NORTHERN UTAH — A deadly shooting in West Valley City Tuesday morning sustains a surge of almost daily gun violence in northern Utah.
Nine people shot and four men dead since Friday in separate shootings.
On Sunday night, two graduation parties ruined by gunfire: 19-year-old killed in West Jordan and 20-year-old killed and four others shot in Salt Lake City.
Tuesday morning, a man with gunshot wounds died in West Valley City.
“Some of these things are predictable. We do know that crime goes up during the warmer weather months,” said retired deputy Chief of Police Chris Bertram.
Bertram, who now works as a criminal justice assistant professor said there is no coincidence shootings spiked during the summer’s first record-breaking heat wave.
“We are interacting more. The possibility for a confrontation or some kind of argument within family relations or not family relations can turn potentially violent,” Bertram said.
With violent crime is rising locally and nationally in 2021, Bertram suspects the pandemic could amplify typical crime patterns.
“Sadly, we have been anticipating this. In Utah, we have set ourselves up for a perfect storm of gun violence,” said Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah Spokesperson Nancy Halden.
Halden believes two years of record-setting gun sales and Utah’s new permit-less carry law are contributing to the rise. She argues new gun owners may not be as savvy with proper storage — careless — even which allows firearms to be more easily stolen.
“We are just making it easy for those gangs to get guns and we are probably going to see more of this, sadly,” said Halden.
Bertram disagrees with that theory, instead arguing that short-staffed departments may not be proactively policing and stopping crime before it starts.