OGDEN — The Ogden Police Department is reporting nearly a 20 percent drop in part one crimes in 2018.
During a press conference held Wednesday morning at the city’s Francom Public Safety Building, local, state and federal law enforcement officials announced the reduction in crime, touting the collaborative efforts among the many departments in attendance.
According to the numbers provided by the OPD Wednesday, the city saw a 19.7 percent drop in part one crimes comparing 2017 to 2018. Part one crimes tend to be larger offenses and include both violent offenses and property crimes.
The types of offenses lumped together and categorized as part one crimes consist of homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson, according to the OPD report.
Since 2010, data provided shows that part one crimes have been on a downward trend, with the exception of slight jumps in 2013 and 2016.
Data published by the department on part one crimes dates back to 2006. Since then, the year with the highest number of part one crimes was 2007, when over 6,000 crimes occurred within the city. For 2018, only 3,627 part one crimes were reported by the Ogden Police.
Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell kicked off the Wednesday press conference, and called the reduction in crime among the largest drops in the city’s history. He also thanked the many police officers that made the drop in crime possible.
“On behalf of the 90,000 people that call Ogden home, you have all of our appreciation, our gratitude and our thank you,” Caldwell said. “Our families, neighborhoods, schools and businesses are all safer and healthier because of their efforts.”
Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt said the 2016 rise in part one crimes caused the department to reorganize. The Ogden Police studied how the jump could have occurred and how to prevent those numbers from rising once more. Nine months later had the answers they needed to move forward, Watt said.
Those efforts have resulted in the drops in part one crimes in 2017 and 2018, Watt said. However, the Ogden Police can’t take all the credit for the drop, Watt said, but rather the results should also be credited to the many agencies that contributed.
Watt said support from city leaders, like Caldwell and the city council, has bettered the department and provided guidance toward lowering crime rates in the city.
The chief also gave credit to federal partners — like Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber and Utah U.S. Marshal Matthew Harris, who were both in attendance Wednesday — who have provided resources to help the department reach its goals.
Watt added that Project Safe Neighborhoods, a federal initiative to reduce violent crime, has played a large part in taking weapons and drugs off the streets.
“This announcement cannot be understated,” Huber said. “This is a huge accomplishment that we hope the public can appreciate.”
Huber said that Utah saw double-digit increases in violent crime in 2015 and 2016. “That is not the Utah we know, and that is not the Utah we want to live in,” he said.
In April 2018, Huber and the Ogden Police Department announced the PSN program and the targeted area within the city where program would focus.
Since the program was announced, 56 firearms, mostly handguns, have been seized from convicted criminals found within the PSN “target enforcement area” of Ogden, Huber said. He added that nearly 55 pounds of drugs, the vast majority being methamphetamine, have been confiscated as part of the program as well. Huber added that all the drugs seized in Ogden came from Mexico.
Huber called the 19.7 percent decrease in part one crimes a “very promising start” to the local and federal PSN strategy.
This collaboration between local and federal law enforcement officials will continue long term, Huber said, echoing previous messages about the PSN program.
Huber said at the Utah State Capitol in October that Weber County will receive more than $260,000 from the federal government in order to keep up PSN efforts. On a national level, the PSN initiative received $35 million in funding in 2018, and will receive $50 million in funding in 2019, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said during a visit to Utah’s Capitol.
The press conference came on the heels of two homicides in Ogden in the past two weeks.
Most recently, police in Layton arrested 23-year-old Theron Nelson Farmer in connection with the murder of 18-year-old Kamron Johnson and the shooting of Johnson’s older brother. As of Wednesday, police said they were searching for a second suspect, but did not offer any additional information.
Xavier Soto, 18, who is the primary suspect in the death of 28-year-old DJ Parkinson, turned himself into police on Wednesday. Parkinson was found lying in a patch of grass on Feb. 2 with “significant injuries to his torso,” according to police.