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Salt Lake City Officials announce police substation in Smith's Ballpark as crime puts residents on edge

Posted at 10:28 AM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 13:12:27-04

SALT LAKE CITY — As crime in the ballpark neighborhood puts residents on edge, Salt Lake City officials announced a new police substation inside of Smith's Ballpark.

"It's a public safety hub for our neighborhood where officers can work, where they have a closer finger on the pulse of what's happening in this community," said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, "And a way to make a closer day to day connection with the community."

WATCH: Salt Lake City officials announce new police substation during press conference

Salt Lake City officials hold press conference to announce new police substation in Smith's Ballpark

The new substation will be used primarily by the Liberty Bike Squad, Chief Mike Brown explained.

"Our Liberty Bike Squad will use this substation as a place to cool off, a place to recharge and a place to get ready for the day," Brown explained. "Typically these officers would have o drive back to the public safety building several blocks down the road, pulling them out of their patrol areas if they wanted to grab water or food or even to charge their radios."

The announcement comes as residents in the area have spoken out saying they feel unsafe in their neighborhood.

"We know that the success of our shared vision of this neighborhood depends on us addressing policing and our own public safety in the neighborhood," Mendenhall said.

Salt Lake City council member Darren Mono, who represents district five, added that the substation will allow police officers to form personal relationships with residents in the area.

"When community members know our officers on a personal level and interact with them by name, there will naturally be more proactive crime intervention that will follow," Mono said.

Longtime community residents and activists are hopeful but also remain somewhat skeptical this will help.

"We’re going to need to see the evidence if this actually affects the atmosphere and the homicide rate and the violent crime rate in this neighborhood," said Amy J. Hawkins with the Ballpark Community Neighborhood Watch. "As you know, the homicide rate in the ballpark is nine times that of the rest of the city, it’s really intense here, and it affects us daily.”

Brown and Mendenhall explained this will be the first of "several" police substations in the community.

In 2019, a pop-up Salt Lake City police hub on North Temple closed. Salt Lake City Police were taking up residency in the old Arctic Freeze building near 800 West in an effort to keep crime down in the area.

The department was leasing the space for just a dollar on a month-to-month basis but once the building went for sale, police had to clear out. Their efforts dropped crime in the area by 75% in just one year, FOX 13 News has previously reported.