SALT LAKE CITY — An initiative called Project Safe Neighborhoods has been bringing law enforcement agencies together in Salt Lake City to help reduce crime over the past year.
The project includes the Salt Lake City Police Department, the Mayor’s Office, the Utah Department of Public Safety, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and more.
They all came together Tuesday to release what this last year has brought in terms of crime in Salt Lake City.
“This year, our city embarked on a partnership with our associates in state and federal law enforcement to make our capital city a safer place.” Mayor Erin Mendenhall said Tuesday in a press briefing.
As a part of their partnership, the law enforcement agencies have charged 152 people who have been arrested and taken off Salt Lake City streets.
Sixty were repeat offenders on parole or probation, 29 have gang affiliations, 37 were trafficking narcotics and a whopping 81 were arrested for illegal gun possession.
“I think this is an example of how law enforcement and how the community should work," said Bradley Engelbert, the ATF Special Agent in Charge.
The big concern and message to the community was the alarming number of illegal guns seized.
“This work has taken 124 guns off our city streets,” Mendenhall said
"In October alone, department-wide, we have seized 35 firearms," SLCPD Chief Mike Brown added.
Acting U.S. Attorney Andrea Martinez condemned those criminals carrying illegal weapons.
“There is no place for illegal firearms and violent crime in the state of Utah,” she said.
“These are restricted people; they shouldn’t have a gun," U.S. Marshal Brandon Holt echoed.
The city and partner agencies are going to continue to work to decrease those numbers, but they said the partnership has resulted in a city-wide year-over-year overall crime rate decrease of 1.7 percent in Salt Lake City.
“Seeing a 1.7 percent drop in overall crime is a huge accomplishment for this organization,” Brown said.
While that number indicates some progress, the team says the battle is not over.
“There is really no finish line to our work,” Mendenhall said. “As the capital city for the fastest-growing state in the nation, we are going to continue to grow our efforts to address crime right alongside our population growth.”
While that 1.7 percent overall drop is a good sign, the mayor mentioned there are communities that still need help — like the Ballpark neighborhood and areas on Salt Lake City's west side along North Temple.