SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – State, county and city leaders have promised to crack down on crime in Salt Lake City’s Rio Grande area.
Speaker of the House Greg Hughes has taken on a leading role in addressing the crime and homeless problem plaguing the area. Hughes joined Inside Utah Politics to discuss the changes he wants to see throughout Rio Grande.
The speaker recently moved his office in the heart of Rio Grande to get a closer look at the situation.
“As we sit in this storefront — what I call my war room — I want public policy members, I want public servants to sit there and watch people making the spice joints to sell them, watching people go into seizures, watching people rob their pockets as they’re unconscious,” explained Hughes (R) Draper.
“And you’ve been seeing that right from your office window,” asked Chief Political Correspondent Glen Mills.
“Right there, right there. And these aren’t double sided mirrored windows where they can’t see me. They can clearly see that they are being observed and the lawlessness has hit a degree where there’s no regard for authority or people watching. There’s no need to go into a public bathroom to sell your drugs or do them because you can be in the complete open air without any consequences.,” replied Hughes.
Hughes went on to say that the Rio Grande area wasn’t always like it is today. He told Mills the problem has escalated because of jails being full, booking restrictions, an encampment atmosphere during the “occupy movement,” and the opioid epidemic.
Watch the video above to hear the speaker’s solutions.