Salt Lake City officials plan to target top 7% of criminals to improve city for all

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. Image: Twitter/Erin Mendenhall

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 5, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Salt Lake City Police Department, Mayor Erin Mendenhall and several other agencies on Tuesday announced a new targeted crimefighting initiative to target repeat offenders and areas of of repeated high crimes in Salt Lake City.

“Together, we’re launching a multifaceted effort to reduce crime across Salt Lake City,” Mendenhall said, at a news conference with SLCPD Chief Mike Brown, U.S. Attorney John Huber, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson, and U.S. Marshal Matt Harris.

“We will be surgical in our approach to identify the perpetrators in the city who are committing serious federal crimes that threaten others, such as drug distribution, and weapons charges. And we’re going to ensure that they face the appropriate consequences. Their criminal activity is not welcome in Salt Lake City.”

Brown said the 21% increase in Salt Lake City crime in 2020 reflects a figurative “revolving door in the jail.”

One suspect was booked into the SLC jail nine times in eight months, Brown said, and was released by pre-trial services in each instance. The most time spent in jail on any of the cases was five days, Brown said.

“If at any of those times in those arrests, if this individual was held, how many victims would be prevented from being subjected to crime?” Brown asked.

Brown said many repeat offenders are known by name to officers.

“These offenders know there is no accountability for their criminal behavior,” Brown said.

“Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results does not work, in fact, that’s the definition of insanity, and it’s a sign that the system should be improved. This 2021 public safety plan is how we plan to address these issues.”

The agencies involved plan to “seek out those high risks, top tier offenders with outstanding warrants, and we will follow through with prosecutions of new crimes, ensuring they are not left unchecked in our community,” Brown said. “This effort will result in fewer criminals, and fewer victims being victimized.”

Street racing in the northwest quadrant of Salt Lake City will also be a stronger focus.

“This has been a huge impact on our community, (and) those businesses throughout the year of 2020,” Brown said. Hundreds of people participate or watch, he said.

“This leads to shootings, DUIs, drug use, vantalism, sexual assaults and assaults,” he said. A task force to battle street racing and associated crimes will be formed, Brown said.

The SLCPD will also redirect some internal resources to patrol to help cut response time, the chief said.

“Make no mistake: We are united to bring criminals to justice, and to bring justice for those that have been victimized,” Brown said. “If you commit a crime in Salt Lake City, we will do everything within our power to hold you accountable.”

Hubert said the inability to keep Salt Lake City safe hurts business and tourism as well as citizen victims.

“Public order fosters success in every aspect of our life,” he said, adding that the new plan represents a historic commitment level from all involved.

Huber said the top tier offenders target the homeless as well as residents for crimes and homicides.

Huber said social science studies have suggested about 7% of criminals are typically responsible for 50% of crimes, and said that seems to ring true for Salt Lake City.

“If we can find those 7% — those apex criminals, the chronic offenders who are high-risk, violent offenders — if we can find them and hold them accountable, with meaningful justice in the United States courthouse, the Federal Courthouse here in Salt Lake City, crime will go down in our beautiful Capitol city.”


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