SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) Year to date, violent crimes are up 7% in Salt Lake City. Homicides, rape, and domestic violence all add to Salt Lake City’s crime stats.
Overall, total crimes are down to 1.7 percent in the city, which is good news.
Salt Lake City is positioning itself to deal with more crimes within city limits.
“We are fundamentally concerned about the everyday quality of life for our residents,” says Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall who vows to give that quality of life residents are missing.
To do that, five lateral officers are hitting the streets now. 17 officers will be available in November, with two more coming online in December.
To fill the current 55 vacancy’s the city is now offering bonuses to current officers who bring in help.
The Mayor says, “If they will sign a 3-year retention agreement to stay with the Salt Lake City Police Department, they each get a $2,500 bonus.”
Three main challenges are facing the city.
COVID-19, officers leaving (including retirement), and increased calls for service.
In 2021, calls increased within the city by 20 percent.
In October, calls overwhelmed the department forcing officers with the Bike, Gang, Park, and Motor units to handle the cases.
Chief Mike Brown tells ABC4, ” Over the course of the year when these calls of service keep going up and our staffing numbers are low, we have asked them right out of the gate to take those calls for service and to help us out. When we get those calls down to a manageable number then they can go out and do the proactive work they need to do. That they want to be doing and should be doing.”
Allowing those officers to take some 500 firearms off of violent criminals.
The mayor adds, “That is 500 acts of violence that could have been perpetrated on our residents here in the city.”
City officials plan to use grants to fund 10 additional officers for the Salt Lake City Police Violent Crimes Task Force. Chief Brown says those officers will be used across the city and then some if needed.
The mayor is proposing city council adopt a 60-mile take-home car policy with fees for officers. Right now, officers can take home cars for a small fee up to 35 miles outside city limits.
This is a part of city budgets that could be voted on potentially by two new council members.
“We will wait to engage with those candidates once those results are more confirmed. But they are two of seven, and we invite their feedback on the budget recommendations,” says Mayor Mendenhall.
Police officers are just one part of this equation. The city is looking to fill civilian jobs like 911 call operators and mental health positions.
And to help the public fill out reports, Chief Brown is looking at putting computers at the Public Safety Building and the District 1 office saying, “Not everyone has access to the internet, so that would be a great little benefit to all of us.”
Overall, Chief Brown says this is a solid plan to aid the city, “It’s listening to our community, a lot of these recommendations are coming from our community, and they support these things. I think it is very much going to be supported.”
The full updated crime control plan can be viewed here: http://www.slcpd.com/ass3ts/uploads/2021/11/SLCPD-Revised-Crime-Control-Plan-2021.pdf