Lt. Brian Lohrke addresses Project Safe Neighborhoods and how police plan to enforce it

Local News

GMU asks for you in a segment we call Ask the Authority. This morning, Lt. Brian Lohrke with the Unified Police Department, joined Brian Carlson, while we asked him a few questions that could help you avoid some problems for the holidays. 

Brian: Can you tell us about what part Unified Police is playing in the Project Safe Neighborhoods movement?

Lohrke: You know, Project Safe Neighborhoods, I’m not sure if you’ve seen, but we had an announcement with US Attorney John Huber a couple weeks ago, announcing Project Safe Neighborhoods. This is actually something we’ve been doing for a long time. It’s federal funding that’s renewed on an annual basis. So Project Safe Neighborhoods is a program, federally funded, to really disrupt gun violence in the neighborhoods. So this is going after gang-related crimes, restricted members that should not have firearms, or anything else that’s really going to support us fight gun violence in our neighborhoods.

Brian: It’s that time of year where more people than usual are shopping both in stores and online. Why is it important to keep your holiday purchases somewhere safe?

Lohrke: You know, I’m going to state the obvious. You don’t want to lose your Christmas gifts that you’re buying for other people, especially this time of year. We just had Black Friday, Cyber Monday, so this week is the time where those packages start landing on porches. So we want to make sure to remove the opportunity from the criminals that are looking to steal those gifts. The other thing, if you look deep enough into this problem, is the majority of thefts that occur not only from package theft, but car burglaries fueled by drug addiction. So people steal stuff, they’re not going to steal your tablet because they want a tablet. They steal it because they want to sell it to finance their drug habit. So if you look deeper into this problem, this is a way the community can really help us combat that drug problem.

Brian: And our next question piggy-backs off this same idea: Police have recently warned against so-called “porch pirates” you just mentioned, who steal packages from doorsteps. What’s the best way to protect your packages?

Lohrke:  The best thing to do, again I’m going to state the obvious, is to remove that opportunity. So if you can get that package off your porch immediately.. and something that I do is I have cameras around my house that are motion censored. So anytime somebody delivers a package, I know that it’s there so I can contact a family member, maybe a neighbor, to get that removed right away. Another thing that you do, is there are third-party places you can have that package delivered to that’s secure. You can go there any time to go pick up a package so it’s not sitting on your porch.

Brian:  We see an increase in police patrols directed towards the “Click it or Ticket” and “Drive Sober” campaigns. What do these mean for local residents and families?

Lohrke:  This should really hit home to us really hard right now, because we lost a member of our community, 19 years old, in Taylorsville about a week ago. He was killed crossing the street by a drunk driver. So this is very fresh in our minds, especially with the members of the Unified Police Department because of the members of the department who worked on that case. It was very emotionally taxing to us, also dealing with the family there. This is something that a discussion needs to be had with your friends, with your family. We all know somebody who’s been affected by either drunk driving, or somebody who’s been severely injured or killed as a result of not wearing a seatbelt. So this is a serious conversation you need to have with your family members, with your children, to really start that mode with our young drivers.

If you have any questions for any of our authorities, email us at GMU@Good4Utah.com.

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