Law enforcement officer from local and federal agencies are meeting in Salt Lake this week to share strategies for preventing crime.
The Violent Crimes Conference is a gathering of more than 200 law enforcement professionals including representatives from the FBI, West Valley police and Unified Police departments. There they will share case studies and best practices. Detective Matt Evans is the conference director. He says one crime in particular is increasing along the Wasatch Front.
“We have had a significant increase in bank robberies and, uh, other armed robberies in Salt Lake Valley over the last year—in fact, over the last two years. Uh, bank robberies were up almost 200% from the year before to, to now.”
Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank says that many of the perpetrators are heroin addicts, who commit robberies to support their habit. Heroin addiction has also increased in Utah, due in large part to local efforts to crack down on prescription pain killer abuse. Burbank notes that nearly 90% of bank robbers are apprehended. He says the kind of Inter-agency cooperation championed at this conference is crucial to stopping criminals.
“This is about preventing crime from occurring, not simply responding after the fact. How can we proactively, because as we look and as was mentioned, if a robbery or a violent crime occurs in Ogden, chances are pretty good that person might decide to pass through Salt Lake City or decide to reside in Salt Lake City, and vice versa. So the more effective we are about working together and cooperating, the more effective we will be at preventing crimes.”
The Violent Crimes Conference kicks off Wednesday and ends on Friday.