Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Jumping on Police Cars and Other Tales from SLC's Hamsterdam

Posted By on May 13, 2014, 1:28 PM

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The area around the homeless shelter area of downtown Salt Lake City is clogged with crime, addiction and mental illness. It's also the closest thing Salt Lake City has to an open-air drug market like the “Hamsterdam” zone from The Wire. As a result of it being so hard to police the area, strange and brazen crimes happen here, and last weekend was no exception with one man reporting to the police how his drug deal went very badly and another man was arrested for jumping on a police car.---

To be fair, SLC's Hamsterdam isn't the result of intentional legalization like the plot line from the HBO crime series The Wire, but rather is because of the realities of police containment of drug dealers and users.

Given the high number of users and dealers contained in the area, it's no wonder people don't report drug crimes in the area when they're too busy slinging them or using them.

According to the Salt Lake City Police Department's watch log at about 1:26 am on May 12, however, an individual reported that what should have been a routine outing into the shelter area to purchase crack cocaine instead devolved into armed robbery. The man explained that he went to a dealer packing a 9 mm Ruger and a 12-inch buck knife. While the man wanted crack the dealer only had meth and in the ensuing disagreement the man explained he was armed and didn't want any trouble.

At this point, the dealer asked the man to show him his gun as proof. When the man did, the dealer took the gun from him, beat him and robbed him of his money and his knife.

Sunday was not a restful day for police who later responded that Sunday evening to a report that an intoxicated man jumped onto the back of a police car as it was cruising down 210 S. Rio Grande near the homeless shelter. When the police officer stopped the car, the man allegedly said he “wanted to fight.” Backup officers responded to the scene and the man was arrested for public intoxication and interfering with arrest.

To find out more about a program funding services to help the homeless get off the streets click here.

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