SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – August 4, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – Salt Lake City Police have started cracking down on crime in Salt Lake City and have confiscated over $80,000 in contraband.
In the last week of July, officers have been making their presence known in the metro area of downtown. Arresting drug dealers and getting massive amounts of drugs off the streets are not the only way they have been making a difference.
Salt Lake Police Detective Greg Wilking said they implemented a new program to clean up the streets and get shopping carts returned to the stores in which they belong. “Redevelopment Association (RDA) donated nearly 300 ‘storage’ type units that are located just west of the Shelter,” said Wilking. “About a week prior to the sweep, we told many homeless individuals about the new units. We were even able to help nearly 80 people transfer their personal belongings to the secured storage area.”
Wilking said the units are a great way for those who have personal items such as medications, money and other valuable items to be secured and not stolen on the streets.
“Imagine how hard it is when someone steals your medication and any money you had. People that really need their medications to help them live,” said Wilking. “That alone can cause a huge issue medically for those who already have so little, it’s a ripple effect. There are still about 200 empty units that are available for use that are managed by the Road Home staff so if anyone needs help using them someone is there.”
Police were able to return over 120 shopping carts to the stores they came from resulting in a net return of over $30,000. “We have a contractor who came out and collected the carts, took them and washed them and returned them back to their owners,” said Wilking.
In all, the police were able to confiscate over $25,000 worth of heroin, $11,000 worth of cocaine and over $10,000 in cash directly from drug interactions in just one week.
These recent statistics show a lot of promise in the plan proposed in a press conference last week by Mayor Ralph Becker and interim Police Chief Mike Brown to reverse the recent spike in homelessness and drug traffic in the Rio Grande area.
When asked about the future efforts to clean up the area for good, Wilking said they have so many different things going on that are already making a huge difference. “We have extra police on bikes in the area and are continuing to take a lot of dealers to jail,” said Wilking. “It’s always going to be an ongoing effort but by developing more partnerships between the police and the businesses and residents in the area we know we will be able to continue to our efforts to change this area, it’s all about community involvement and solutions that work.”