a drop in crime, but in this particular area, it’s increasing.

Police said about a third of the crime committed in this community is done by people who do not live in the area. Brown said the most disturbing thing about what he’s seen the last several months is the impact on the people who live there. 

“When people can’t go out and walk their dogs at dawn or dusk, if they can’t, you know, run a business without fear. It breaks my heart,” said Brown. 

During the meeting, Brown said in the last six weeks SLCPD has been doing “hot block policing,” where they focus on certain areas seeing a significant amount of crime.

He said they’re also partnering with the University of Texas at San Antonio, having them look over crime data to determine when and where they need more officers, looking at the day and even time of day when they see more crime. 

University officials will come to Salt Lake City in the first week of August. Brown says they plan to have an evidence-based strategy in early September.