CEDAR CITY — The Cedar City Council heard two reports at its last meeting April 14 concerning both crime and homelessness in the city.
The first report about crime analysis and mapping in Cedar City comprised information compiled by Southern Utah University students. Assistant Professor Sangjun Park, who teaches in the department of political science and criminal justice at SUU, introduced the students to the council and discussed the report.
Crime analysis and mapping data in Cedar City were compiled, studied and applied with the intent to develop more effective, efficient and economical crime prevention.
The report looked at three specific crimes: fraud, theft and drug incidences. Specifically, it catalogued where and when these crimes occurred.
According to the 2019 Cedar City crime report, there were 150 incidents of fraud in Cedar City.
The data indicates fraud reports were most common near Napa Auto Parts at 210 W. 200 North in Cedar City.
SUU student Sarah Swasey presented the fraud information to council and spoke to Cedar City News after the meeting.
“Just the fact that it was (near) an auto parts store, it doesn’t really add up,” Swasey said. “It surprised me that the most instances didn’t come at a bank.”
Theft is a common crime in Cedar City, statistically occurring most often on Wednesdays and in the late afternoon.
Dillon Glendenning told Cedar City News that theft reports were concentrated within one area of town.
“Walmart had 147 theft reports. Compared to every other crime, that’s 133 above the next on the list,” Glendenning said. “So the most surprising thing was how that area is singled out compared to everywhere else in Cedar City.”
In 2019, there were 179 criminal incidents involving drug use.
Angelina Giroux spent time doing research on the Drug Court during an internship with the Iron County Attorney’s Office.
“A lot of people chose to opt out of a (rehabilitation) program than to stay in it and graduate,” Giroux said. “A lot of people would rather take jail time over a program that can last 18 months, so that really surprised me.”
The council thanked the students for their work and heard from Cedar City Police Chief Darin Adams.
“I just wanted to thank Dr. Park and these students for their wonderful work,” Adams said. “This just helps us further our efforts toward what and where to police.”
The second report was the quarterly report from the Iron County Homeless Committee, presented to council by Peggy Green from Iron County Care & Share.
Over the last three months, just in the Iron County Care & Share service, there were 117 unduplicated clients including 116 families. Green reported that there were 50 children, 10 seniors and 146 adults in those families.
“The senior number is one that we’re watching closely because it just steadily increases,” Green said. “We’re having more and more folks over 70 years of age that have fallen into homelessness. It’s a large concern for us.”
The homeless situation became even more precarious during the pandemic. In the last quarter, 20 clients were housed in 16 motel rooms at an expense of over $37,000.
“That was an absolute blessing as far as quarantine, isolation and winter overflow goes,” Green said. “We do believe that that really supported not spreading COVID from inside our organization. It was very important.”
Green reported that $35,000 in additional funding for quarantine and isolation motel rooms has been secured.
“I think what you provide and what you’re willing to do day in and day out makes such a difference,” council member Scott Phillips said. “For us to not recognize that there’s a need is foolish on our part.”
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