OGDEN – Police, the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office in Utah say crime in a historically problematic part of Ogden has gone way down over the past year, and they say the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program is behind this drop.
Officers showed off some of the items they’ve seized over the past several months. On some tables, they laid out dozens of weapons, including a section from a grenade launcher.
On others, piles of drugs.
Over the past several months, officers and attorneys screened cases against 164 people with 21 defendants sentenced, so far. They’ve also seized over 100 guns and over 34 thousand grams of drugs. Police took in over 195 pounds of meth in one bust, alone.
The US Attorney’s Office has been getting funding for the Safe Neighborhoods Program for several years. However, they decided to do something a little different. They put all of their grant money into focusing on a five-mile section of Ogden.
“We decided, in Utah, that we’re going to have all of our eggs and put it in this basket. We felt like with that investment, we could have the best chance of direct returns for success,” says US Attorney for Utah John Huber.
Huber says, “Historically, we have a violent crime problem in Ogden, but, we also have historically strong partnerships with law enforcement.”
Since this Target Enforcement Area was chosen, top level crimes in this part of the city have dropped just over 20 percent, and police say they’ve never seen that big of a year-to-year drop before. By this time last year, police responded to 69 shootings. This year, they’ve only seen 32.
Huber says they’ve learned a lot over the past several months.
“We can apply these more intensive search principles to Utah County or Washington County,” he says.
Other law enforcement officers say something feels different in Ogden and people say they’re feeling safer. Police chief Randy Watt says they’ve been working hard to change the perception people have of their city.
“Even with that 20.1 percent reduction in crime, which is historic, we have been on a continuing track of reduced crime in Ogden since 1989,” Watt says.
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