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Gateway Mall owners say crime is down 79%

Downtown street ambassadors listen as Peggy Hostetter, long-time resident at The Gateway, says she as noticed the improvement in safety in her area as two new reports confirming that The Gateway and the Rio Grande area of downtown Salt Lake City have realized a dramatic decrease in crime. The reports were announced during a press conference at the Grand Hall at The Gateway in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. The Downtown Alliance, Salt Lake City and Visit Salt Lake partnered to launch the ÒDowntown Street Ambassador ProgramÓ in spring 2018. The program deploys as many as eight ambassadors in major pedestrian thoroughfares throughout the year. The goal is to create an even more welcoming and safe city center for residents and visitors. Photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Owners of The Gateway Mall in downtown Salt Lake City say a new report should make people feel safer to come shop, eat or attend an event there.

Gateway owners say their security company, Trident Security, reported that crime at the Gateway is down 79 percent from 2015 to 2018. Total incidents property-wide were down by half from 2017, and 79 percent from 2015.

“What we are saying is, the Gateway is back, and open, and come and join us. And their security measures are very similar to what’s taking place at City Creek,” said Scott Howell with the Pioneer Park Coalition.

Another audit by Workforce Services says sanitation, security and safety have improved while illegal drug use has declined.

Related to that, Howell says they are making process every day in Operation Rio Grande.

“We couldn’t do it without SLCPD, UHP, we even have DEA and ATF — all the partners to make this a safer community. But today was about specifically the numbers and dramatic decrease in crime at the Gateway,” he said.

The overall Rio Grande numbers should be out in about a month.

What about the rest of SLC?

State officials say crime rates around the Gateway are way down, but, what about the rest of Salt Lake City?  Analysts say the numbers are promising.

One concern when Operation Rio Grande started was that crime around the Gateway and Pioneer Park would just spread to other parts of the city.  However, officers say that’s not what the data is showing.

“We’ve noticed a trend of ‘Part One’ crimes being down.  There’s only a few areas where we’ve seen upticks,” according to Salt Lake Detective Greg Wilking.

“Part One” crimes include things like homicides and rape.  So, what are the exceptions they’re seeing?

Wilking says, “We’ve seen some assault upticks and some aggravated assault upticks.  Those are fairly random.  There’s no real pattern to that.”

Officers say when you disperse crime, you also dilute it at the same time.

“When you break up where it’s concentrated, it makes it harder for crime to take place,” Wilking says.