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About 25% of Salt Lake City property crime happens in this area, The Tribune found

The Salt Lake Tribune breaks down property crime data from Salt Lake City police.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Police parking only on High Ave in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. Property crime decreased last year in Salt Lake City compared to 2019, and reports of car theft dropped significantly.

Salt Lake City police have a unit specifically dedicated to investigating car thieves and reuniting stolen cars with their owners.

It’s one reason why, police say, car theft in the city dropped about 30% last year when compared to 2022, records show.

Across the board, property crime including car theft, burglary and larceny-theft all decreased in Salt Lake City last year, though none so much as car theft. Reports of arson, another property crime, remained relatively stagnant.

In total, there were 11,926 property crimes reported citywide last year — marking a 12% decrease from 2022′s total and a nearly 3% decrease from 2019′s, according to a Salt Lake Tribune analysis of Salt Lake City Police Department data.

But even with the drop, records show one area of the city has consistently accounted for about a quarter of all property crime reported in the past five years: District 4, which encapsulates most of downtown.

Car theft dropped near downtown, too

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City police at the scene of a call at 800 South and State Street on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023.

Another reason why car theft is down significantly in Salt Lake City, police say, is because detectives have worked with the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office to ensure “greater accountability” for repeat offenders.

Many of the city’s “chronic” offenders are in custody or on parole, police said. The department’s license plate-reading technology has also made it easier to identify stolen vehicles.

Between 2019 and last year, according to a Tribune analysis, car theft in Salt Lake City peaked in 2020, with about 2,231 offenses reported. Last year accounted for the lowest amount of car thefts since 2019, when 1,322 thefts were reported.

District 4 alone accounted for about 20% of all car theft reported in Salt Lake City last year, with 246 cases. Still, car theft was down in the area by about 27% when compared to 2022.

Burglary

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) A "no trespassing" sign on Paramount Avenue near the Gail Miller Resource Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024.

Burglary involves a person entering a home, business or other place unlawfully to steal or commit a felony, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It differs from robbery, which is considered a violent crime, as robberies happen when people are present.

In 2019, Salt Lake City police logged 1,315 burglaries citywide. Last year, police logged 15% fewer burglaries.

The 2023 total was also a 15% decrease from the amount of burglaries reported in 2022.

District 4 specifically accounted for about 24% of all burglaries reported since 2019, records show. Last year, the area accounted for 340 burglaries — down from the 384 reported there in 2022.

Larceny-theft

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Homes off Paramount Avenue in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024.

Larceny-theft is the most reported property crime in Salt Lake City. It involves unlawfully taking something from someone else, or a business, without the use of force or fraud, according to the FBI.

Most larceny-theft cases in Salt Lake City involve car prowls: stealing from a vehicle, stealing license plates or stealing catalytic converters, according to police. Shoplifting is also common.

Since 2019, more than 52,000 larceny-theft offenses have been reported to Salt Lake City police.

Police logged 9,577 such crimes in 2019 alone. Last year, 9,506 instances of larceny-theft were reported, marking a roughly 9% decrease in larceny-theft citywide since 2022.

District 4 alone accounted for about 30% of all larceny-thefts reported in Salt Lake City last year.

The area also saw a slight increase in larceny-theft reports last year: 2% more when compared to 2022, and 3% more when compared to 2019.

Arson

Arson involves the “willful or malicious” burning of someone else’s property, as well as attempting to burn something willfully or maliciously, according to the FBI. It also includes reckless burning, Salt Lake City police said.

In 2019 alone, a total of 32 arson offenses were reported citywide. But since 2020, police have consistently logged around 66 arson offenses each year. The reason for the apparent jump after 2019 is unclear.

District 4 specifically accounted for 17 arson offenses in 2023, compared to 21 arson offenses reported in the area in 2022.

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