Crime in Salt Lake City | Operation Rio Grande | Part 2

Crime in Salt Lake City | Operation Rio Grande | Part 2

By Abby Warr and David Garbett

Last month the Pioneer Park Coalition blogged about select crime data for Salt Lake City to see what that might tell us about the effect, if any, of Operation Rio Grande. That post generated plenty of discussions and questions. We thought that some of those questions deserved a second post; this is our follow up.

First, a quick recap.

In our earlier blog we reviewed on our city’s crime rates from 2013 through 2017 for select neighborhoods. We focused on activities that Operation Rio Grande was intended to address.[1] While this crime data cannot answer definitively what is causing or reducing crime, it can at least give us some clues about trends and likely impacts. The good news is that overall crime rates in the city are down, rates in the Pioneer Park/Rio Grande area are way down, and we did not detect any significant crime dispersal. Here is our helpful graphic:

Crime in Salt Lake City after Operation Rio Grande

Some people wondered how we chose these neighborhoods. We selected them based on where we heard Operation Rio Grande may have pushed crime. Namely, the North Temple corridor (“Fairpark” and “Rose Park” on the graphic), Sugar House, Ball Park, Central City, the Avenues, and the Liberty Park area (“Liberty-Wells” and “Central City/Liberty Wells”). Of course, we also wanted to know what happened in our area (“Downtown”).

Overall, the data paints a positive picture but not everything is roses. We did not see commensurate crime drops in the Liberty-Wells area—though the levels after Operation Rio Grande were still within their rates for the 2013-2017 period—we also wrote about some troubling upticks in reported rapes.

Second, yes, crime really is down in Salt Lake.

While we wrote that crime had dropped in Salt Lake City, some people still wondered whether this was the case. To be clear, overall crimes in Salt Lake City are down, and down significantly—as low as they have been in the five-year period we analyzed. To reinforce this point, we have reproduced aggregate crime data for the city as a whole—of those crimes likely related to Operation Rio Grande—and updated it through March of 2018 in this graphic below:

Crime in Salt Lake City post Operation Rio Grande

Third, what is happening in the rest of Salt Lake City’s neighborhoods?

 We have talked about the forest, but what about specific trees? Many people wanted to know what was happening in the city neighborhoods our first post did not address. We apologize if you felt left out by this; it was not our intent to ignore neighborhoods. We were trying to focus on what we thought might be the hot spots. To address this, we ran the numbers for the remaining Salt Lake neighborhoods from January of 2013 through the end of 2017 to get an apples-to-apples comparison. Here are those neighborhoods—along with the Pioneer Park/Rio Grande area, listed as “Downtown,” for context:

Crime in downtown Salt Lake City after Operation Rio Grande

And since there is so much going on in the graphic above, here is a version with the “Downtown” area removed:

Crime around Salt Lake City after Operation Rio Grande

There are a few takeaways from this mixed picture. Crime rates in the remaining neighborhoods are still dwarfed by crime in the area that includes the Pioneer Park/Rio Grande area. In addition, our first analysis caught the three most problematic areas for crime in the aggregate: Sugar House, Central City, and Ball Park.

But a lower level of crime does not mean no crime. Some of the remaining Salt Lake City neighborhoods did not see crime drop after Operation Rio Grande. Perhaps the most troubling is Poplar Grove. Crime there at the end of 2017 was as bad as at any time in the five-year period we analyzed. While some of the other neighborhoods see-sawed—as is typical—after Operation Rio Grande and may have even seen crime rates increase, none of them ended 2017 at, or tied for, a five-year peak.

Though Operation Rio Grande did not push crime rates in any neighborhood above historic rates in our five-year analysis, there was not a commensurate drop throughout the entire city. It is understandable that some neighborhoods are feeling consternation about current trends.

Fourth, did Operation Rio Grande push the homeless out?

We don’t know. Neither our first blog post nor this post attempts to address the question of whether Operation Rio Grande chased people experiencing homelessness out of the Pioneer Park/Rio Grande neighborhood. We do not discount this possibility; it would be nice to know this and we hope that it has not. But we have not found a satisfactory way to measure and analyze this question. Because of common pitfalls related to human observation (i.e. we see more of the things we focus on, even though the number of those things has not changed) we lack high confidence in much of the information out there.

There probably has been some dispersal. We have heard from residents throughout the city that they are seeing more people clearly experiencing homelessness. We have also heard this from some homeless outreach teams and first responders.

