[News] An update on City Weekly's Pioneer Park story. There are drugs and crime in the park. In fact, according to statistics compiled for the paper by the Salt Lake City Police Department, drug crime and violence appear on the upswing.
In 2006, there were a total of 288 drug crimes reported either in Pioneer Park or on the streets surrounding the park. With three months to go in 2007, there have already been 400 drug crimes reported to police.
Park drug crime numbers shot up in 2006 when police began weekly drug operations, including undercover stings. The year before those stings began, 2005, just 89 drug incidents were reported in or near the park.
Violent crime in the park hasn't seen the same explosion: 24 incidents were reported in 2005, 33 in 2006 and 35 in 2007.
Even if much of the increase in drug arrests can be attributed to increased police presence, the statistics still suggest the police aren’t winning. The number of people arrested for drug offenses in or near the park jumped more than one-third between this year and last.
In 2006, 246 people were arrested for drug crimes. Through the first nine months of 2007, police have arrested 374 on drug charges. (Ted McDonough)