Program created to prevent gang activity in Salt Lake County

Posted at 12:42 PM, Mar 13, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is supporting a campaign that would hire a coordinator to stop gang violence.

The goal is to stop gang violence before it begins, and police have a lot of different players involved in the battle. Soon, officers will have another tool to make sure their efforts are helping their mission.

The Salt Lake County Council is pouring nearly $200,000 over the next couple of years to hire a coordinator. The coordinator will work with gang units in the Salt Lake and Unified Police Departments to take a closer look at how their preventing gang activity.

The county will also bring in a researcher who will gather this info to help the coordinator come up with a game plan on how to best address the growing problem.

"A lot of times you'll see government react to gang activity when there's a shooting or an incident," McAdams said. "What's happening now is we're being proactive."

Gangs are already established in the community. Officers said there are 2,500 documented gang members in the Salt Lake Valley.

Both police departments said this new approach is a good first step in coordinating their efforts to prevent gang activity.