On the flip side, homeless services providers in the Pioneer Park/Rio Grande neighborhood are reporting that they have not seen any appreciable drop in clients, post-Operation Rio Grande. It is hard to understand how these numbers have remained stable if people needing services have left the area.

Summary

Operation Rio Grande has had a significant, positive impact on crime in Salt Lake City and the Pioneer Park/Rio Grande area. There is still work to be done, however, here and throughout the city. Poplar Grove would be a good place to start.

[1] Specifically, we analyzed both serious crime (aggravated assault, burglary, rape/sexual assault, homicide, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft, and robbery) and non-serious crime (curfew/loitering, disorderly conduct, drug abuse, stolen property, vandalism, and drunkenness). We passed on crimes such as embezzlement, forgery, etc. because we felt they were less likely to be connected with the problematic behavior in the Rio Grande area and wanted our story to be more precise. Our data was collected from https://dotnet.slcgov.com/police/crimestatistics#/chartpresentation in February 2018 for the first blog post and April 2018 for this blog post.

Crime in Salt Lake City Neighborhoods Drops Since Operation Rio Grande

Our awesome Pioneer Park Coalition intern, Abby Warr, dug deep to discover the truth about crime in Salt Lake City since Operation Rio Grande.

Crime in Salt Lake City and its Neighborhoods Has Dropped Since Operation Rio Grande

By Abby Warr

Some critics have alleged that Operation Rio Grande, an effort to address lawlessness and crime in Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Park/Rio Grande neighborhood, has only served to push violence elsewhere in the city. Given that over six months have passed since this effort started and the increased availability of crime statistics, the Pioneer Park Coalition decided to dig into the data to evaluate this claim.

Aggregate crime data from throughout Salt Lake City—both before and after Operation Rio Grande—does not support this criticism. To the contrary, police data from 2013 through the completion of 2017 shows that aggregated crime rates dropped significantly downtown—where Operation Rio Grande is focused—and have also dropped throughout the city. Operation Rio Grande appears to have been a huge net positive for Salt Lake City.

Crime in Salt Lake City graph since Operation Rio Grande

The Good News: Crime Is Down

Statistics show that aggregate crime has been falling steadily in Salt Lake City as a whole since 2015, and the total analyzed crimes committed are at the lowest point since 2013.[1] Downtown, where the majority of Operation Rio Grande’s efforts have taken place, has experienced a significant drop with the total analyzed crimes committed being at the lowest point since 2014. There is no general uptick in crime after Operation Rio Grande and most Salt Lake City neighborhoods have seen their crime rates continue to fall, even after Operation Rio Grande began.[2]

Operation Rio Grande began in August of 2017. Crime levels during the period of August through December of 2017 have been relatively consistent with overarching trends—that is to say, headed down.

Almost All Crimes Have Decreased

Most specific crimes experienced an overall decrease after Operation Rio Grande. However, there are a few crimes that have not followed that trend and deserve further attention from law enforcement.

Aggravated assault, burglary, theft, motor vehicle robbery, and robbery all stayed consistent or dropped since Operation Rio Grande compared to previous months. Most non-serious offenses decreased, as well. Vandalism, drunkenness, disorderly conduct, loitering, and stolen property are either lower than the average of previous years or consistent with the averages of previous years.

However, the data shows an alarming uptick in rape. Forcible rape has been increasing steadily since 2013, jumping from 208 total reported rapes in 2013 to 335 in 2017. Comparing 2017 numbers before and after Operation Rio Grande, 30.4 rapes were reported every month on average from August-December compared to an average of 26.1 reported each month from January to July. This increase could possibly be attributed to increased reporting rather than increased instances of rape, with the #MeToo movement and increased education surrounding rape and sexual assault. Regardless, this certainly deserves more attention.

Drug abuse in Salt Lake City has been increasing drastically since 2013, but is experiencing a plateau. 2017 had 4,003 reported drug abuse instances compared to 3,986 in 2016, 2,827 in 2015, 2,619 in 2014, and 1,782 in 2013.

One Salt Lake Neighborhood Has Not Experienced a Drop

Every Salt Lake City neighborhood examined in our analysis saw its aggregate crime rates diminish or continue falling after Operation Rio Grande, with one exception. The Liberty-Wells neighborhood did not see similar drops. There, crime rates roughly plateaued or had a slight upward trend—though still below the 2016 peak. These trends are troubling and deserve more attention from Salt Lake City.

