SALT LAKE CITY — Statistics show a big spike in property and violent crime in Salt Lake City.
Police hope it’s a one-off 2020 anomaly, but they are meeting with community leaders to figure out how to remedy the increase in crime.
Experts say there are likely several contributing factors, including COVID-related quarantines and unemployment along with more homelessness.
Whatever the reasons, the numbers show property crimes are up nearly 25 percent over this time last year.
Violent crime is up more than 21 percent. That includes things like robbery, rape, assault and murder.
Some communities are being harder-hit than others.
Officials in District 5, the Ballpark Community, say their crime rate is 2 1/2 times greater than it was a year ago and that includes a couple of homicides this year.
“Chief Brown has told us that the thing that deters crime is patrols and I would like to see more patrols in the neighborhood and have those numbers come down.”
Ballpark neighborhood resident Amy Hawkins knows the answers aren’t easy and that police cannot be everywhere all the time. But she says her neighbors are doing what they can to involve city leaders and members of their community.
“We’re going to do the best we can with what we’ve got, and what we’ve got is oodles of community interest and support,” Hawkins said. “Like I said, hosting a ballpark meeting over zoom, 50 people show up. The last one that we held, when the mayor and police chief were present, 100 people showed up. That community engagement, people care, people want to know what they can do.”
Ironically, during one of those zoom community meetings, Hawkins says someone was actually trying to break into her home but was chased off.
“That’s really distracting," Hawkins said. "When you were trying to run a community organization and stay positive to have your partner walk in the house and say 'I just chased somebody off our porch.'”
Besides more police patrols in her neighborhood, Hawkins would like to see more resources and funding for mental health issues for the homeless population.
Salt Lake Police are currently reviewing these crime numbers and trying to determine where they can better allocate their resources to get the numbers down in 2021.