Utah Crime on the Rise

Utah Crime on the Rise

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Karen Scullin ReportingUtah was seeing a nice decrease in crime over the last few years, but the first quarter of 2003 brings us worse news.

The report is one of more violent crime and more property crime. It’s definitely not good news for the first quarter of 2003. In fact in Utah the number of crimes overall has increased 21 percent. Violent crime is up almost 17 percent.

A breakdown shows in Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County that robberies, aggravated assault, larceny and rape have taken a leap.

Kevin Joiner, Salt Lake City Police Dept.: “There's no way to say for sure why crime goes up."

Lt. Chris Bertram, Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office: “We're looking at just a snapshot of the first three months. The rest of the year we could equal out and end up just slightly higher than last year."

Bertram says the high numbers could be attributed to better reporting guidelines, or it's possible a poor economy could be catapulting crime in Utah. But maybe crime was just unusually low last year because when the world came to town for the Olympic games, so did the cops.

Lt. Chris Bertram: “There was enough federal agents here gathering intelligence that definitely could have been a deterrent for criminals at the time. "

With crime up, there are ways to avoid becoming a victim. Joiner says being aware of your surroundings should be top priority.

Kevin Joiner: ”They don't make eye contact, hands in pocket, looking down as they walk. It's as much just looking like you're paying attention to your surroundings as anything. "

Overall, rape stats are down across Utah, but almost every other crime has gone up in small towns and larger cities. The hope of course is that the present doesn't predict the future.

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