Other Cities Do Not Facilitate Public Review of Crime Data

The Pioneer Park Coalition also hoped to evaluate the claims in other cities that Operation Rio Grande may have led to an uptick in crime elsewhere. However, we were unable to evaluate these claims in West Valley City, Taylorsville, South Salt Lake, and Murray because of a lack of available data. Crime statistics for these cities either are not updated to the present or do not extend far enough for accurate analysis. This information needs to be made publicly available so citizens can do accurate research on crime in their neighborhoods and how it has changed.

While observational trends in crime data cannot answer every question, Salt Lake City’s statistics show that the city, far from being hurt by Operation Rio Grande, has seen significant positive changes in crime rates. Law enforcement still has work to do: Liberty-Wells has not seen the positive trends from other neighborhoods and the downtown area, while seeing a serious drop in crime, is still among Salt Lake’s two most dangerous neighborhoods.

Despite this, Operation Rio Grande appears to be making a difference in crime and having a positive impact on our city. This effort deserves significant credit.

[1] In this report, analyzed crimes or aggregated reported crime includes those activities most likely to be connected with Operation Rio Grande. This means both serious crime (aggravated assault, burglary, rape/sexual assault, homicide, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft, and robbery) and non-serious crime (curfew/loitering, disorderly conduct, drug abuse, stolen property, vandalism, and drunkenness). Data collected from https://dotnet.slcgov.com/police/crimestatistics#/chartpresentation in February 2018.

[2] Pioneer Park Coalition analyzed data for crime in Salt Lake City from the neighborhoods of Ball Park, Central City, Central City/Liberty-Wells, Downtown, Fairpark, Greater Avenues, Liberty-Wells, Rose Park, and Sugar House. These neighborhoods were chosen because of complaints that crime is being pushed into their neighborhoods due to Operation Rio Grande. Downtown was chosen in order to analyze how crime had changed in the Rio Grande neighborhood.  Data was taken from each month from 2013 to 2017 to give perspective on changes in crime rates since Operation Rio Grande.

Operation Rio Grande Update | November 2 | Medicaid Waiver | ID Cards

The Pioneer Park Coalition received the following email today from Utah Dept. of Workforce Services. To receive your own Operation Rio Grande updates, click the link at the bottom of the email.

Operation Rio Grande Update | Medicaid Waiver | ID Cards

Two significant events have occurred since the last update. First, the Medicaid waiver was approved for the state of Utah. Second, the safe space began requiring the coordinated service card for access into the area. Both of these developments are significant components of phases one and two of the operation. A lot of work from several partners made each of these achievements take place.

For more details, view the updates below:

Medicaid Waiver

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its approval of Utah’s Medicaid waiver. This announcement is critical to phase two of Operation Rio Grande in order for more treatment centers to begin offering services for Medicaid members. For more information, click here. For the Department of Health’s Frequently Asked Questions document, click here.

Medicaid Waivers for Utah

Media Coverage:

The Salt Lake Tribune

Deseret News

Fox 13

Good4Utah

KSL TV

Safe Space Courtyard

On Friday, Oct. 27, the Safe Space Courtyard began requiring the coordinated services card for access into the area. With fencing up, card stations ready to go, tent and tables installed, and staffing ready, the space began operations. So far, 1,475 coordinated services cards have been distributed with 192 of them being reissued cards.

Department of Workforce Services has coordinated closely with The Road Home and Catholic Community Services on card access points. With the opening of the Safe Space Courtyard, Workforce Services’ staff have made the point to listen to individuals receiving cards, find out concerns and make accommodations when appropriate.

ID Card checkpoint at Safe Space on Rio Grande Rio Grand Safe Space Rio Grand Safe Space in Salt Lake
Media coverage:
KUTV

Good4Utah

Law Enforcement
  • Department of Public Safety (DPS) continues to do outreach to people who live in the Rio Grande area and to neighboring communities. Three meetings have been conducted to answer questions, discuss any concerns and collect input. These meetings are going a long way with better relationships between law enforcement those utilizing services in the area. For a complete DPS update, click here.
  • Make sure to watch the DPS video about safer access to services. Click below:

    https://youtu.be/cJPvWNTsG2c

Additional Updates

  • The next assessment day at the Salt Lake County Jail is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 9 for the purpose of identifying candidates for drug court. So far, more than 80 assessments have been completed with over 400 individuals screened. The retention rate for individuals who have successfully gone before the drug court is at 80 percent.
  • Cleanup efforts of encampments along the Jordan River Parkway and other known locations has resulted in more than 200 tons of garbage being removed. This week is the final week of clean up before the winter season. However, the team is currently working on a winter action plan.
  • Salt Lake County Health Department would like to thank all the volunteers and specifically the Utah Department of Corrections and the Utah Department of Transportation. Both played a vital role in the cleanup process.
  • Jordan River Parkway Cleanup

Click here to subscribe to our email list.

