Thursday , April 19, 2018 - 6:55 PM6 comments
OGDEN — Ogden Police will partner with state and federal law enforcement to target the "worst of the worst" violent criminals in the city as an expanded effort to a nationwide program.
Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber announced in a Thursday press conference the expanded effort of the ongoing Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program through the Department of Justice that Huber said has been in place in the area since 2002.
Huber said this is the “next level” of the program that targets repeat offenders of violent crimes within a specified area of Ogden and is the first of its kind in the state.
The “target enforcement area” — which will be the part of the city where law enforcement will concentrate their efforts — starts at 12th Street from the north and runs to 36th Street in the south. The eastern limit of the area is Monroe Boulevard and runs to Wall Avenue as the western barrier. The enforcement area will also include 21st Street going west and will end 1900 West in Weber County.
The area consists of 4.86 square miles in which 22,070 people live in Ogden, according to a press release from the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“In Utah, we have not been immune from the trends of our nation in the past couple of years, we have seen, after decades of decline, an increase in our violent crime rates,” Huber said. “Everyone in Utah deserves to live in a safe neighborhood.”
Huber said the program will target offenders who are the “worst of the worst” and will prosecute them on the federal level.
“We will take out the top offenders out of this area of Weber County and Ogden City,” Huber said.
Huber told the Standard-Examiner that he chose Ogden for this program because of the city’s forward-thinking leaders and proven partnerships. He said the initiative will focus on prosecuting repeat offenders and will likely not target those charged with their first violent crime.
Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell applauded the project, saying at the press conference that the city is focused on making the safest community possible.
The Ogden Police Department is looking forward to the initiative, OPD Chief Randy Watt said, and credited state and federal law enforcement for helping combat Ogden’s reputation of being a city where crime is commonplace.
Weber County Attorney Chris Allred said local agencies are constantly looking for ways to improve safety to residents and businesses. With this new initiative, Allred said Ogden about to become “a very uncomfortable place for criminals.”
“I would urge our drug dealers and other violent felons to begin packing their bags immediately, because they’re about to be removed from our neighborhoods altogether and relocated to federal prison far away from Utah,” Allred said.
Agents from the Utah Department of Public Safety, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were present at the press conference as well. FBI and ATF representatives said the number federal agents in Ogden will increase in the effort to support the project.
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