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Debbie Dujanovic ReportingWe weren't out looking for fun; we were back undercover. During broad daylight women don't feel safe in parts of Salt Lake City. After our hidden cameras showed you why, police promised to fix it. That was two months ago. Debbie Dujanovic returned to the area to see if it is safer, in this EyeWitness News Investigation.
We showed Salt Lake Police the results of our follow-up investigation. Now they've decided to assign a special squad to the area. We went back undercover to see if police have made a dent in a big problem.
Women don't feel safe, and in November our producer went undercover to find out why. In three hours men stopped her more than a dozen times in one area of Salt Lake City.
“What do you need? Everything?” “Everything.”
“Do I do sex? No.”
We focused our investigation near State Street between 1500 and 1700 South. Women told us they were being propositioned as they waited at the bus stop, walked to classes at Salt Lake Community College, and tried to get to their offices. After we showed Salt Lake Police the problem, they increased undercover investigations in that area, making arrests for solicitation of prostitution.
Detective Dwayne Baird, Salt Lake City Police: “More than 50 arrests in the last two months. Is that good? It is good.”
Is it enough? Our producer went undercover again in the same area to see if the problem's solved. This time around men stopped our producer ten times in 90-minutes.
Once again we shared our results with Salt Lake Police who say they underestimated how hard it is to solve this problem. Now they'll shift an entire patrol squad to the area.
Dwayne Baird, Salt Lake City Police Dept.: “The commander of that division has asked that a certain squad, a specific one that's an enforcement squad in the downtown area move their assignment to that area, so they can step up enforcement. And they're uniformed officers.”
From the beginning women have called for more uniformed officers out here to make them feel safer. They'll finally get that.