Copyright © 2017 Utah Department of Workforce Services, All rights reserved.
The purpose of the email newsletter is to help you stay informed
on activities related to Operation Rio Grande.

Our mailing address is:

Utah Department of Workforce Services

Operation Rio Grande is Working | Op-Ed by PPC member Nicole Thomas

Operation Rio Grande is WORKING! That is the bottom line of the op-ed written by Pioneer Park Coalition member Nicole Thomas and published in the Deseret News October 5th, 2017.

Nicole Thomas, owner of Gateway Bridal in the Rio Grande area of Salt Lake City

Nicole is the owner and founder of Gateway Bridal & Prom and LatterDayBride & Prom. Her story in the Rio Grande area began almost two decades ago.

Gateway Bridal located in the Rio Grande and Pioneer Park neighborhood of Salt Lake City

Operation Rio Grande is WORKING!

Her op-ed begins,

“For over 18 years I have lived or worked in the Pioneer Park/Rio Grande neighborhood. In 2008 I moved my store at the time, LatterDayBride & Prom, to the south end of The Gateway, directly across from the homeless shelter.

While there I interacted frequently with those experiencing homelessness. There were regulars in the area I came to know well. Four years ago, however, I started to notice a significant change in the demographic of the neighborhood. There was an influx of criminals and those looking only for drugs.

I became more and more frustrated with the lawlessness that overwhelmed the neighborhood. If you did not see it firsthand, you will have a hard time believing how bad things became.

Unfortunately, too many of our community leaders came to accept the status quo or chose not to see it. They had given up on providing residents and businesses here with the same level of basic safety every neighborhood in Utah should have.

During this time my lease with The Gateway expired. While I didn’t want to move, I could not stay; the anarchy was simply too much. So last September I moved to a spot immediately north of Pioneer Park. It was not far from where I had been because I wanted to be part of the solution in helping this area thrive.”

Read the rest of Nicole’s fabulous op-ed on how those living and working in the Rio Grande and Pioneer Park communities have seen the positive change Operation Rio Grande has brought to the area in the Deseret News HERE.

To find out more about the mission of the Pioneer Park Coalition and how you can be a part of the solution, click HERE.

Operation Rio Grande Update | Salt Lake City | Pioneer Park Coalition

The following is an Operation Rio Grande email update received by the Pioneer Park Coalition on September 25th, 2017.

Intergenerational Poverty Update

Operation Rio Grande has been in place for six weeks. Phase one, which focused primarily on law enforcement, has been extremely successful in arresting dangerous criminals and disrupting the drug trafficking and usage in the area. The Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement anticipated the issue of encampments spreading to other areas and respond to every report that comes in of new encampments.

Phase two, assessment and treatment, began a few weeks after phase one as new treatment beds came available. Additionally, a new specialty court began for individuals arrested from the operation to help divert individuals to treatment. Phase two is essential to the success of the operation and will continue as more treatment beds come available.

Next steps for the operation includes:

  • Opening the designated “Safe Space” for individuals seeking services in the Rio Grande area.

  • More treatment beds coming available resulting in more assessments and drug court appearances.

  • Continued clean up of encampments that have spread to other areas.

  • Building of the final phase, Dignity of Work.

This update is scheduled to occur weekly until all the three phases are fully operational and all the pieces are in place. At that point, the update will become monthly until there is no longer the need.

Operation Rio Grande Updates

Safe Space

  • Outreach continues to individuals in homelessness within the Rio Grande Area

  • ID card education will take place Sept. 25-29

  • Plans for opening the safe space

    • Oct. 2-6: Soft opening where the area is open to the public and cards will be distributed

    • Oct. 10: The safe space will go live where ID cards will be required for entry

  • Fencing and a shaded space have been installed

 Operation Rio Grande safe space update

Special Session

  • Two bills related to Operation Rio Grande passed overwhelmingly by the Utah State Legislature during the special session on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.

    • HB 1001 S01 Operation Rio Grande Funding Amendments

    • HB 1002 S01 Road Closure Amendments

  • The Deseret News Editorial Board shared the following about the passing of these two bills.

