SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City leaders say their recently formed pact with state and federal partners to reduce crime in the city — particularly violent crime — is on track.
"This targeted approach is working," Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced Thursday. "All of the numbers are going in the right direction."
In January, the mayor, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown, former U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson and Matt Harris, head of the U.S. Marshals in Utah, announced the 2021 Public Safety Plan for Salt Lake City. The plan included a new partnership with state and federal agencies to arrest and charge habitual offenders federally so "meaningful justice" could be served, which included long prison sentences.
The partnership was formed due to a 21% increase in violent crime in Salt Lake City during 2020, a 24% increase in property crime, and overall crime being up over 23%.
In the five months the partnership has been operating, 97 people have been charged federally for crimes allegedly committed in Salt Lake City, including 50 people on firearms charges and 22 on drug trafficking charges, according to acting U.S. Attorney for Utah Andrea Martinez.
"Our goal is to reduce violent crime by bringing accountability to the worst offenders in Salt Lake City. And to bring meaningful justice to those who have abused the state criminal justice system," she said.
If you commit crime in Salt Lake City, we — this team — will do everything in our power to hold you accountable. We promise.
–Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown
In addition, 84 guns have been seized — 22 of which were confirmed as stolen.
"I don't think we can overstate 84 guns being taken off the streets of Salt Lake City. That's 84 guns that can no longer be used in a crime that's committed, that cannot be used in shootings, that cannot be used in homicides. That's a massive number and that's going to make this community safer," said Brad Englebert, assistant special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Of those 97 charged, Brown said 16 had gang affiliations, and 29 were either on parole or probation at the time of their arrests for a new crime.
The message to "apex criminals" and others, he said, is that "If you commit crime in Salt Lake City, we — this team — will do everything in our power to hold you accountable. We promise."
Brown was flanked Thursday by Mendenhall, Harris, Anderson, Martinez and Englebert.
Mendenhall said while violent crime is still up overall, it is up 16% compared to 21% a few months ago. Likewise, property crime is up 20% compared to 24% when the partnership started. The partnership with the other agencies "is interrupting the churn of arrests and early releases that were so prevalent only a few months ago," she said.
The mayor added that while there is still work to be done, "Make no mistake, that together we are sending a clear message that crime is not welcome in our capital city."