Mayor Johnson welcomed those in attendance and recognized City Council Members and City Staff who were present.
The UPD Taylorsville Precinct Chief Tracy Wyant gave a presentation on law enforcement services provided in Taylorsville. He noted that many crimes are crimes of opportunity and can be prevented. He reviewed statistics on offenses committed in Taylorsville during the third quarter of the fiscal year. He cited an average of 40,000 to 42,000 cases in Taylorsville per year.
Chief Wyant reviewed statistics for traffic accidents and citations. He discussed the controversial flex lanes on 5400 South. He indicated that since implementation of the flex lanes, data reflects an increase in traffic on 5400 South, but with a significant decrease in traffic accidents. Chief Wyant illustrated a map of narcotics activity and burglaries in Taylorsville. He presented an overall yearly comparison with last year's statistics. He discussed property damage offenses and cited the prevalence of graffiti during warm-weather months.
Chief Wyant noted that most auto thefts are preventable and cited safety tactics to help curtail crimes of opportunity which would include not leaving anything in sight in a vehicle (sunglasses, purse, checkbook, iPod, phone, etc). He stated that warming up cars and leaving them running unattended in a driveway or open garage is very enticing to an auto thief. He relayed that 20% of stolen vehicles have keys left in them.
The meeting was opened up for questions and comments from those in attendance.
One resident commented that his wife's purse was stolen when left unattended in a unlocked car for only a few minutes. Chief Wyant stressed the importance of not leaving valuables within view inside vehicles. He also suggested not leaving purses unattended in shopping carts.
Another resident asked for clarification on the types of narcotics being used. Chief Wyant confirmed that heroin use has increased, not only in the City but on a national level. He noted that there is a direct correlation between drug addictions and crimes of opportunity.
Council Member Barbour asked whether narcotic activity is higher in Taylorsville than in other areas. Chief Wyant confirmed that all areas across the valley have seen a level increase. He observed that dealing with narcotic use aggressively will result in the decrease of other criminal activity. He commended officers for aggressive enforcement efforts in regard to narcotics.
Mayor Johnson requested information regarding simple crime prevention practices.
Chief Wyant confirmed that most home burglaries occur during daytime hours. He suggested that knowing your neighborhood, communicating with neighbors, and being aware of suspicious neighborhood activity is very valuable. He talked about ways to protect your home while out of town, i.e. removing newspapers from porches, picking up mail, leaving a light on, and leaving a neighbor's car parked in the driveway.
One City Staff member cautioned against advertising on social media those times when a home is not occupied. Another staff member advised against leaving mail out in residential mailboxes for pick up. Chief Wyant agreed that mail theft is still prevalent and outgoing mail should not be placed in personal mailboxes. He also suggested picking up mail as soon as possible.
A resident described an incident when she had mail stolen. She commended Taylorsville officers for taking quick action, The benefit of a locked mailbox was referenced.
Mayor Johnson discussed the value of alarm systems or dogs in homes and encouraged residents to take extra safety precautions. He also noted that criminals often follow obituaries and prey on the empty homes of individuals attending funerals.
A daycare provider commented on the prevalence of purses being stolen from cars in her work parking lot. She stressed the importance of educating people on not leaving items in their cars. The Chief agreed that prevention education is vital. He also discussed the many ways that public safety education has been promoted in Taylorsville. Chief Wyant confirmed that officers are always willing and available to do public safety presentations at daycares, schools, etc.
Mayor Johnson expressed his concern for the safety of Taylorsville citizens and urged that individuals practice crime prevention. Chief Wyant concluded with citing the importance of recognizing that Utah is a relatively safe place to live. Mayor Johnson thanked Chief Wyant and commended the high caliber of law enforcement officers in Taylorsville. He thanked those in attendance and encouraged continued public safety awareness.
Minutes courtesy of Cheryl Peacock Cottle, City Recorder