Treatment and Recovery

  • Of the 37 treatment beds that became available on Sept. 7, all are now filled with individuals that were arrested as a result of Operation Rio Grande.

  • On Sept. 14, a new specialty court was announced to support the efforts of Operation Rio Grande. So far, there are 35 active drug court participants.

  • In October, another big assessment day is planned to connect additional eligible and appropriate individuals to this evidence-based structured court program.  Program participants will be linked to 25 new residential treatment beds opening at Odyssey House.

  • On Wednesday, Sept. 27, the Other Side Academy will be in the Salt Lake County Jail to educate ORG inmates about their vocational program.  The Other Side Academy is a two-year vocational, pro-social, life skills program where eligible students gain experience in a trade.  It is not a substance use or mental health treatment program.

Operation Rio Grande update in Salt Lake CityClick image for link to press conference at the Matheson Court House on Sept. 14

Encampments

  • The Department of Public Safety continues to coordinate responses to encampment reports. Each report is taken seriously with a response team and cleanups are scheduled as needed.

  • The public are encouraged to call their local police department regarding any concerns of homeless encampments.

  • Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County meet on a weekly basis to coordinate cleanups for the week.  Last week, a large cleanup was conducted along the Jordan River (from 4000 to 4500 South).  Cleanup of encampments will continue this Thursday and Friday, Sept. 28-29.  Cleanups will continue to occur in other parts of Salt Lake City this week as well.

Dignity of Work

The plan for phase of three of the operation is coming together and will be shared the last week of October.

For more information, visit www.operationriogrande.utah.gov.

Utah Highway Patrol: A First Hand Account of Operation Rio Grande

Looking for an insiders view of Operation Rio Grande? These guys are out there day in and day out. Check out this great short video where the Utah Highway Patrol offers a first-hand account of Operation Rio Grande and it’s effectiveness.

UHP Troopers Give First Hand Account of Operation Rio Grande

“Operation Rio Grande is Saving Lives” by Pamela Atkinson

Longtime homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson says, “Operation Rio Grande is saving lives.” We couldn’t agree more.

Read More:Pamela Atkinson says Operation Rio Grande is saving lives

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2017/08/26/pamela-atkinson-operation-rio-grande-is-saving-lives/

The Pioneer Park Coalition Applauds Operation Rio Grande

The Pioneer Park Coalition 

The Pioneer Park Coalition in Salt Lake City Utah

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS RELEASE

Neighborhood Residents, Businesses,     & Advocates Applaud Operation Rio Grande

Salt Lake City, Utah – August 17, 2017

Residents, businesses, and advocates of Utah’s Rio Grande neighborhood support efforts by the State of Utah, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, and other jurisdictions to combat lawlessness through “Operation Rio Grande.” This operation, which began Monday, is an effort to address crime in the area, while improving the provision of services to homeless residents, including children.

“We have grown sick of the ongoing violence in this neighborhood,” said Susana Clar, a resident. “Finally, we are beginning to feel safe again. I pray that these efforts will continue and that state and local governments are serious about maintaining this presence until this issue is solved.”

State and local officials have told the Pioneer Park Coalition that Operation Rio Grande is intended to last roughly two years and is focused on restoring public order and providing services to people experiencing homelessness.

“I commend law enforcement officials and our state and local governments for responding to our pleas to enforce the law here,” explained local business owner Tiffanie Provost. “We just want the same basic level of safety and decency that exists anywhere else in this state.”

“The children of the Rio Grande area desperately needed this action,” stated Dr. Clotilde Houchon, a long-time advocate for children experiencing homelessness in the area. “Having predators and criminals in the same spaces as kids was a recipe for disaster. I am also encouraged by the Operation’s emphasis on respecting civil rights and getting people the services they need.”

The Pioneer Park Coalition is an alliance of residents and businesses of the Rio Grande seeking to create a safe community and improve services for the homeless.

Operation Rio Grande Update

“We are in this for the long haul.”

Lawmakers and Law Enforcement provide an update to citizens on Operation Rio Grande

It’s a hot afternoon in the abandoned lower level of what was once Dick’s Sporting Goods at the Gateway Mall in the embattled Rio Grande neighborhood of downtown Salt Lake City. The room is filled with over 350 people, including many member of our Pioneer Park Coalition, anxiously awaiting an update on what has been dubbed “Operation Rio Grande,” a three-phase plan to eliminate lawlessness, assist the homeless, return the streets to a family friendly environment, and return businesses to a state of success.

