SALT LAKE CITY — After several recent crimes, including a homicide, a property owner called on city and state leaders, as well as police, to take action and close a nearby homeless camp.
Workers in the area of 900 South and 500 West said the camp resurfaced about a month ago after a previous effort to shut it down.
"It is obvious that this camp presents a serious threat, health hazard and safety issues for not only those within the camp but also the upstanding taxpayers like ourselves and our tenants and their customers who do business on the properties near this intersection on a daily basis," wrote Stacey Beever on behalf of Daniel Posilovich.
Since the time that the camp reappeared, workers said they have observed several recent property crimes they attribute to the presence of the camp, including car thefts.
"A few of my tenants have had vehicles stolen," said a worker who only wished to be identified as Ross. "My vehicle has been stolen personally."
Ross said surveillance cameras recently captured a fire started in the area and detectives responded just Monday to a deadly shooting at the camp.
On Tuesday, Ross said he had to call police about a woman who continued to sleep on his business's property even though he'd asked her to go.
"A lot of the customers don't want to come down here because they're not sure on safety issues what's going to happen," Ross said. "(That) affects our bottom line and our businesses are here to make money."
The letter said it hoped state and local entities would be able to "work together and take the necessary action to address the problem and care for these indigent and unfortunate people that require the resources of the city as needed."
In response to the letter, the city issued a statement Tuesday evening.
"Salt Lake City's Homeless Engagement and Response Team (HEART) spoke with Ms. Beever on Monday after receiving a copy of the letter which was sent to lawmakers, community leaders, the Salt Lake City Police Department and the Salt Lake City Mayor's Office," the statement read. "It was explained to Ms. Beever that the City is aware of the 900 South/500 West camp and, along with input from community partners and the Salt Lake County Health Department, it will be prioritized for a closure and cleanup in the near future."
Ross said he hoped someone would take action in a meaningful way, given the same people seem to be showing up at the homeless camp.
"They were just here 60 days ago, the city moved them out and now they're back again," Ross said. "It's the same people over and over and that's the disheartening part."