More than 300 West Valley residents gathered with Salt Lake police officials Wednesday night to air concerns about increasing crime and decreasing property values.
The citizens asked for more patrol cars and enforcement in the area, rather than concentrating efforts on the east side.The police responded that while efforts are being made to hire more police officers, part of the solution included the community. They urged residents to organize neighborhood watch groups, join the community council and be more unified.
During this two-hour discussion, residents not only talked about their concerns but were educated on how to identify gang members, whom to call when observing suspicious activity and learned of the efforts of the police. Both parties are concerned about gang activities, graffiti and drug houses.
The northwest, west and the Glendale areas are of particular concern, said Detective Isi Tausinga of the Gang Unit of the Salt Lake Police Department. Gang activity is spreading throughout the Salt Lake area and among members of all nationalities, he said.
"Polynesian, black, Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic . . . you name it, they're there," Tausinga said.
Discussion also included decreasing property values due to maintenance problems and crime activity.
The sale of the price of typical a West Valley home has dropped $5,730 within the past two years. In comparison, a home in Salt Lake City dropped only $272. The West Valley area is no longer a safe place for rearing a family, said Eldon Marshall, vice chairman of the West Salt Lake Community Council. However, with the combined efforts of the police and community, it can be a desirable and beautiful place, he said.