Lawless activity, centered around the blatant drug trade, has plagued the area for years, with the Salt Lake City police department doing their best to combat the problem. Their best efforts, however, have been little more than a bandaid. Without a bigger plan, each “sweep” or “cleanup” of the area has lasted only a week or two before the bad guys moved right back in. Enter “Operation Rio Grande.”

Monday, August 14th, phase one of this 2+ year operation went into effect. Yesterday, August 15th, many member of our Pioneer Park Coalition joined residents, business owners, lawmakers, law enforcement, and other citizens to hear an update from those who have been in the thick of things, especially over the last 17 days. We were able to hear from Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Speaker Greg Hughes, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown, and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Squires.

While each spoke individually about specifics to their department, the underlying themes were the same. First, they are in this for the long haul. They are committed. Second, this is an unprecedented operation with commitment and integration on the city, state, county, and private level, with bipartisanship and cooperation. Why do we not see this type of operation very often, they asked. Simple: It’s hard. But they are committed to the operation and bringing the Rio Grande area back. Bringing people, business, and safety back. Third, they need the public’s help. This is a transparent operation and only with help from the citizens of Salt Lake City and surrounding areas can this be a success.

After the individual comments, the panel addressed specific FAQ from members of the audience. We as the Pioneer Park Coalition were pleased with the quality and thoughtfulness of the questions as well as the answers provided. Transparency and honesty prevailed and we feel like this is an amazing first step to an operation that will benefit us all.

A few Operation Rio Grande FAQ and responses:

Q: What are the specifics of the three-phase plan?

A: The following graphic was provided and gives a great overview of the plan, which will move quickly. The first phase started Monday August 14th and phase two will begin Friday.

356295981-State-officials-Operation-Rio-Grande-Phases-1-3

Q: How can citizens report issues and/or perceived threats in their community?

A: For non-emergencies please call 799-3000. Use your camera on your phone. Take photos and send them to Salt Lake City police. As reports come in, a log is created, people are sent to those areas. In an emergency, of course, call 911.

Q: How will the physical clean-up of the Rio Grande area work?

A: A daily schedule of street-sweeping and cleanup will begin August 16th and continue indefinitely. As a “spidering” effect continues to move the homeless population to different areas and you feel cleanup is needed, please contact the SLC County Health Department.

Q: What is happening to the homeless people’s belongings if they’re arrested?

A: The Salt Lake Police Department is committed to treating every individual equally, including our homeless population. Items are inventoried and held until they can be returned to the owner. Additional personnel have been brought in to help with this task.

Q: What can individuals do to help?

A: Learn about the programs that are available and make donations to support these programs. Do not give to panhandlers, that is one of the biggest problems that we have.  It is now illegal to give (transact) with panhandlers in major thoroughfares. It doesn’t help people and is dangerous! Instead, give through and volunteer through SLCHOST.org.

Q: What are we doing to ensure the civil liberties of these people are protected.

A: ACLU associates are working closely with our government leaders. The Operation is very transparent. We are all working to ensure that those who are needing help are receiving the help they need and by not being forced to associate with those who are there for the wrong reasons.

Q: How has the homeless population responded to law enforcement being in the field?

A: As expected, responses have been mixed. Those with something to hide, who want to continue to live unlawfully without repercussions are obviously agitated. Others, those who have lived in fear and are victims of those who prey on the less fortunate, have expressed gratitude to law enforcement and others involved. The goal is that this gratitude will prevail and that we can feel that gratitude for years to come.

Q: What is the ongoing police presence going to be?

A: Once order is restored, we anticipated it will take much less much less man power to maintain the safety of the area.

Q: Employers have expressed concern as to how they can keep their employees safe as they come to work.

A: One of the greatest resources are the bicycle cops. Call 799-DNTN, and these police officers can address the concerns on a one on one basis.

The meeting ended with Mayor McAdams reiterating the end goal. This is a long haul operation. We must BREAK THE CYCLE! The criminals will serve their time and leave the jail with hope. Those who need treatment will receive it and leave without debilitating addiction. These people can regain their dignity, receive stable and affordable housing, obtain and retain jobs. And BREAK THE CYCLE. The homeless population is invited to come back to the area to receive services. It is safe for you here.

A huge thank you from us at PPC to all those who are sacrificing and working to make this dream a reality.

That is what this is all about, folks. We at the Pioneer Park Coalition are excited and committed to being a large part of the solution in Operation Rio Grande. Will you join us?