Salt Lake leaders touting success of Project Safe Neighborhood

Mar 29, 2022, 6:27 PM
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall during a press conference March 29, highlighting the success o...
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall during a press conference March 29, highlighting the success of Project Safe Neighborhood. On Thursday, Mendenhall called for vigilance from drivers in light of recent tragedies. (KSL TV via Facebook)
(KSL TV via Facebook)

SALT LAKE CITY — Police, federal prosecutors and Salt Lake City leaders are touting the success of Project Safe Neighborhood, which they claim has led to a double-digit percentage drop in gun and drug crime over the past year. 

Project Safe Neighborhood

Since the project started in early 2021, 200 criminals have been arrested in Salt Lake City and charged with drug or gun crimes.  Mayor Erin Mendenhall says the program is now running like a well-oiled machine. And the people who have been convicted are serving an average of 38 months in prison.

Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown says they’ve taken in a large number of guns since the program started, and many of those weapons were stolen.

He said, “Since the start of Project Safe Neighborhood, we have seized at least 221 guns, and as the mayor said, 27 of those guns, just this year alone.”

Brown says they’ve kept focus on taking guns out of the hands of criminals. He added that every gun and drug seized is making the city safer and healthier.

“Almost every time I have stood at this podium, we have talked about the proliferation of guns in our community and the harm gun violence has caused,” Brown said.

Along with the guns, U.S. Attorney for Utah Andrea Martinez they’ve cracked robbery cases and seized large amounts of drugs.

Martinez said, “Over 108 pounds of methamphetamine has also been taken off of the streets.”

Two-thirds of people arrested were on parole or probation

The project is a collaboration with Salt Lake City Police, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Office, Unified Police Department, the Utah State Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  One big key to their success comes from working with federal prosecutors to see if the crimes rise to federal levels.  Martinez says two-thirds of the people they’ve arrested were either already on probation or parole.

She said, “[Figures] show that we are pursuing dangerous criminals who repeatedly victimize individuals and commit crimes in Salt Lake City.”

However, officials say the program isn’t nearly as effective without the help of the public.  They’re calling on everyone in Salt Lake City to report suspicious or illegal activity.

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Salt Lake leaders touting success of Project Safe Neighborhood