Safe Cam Program welcomed in Salt Lake City's Depot district

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – The game has now been changed when it comes to public safety in the Depot District.

Pioneer Park is a staple in Salt Lake City. It attracts thousands with its concert series, food trucks and famers markets.

“What we want to do is decrease the crime and drug activity here and we want to make this park family friendly 24-7,” said Rene Oehlerking with the Pioneer Park Coalition.

That’s why some of the area business, residents and police are looking to technology to solve crimes.

“People come to us and want to share their information,” said Salt Lake City Police Lieutenant Michael Ross.

Pioneer Park is a launching pad for the Safe Cam Program. It is intended to use park cameras and area business security cameras to crack down on crime.

“Right now it isn’t at its full potential. We want families to be able to be here. We want people to go to the park and right now that’s not happening,” says Oehlerking. “Well that’s about to change, the cameras are the first step in that direction.”

Recently Salt Lake City Police arrested five people for dealing heroin, cocaine and marijuana in the area of the park.

“It is affecting members of our community. It is affecting the local businesses and it needs to stop,” said Detective Dennis McGowan with the Salt Lake City Police Department. “We are trying to push it out of our city.”

The big brother tactic was modeled after cities like Chicago and Philadelphia is a welcoming sight to some area businesses.

“It is overwhelmingly negative what’s going on with the crime and its kind of the only way police can do their job, is to see it in action,” said Tiffany Provost of AXIS T. “The only way you can prosecute, you have to get it on tape and have to have that evidence.”

The designed program will allow officers to tap into businesses IP addresses and search through recorded footage where a crime happened.

“It will be outside cameras only not inside cameras and if it became a problem we can certainly at any time at will cut that off,” Provost added.

The Broadway Lofts welcomes the idea because of the 52-families moving across from the park this summer.

“Our camera system associated with our building will be linked in to the public service building and have that capability,” said Micah Peters of Clearwater Homes.

“We can not solve crime like this ourselves. We really need the community to help us. And it’s important,” Lt. Ross added.

It’s important because it’s designed to help the homeless.

“Often times people look at the homeless and say that, that’s the drugs, no,” says Oehlerking. “These are drug dealers coming in from across the state, actually from other states. They are coming to the park because this is where their customers are.”

The legality of all the cameras is being worked out with the city and business. The camera feeds will be housed at the public safety building downtown.

The city will have brand new cameras in Pioneer Park within the coming months.

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