Thursday, October 8, 2009

Police Department, Merchants Join Forces to Address Illegal Drug Activity on 200 South

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Police Department today unveiled a new public/private partnership to address illegal drug activity occurring along 200 South between West Temple and 600 West.

“It is unique solutions that will help us counteract illegal drug activity in this area,” said Chris Burbank, Chief of Police. “We are exploring offers from businesses in the area to utilize surveillance technologies,” he said.

Once surveillance cameras went into Pioneer Park in February 2009, merchants began reporting an increase in illegal drug activity. Since that time, the Police Department has conducted an average of two street operations a month, resulting in 425 felony arrests for drug solicitation or distribution in the area west of Pioneer Park and along 200 South. Merchants in the area tell police their customers have taken notice.

“The drug dealers and buyers leave behind their needles and other drug items, which my customers see and tell me about. I worry customers will be intimidated and stop coming here, and that’s unacceptable,” said Enes Huskic, who owns Toasters at 151 W. 200 S., Salt Lake City, and supports law enforcement efforts on 200 South.

Jay Bollwinkel, whose urban design firm MGB+A The Grassli Group is located at 145 W. 200 S., has offered to host a surveillance camera on his building to support enforcement efforts. “I just want our customers and employees to feel safe coming here, and right now I can’t say that’s always the case,” he said

Chief Burbank said the Police Department continues to seek creative public safety solutions, especially those in which the community may play an active role. He asked merchants and downtown residents to report drug-related activity by using the Department’s confidential drug hotline, (801) 799-DRUG (3784).

As always, in case of emergency, call 911, while non-emergency calls for service should be directed to (801) 799-3000.

Note: Click here to see video of today's press conference.