Salt Lake City police officers are taking responsibility for repeat offenders, or problem areas, then checking on them regularly in an effort to eliminate recurring crime, says the Salt Lake Tribune. There’s some indication the strategy is working. The level of crime against people or property in the city was virtually unchanged overall, and 11 of 14 crime categories saw decreases in 2008 compared to the previous year. Only two categories had major increases: crimes police identified as connected to gangs, and car break-ins. Chief Chris Burbank credits good policing for the stagnation, but acknowledges lots of factors go into crime rates — some of which are beyond the control of the police, such as the economy, community values, and population trends.
Burbank believes the gang figure is up because police focused more on gangs in 2008 and identified more crimes as having some type of connection to them. In the past few years, the police department has begun sending gang detectives to the scene of any crime believed to have a gang tie. The goal has been to arrest perpetrators before victims or rival gangs have the chance to retaliate. That may have had an effect on violent crimes such as robbery and assaults, both of which decreased in 2008.