SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City business owners and members of the Pioneer Park Coalition have blown up the current crime situation that is ravaging the area and urged city guides to step in.
Many claimed that illegal camping in Salt Lake City leads to more crime.
“Today, this park is symbolically an epicenter of a troubled community held back by inaction, finger pointing, and lack of strength,” said John Huber, former United States attorney for the state of Utah.
WATCH: Salt Lake City residents, leaders discuss homelessness in Liberty Park
Local business owner John Gardiner called it a public safety crisis.
“It is a fact that lawless camping encourages violent crime,” he said.
The lack of security affects everyone who lives in the area, Gardiner said.
âWe are not only concerned with the public safety of the buildings, but also with the public safety of the neighborhoods. In recent years we have seen a sharp decline in public safety in the neighborhoods where we run projects, âhe said.
READ: Salt Lake City Mayor rejects proposed Ballpark homeless facility
While crime has increased this year in the Rio Grande area, which includes Pioneer Park, compared to 2020, it has decreased by about 4 percent over the past 5 years, according to the SLCPD.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown recently addressed some of the concerns raised on Tuesday.
âWe will not let criminal activities unchecked in our city. Those who say there is lawlessness in Salt Lake City are wrong, âhe said.
People need to be held accountable and there needs to be a plan to make the area safer, Huber said. He urged Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall to get involved.
âWe are not advocating the unjust treatment of the homeless, but rather the equal application of the law, the law that is in the books. We advocate accountability for the decisions people make, âhe said.
WATCH: Salt Lake City is hiring more cops and targeting repeat offenders to reduce violent crime
Mendenhall spokesman Lindsey Nikola said the concerns and frustrations voiced on Tuesday would be better directed towards seeking solutions to the nationwide homeless problem.
“From calling in the US Attorney General, Utah Public Security Commissioner, and US Marshal to help our city get criminal criminals off the streets, to expanding the work of ambassadors in the downtown area, to Increasing the pay for all first responders in the capital and in coordination with our police in the priority areas of public safety in our city, Mayor Mendenhall is a leader who consistently gives priority to the safety of the residents, visitors and business owners of our city, âshe said in part.
This is a problem that cannot be solved alone, but Mayor Mendenhall plays a big role, said business owner David Ibarra.
âThe city doesn’t have the resources, the county doesn’t have the resources, the state has the resources, but they won’t give the resources if they don’t trust the city. We need to trust each other and develop a comprehensive plan, âhe said.
Nikola also responded to concerns that illegal camping is allowed.
âRegarding our city’s Camping Ordinance, which is a separate but equally important issue, the Mayor has established the responsible and humane conditions necessary for more rigorous enforcement of the camp laws, including assurances that the system has adequate emergency shelter For currently unsecured people has individuals and means to contain public safety. People affected by homelessness need access to resources to make long-term and effective change. That’s why this administration organized the Community Commitment Program almost a year ago, which brought together more than a dozen service providers to meet people where they are, on the street, “she said.
Salt Lake City police sent FOX 13 the following statement in response to Tuesday’s press conference.
The Salt Lake City police officers are instructed to give a camper several options to evacuate on their own. Officers show compassion and common sense in their approach, engaging the Community Connection Team, Volunteers of America, and other stakeholders whenever practicable and possible. Officials use the following steps to enforce activity in and around illegal camps:
1. Warn – warn subjects to comply with the Salt Lake City Code and allow sufficient time to comply.
2. Quote – Give a quote to those who have been warned and refuse to obey the law.
3. Book – Book offenders who have proven previous steps ineffective.