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Ask a cop: Am I going to get mugged in Salt Lake?

By Officer Anonymous | Posted - May 6th, 2013 @ 11:36am

SALT LAKE CITY — When I was a kid, the scariest place to go was downtown Salt Lake City. I had seen all the movies and television shows that said if you were walking down a city street, guys in black hoodies would pull out large silver revolvers and rob you of your wallet and dignity. This usually occurred in front of your girlfriend. I resolved never to go downtown if I could help it — and never have a girlfriend.

I actually made it till my early twenties without visiting the downtown area, except for the random Jazz game or other cultural event. I was in and out, though, without lingering — I did not want to be confused with a gang member for wearing blue jeans, or inadvertently making some gang sign while talking with my hands.

So I stayed in the comfort of suburbia. When we wanted excitement, we would go visit the Sandy Movies 9 or visit the Southtowne Mall, and try to meet some ladies by yelling at them and then ducking our heads. That move never worked, however.

Then I became a police officer and visited the downtown area frequently and realized that my imagination had gotten the best of me. I started to see that Salt Lake City was a pretty great place. The roads weren’t confusing and the buildings weren’t that big. There weren’t hooded men lurking on every corner waiting to mug me, just waiting to ask me for change.

There are “muggings” or robberies of persons in Salt Lake City but more often than not it is criminal on criminal. They almost always involve a drug transaction gone bad. The funny part is that they will actually report that they were buying crack and some guy pulled out a knife or gun and stole their money for said drug.

Whatever happened to making up a story that didn’t involve committing a crime? How about they were going to donate money to the Salvation Army and were cutting across Pioneer Park when they were happened upon by a ruffian who pulled out a handgun and robbed them of their charity?

I think one of the reasons you don’t see a lot of street muggings of the average citizen is most suspects are scared of concealed-weapon holders. Another reason is a lot of people don’t carry cash on them anymore in favor of debit and credit cards.

Suspects want to be assured of the victim having money. They have started ripping off drug purchasers and people meeting to buy items off of Internet marketplaces. Be careful when you see an Apple laptop for sale at an unrealistically cheap price. That person knows you're meeting them with a $1,000 in cash.

So, if you do find yourself walking anywhere and you see someone suspicious lurking, what do you do? Do not bury your hands in your pockets and look down at the ground. Don't grab your cellphone and call some random person and pretend that the suspicious person isn’t there.

Most criminals want a victim who complies and makes their job as easy as possible. Criminals are also lazy, or they would probably just get jobs. So they don’t want to have to work very hard to get money from you. If you look like you are going to be a problem for them, they will most likely pass and wait for the next victim.

So stand up straight. Keep your head up and always scan your environment. If you see the person lurking, look at them. Don’t provoke them but let them know that you see them. If you feel that they are following you or intimidating you, call the police. We would rather get there and prevent a crime than respond to one after the fact.

This article is for entertainment purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. I do not represent any specific agency or government. Please send questions to

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