Does 'Public Enemy #1' Program Work?

Does 'Public Enemy #1' Program Work?

Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Samantha Hayes reporting When Utah's police officers wanted the most dangerous criminals off the streets, they asked for your help through Public Enemy Number One. But is the program working?

Samantha Hayes checked in with the Salt Lake Area Gang project to measure its success.

Several different law enforcement agencies get together once a week to determine who is the number one threat to public safety.

Gregory Warren tried to run from police, but he didn't get far. He was wanted for drugs, theft, attempted assault, and parole violation...a criminal resume that made him, for a short period of time-,Enemy Number One.

Sgt. Bill Robertson/ Salt Lake Area Gang Project: "Somebody we think is a serious threat to the community."

Warren was the 57th Public Enemy Number One, and the 54th arrest. The program has been going for about two and a half years. It relies on citizens recogizing the mug shot and turning in the criminal.

Sgt. Bill Robertson: "I'm not saying the gang problem is like an L.A. or Boston or New York, but we have a gang problem here and it is just under the surface."

It's estimated there are more than 4,500 gang members in the Salt Lake area. The number has climbed since 2001 at about 3,800.

Crimes committed by gangs, not including graffiti, were down slightly last year to 1,266 from 1,538.

Officers say crime and gang membership will rise and fall, but believe the Public Enemy Program is making a difference when the suspects stay behind bars.

Sgt. Bill Robertson: "Some of our public enemies we arrest go through the process and that revolving door we are all aware of and get back out."

The Gang Project is preparing for its annual conference, where experts from cities all over the country get together and talk about trends in gang activity, and programs that are working.

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast