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Business relocates from downtown SLC after owner says crime, violence took over area


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BLUFFDALE — A long-time Salt Lake City business says crime and violence are the reasons they have picked up and moved. LatterDayBride opened a new store in Bluffdale on Wednesday.

Nicole Thomas is the owner and founder of LatterDayBride. Wednesday was her first day in Bluffdale after spending the past 23 years in downtown Salt Lake City. Most recently, her shop sat on 368 W. Broadway, which is right across the street from Pioneer Park. She says in 2015, drugs and crime started becoming more prevalent and over the past four years, several incidents in and around her shop have made the business too much of a liability in its downtown location.

"(It was) 2015 and I remember it distinctly because we started having incidents like people defecating on, you know, in front of our door," says Thomas. The problems didn't stop there. "I remember one day my staff called me and they had to walk over a dead body to get in our back entrance."

One of her employees was attacked, in the store, by a man she says was high on meth. That's when she reached out to city leaders. She loves Salt Lake City.

"I got involved with the Pioneer Park Coalition, I became really optimistic thinking that if you gather a lot of voices together with good intent for a common cause, that you can move the needle," but she says it didn't make a difference and things have only continued to get worse.

The Salt Lake City mayor's office released this response Wednesday:

"Salt Lake City works continually to make our capital city as safe as possible. Creating a new Park Ranger program that will focus on Pioneer Park, among four other areas, supporting $10 million in capital investments in a bond proposal to the City Council this year, and increasing police patrols are a few of the recent actions Salt Lake City has taken to improve quality of life in the Rio Grande area.

"While no amount of crime is acceptable, in the past year, we've seen the city's strategies and efforts succeed, with marked crime reduction, particularly in the Rio Grande neighborhood. Violent crime in the neighborhood is down 10.2 percent year to date, and property crime is down 14.9 percent, for an overall reduction in crime of 14.2 percent year to date. Also worth noting, business robberies are down 40% year to date in the area.

"Citywide, crime is down 9.5 percent citywide year to date.

"Salt Lake City, like other capital cities across the country, is experiencing a cost-of-living crisis, to which the administration is actively responding. Salt Lake City allocated $20.1 million for affordable housing this fiscal year alone, is expanding public transit service and access, and increasing outreach for supportive services to those experiencing homelessness, as well as more rapid and frequent cleaning and abatement of places where unhoused people have congregated or camped.

"We deeply value our local business community and their contributions to our local culture and economy. We're sorry to see any business choose to move from our capital city, and wish them the best going forward."

Thomas said the leaders in charge are smart and could change things, but she said they are more concerned with politics.

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