Rio Grande area ‘definitely feeling a little safer’

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – After four days of “Operation Rio Grande,” people say they are feeling safer in the downtown area known for crime and drugs.

Police say that, since Monday, 229 people have been arrested.

Debra McCalib says the Rio Grande area has never been a place she felt safe.

“It’s not safe to walk around myself, I’ve been attacked three different times being down here in this area,” said McCalib.

“It is definitely feeling a little safer,” she added.

“Operation Rio Grande” began Monday, with roughly 150 officers on the streets every day. They are keeping people from camping on the streets and cracking down on crime, according to those in charge of the efforts.

The owner of Rio Grande Cafe says he has seen dramatic improvement around his business this week — and he is grateful for the heavy law enforcement presence.

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox says he encourages community members to continue reporting encampments that spread throughout the city and beyond.

“We’ve responded to every new encampment we’ve been told about. And we will respond to every new encampment, and we will do it for the next two years,” said Cox.

That two-year timeline is part of the plan, Cox says, since the Road Home shelter will stay open until 2019; that’s when three homeless resource centers will open in Salt Lake County.

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