Residents, businesses, and advocates of Utah’s Rio Grande neighborhood support efforts by the State of Utah, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, and other jurisdictions to combat lawlessness through “Operation Rio Grande.”
This operation, which began Monday, is an effort to address crime in the area, while improving the provision of services to homeless residents, including children.
“We have grown sick of the ongoing violence in this neighborhood,” said Susana Clar, a resident. “Finally, we are beginning to feel safe again. I pray that these efforts will continue and that state and local governments are serious about maintaining this presence until this issue is solved.”
State and local officials have told the Pioneer Park Coalition that Operation Rio Grande is intended to last roughly two years and is focused on restoring public order and providing services to people experiencing homelessness.
“I commend law enforcement officials and our state and local governments for responding to our pleas to enforce the law here,” explained local business owner Tiffanie Provost. “We just want the same basic level of safety and decency that exists anywhere else in this state.”
“The children of the Rio Grande area desperately needed this action,” stated Dr. Clotilde Houchon, a long-time advocate for children experiencing homelessness in the area. “Having predators and criminals in the same spaces as kids was a recipe for disaster. I am also encouraged by the Operation’s emphasis on respecting civil rights and getting people the services they need.”
The Pioneer Park Coalition is an alliance of residents and businesses of the Rio Grande seeking to create a safe community and improve services for the homeless.