It’s a crime

Salt Lake City and Utah have made so many ‘Top 10’ lists in the past few years it’s hard to keep track of how ‘speshul’ we really are, right? Well here’s a prize we might not want to share with too many prospective folks thinking of moving to the capitol city…’Top 10 City with the MOST Property Crime Per 1,000 People’. took FBI crime data from 2016 and looked at cities and town with the least and most property crimes.  What is a property crime? That can be anything from car prowls (break-ins to vehicles) to burglary, larceny, and stolen cars. took car crimes out of the mix and towns under 100,000 people to come up with their list of where is good and bad to own or rent a property. Here’s the results, per 1,000 people:



SPOKANE, WA 67.584


PUEBLO, CO 57.336

TUCSON, AZ 54.957



TACOMA, WA 53.0210


On the flip side, the 10 cities with the least amount of property crimes are

1-Lakewood Township, NJ; 2-Yonkers, NY; 3-Cary, NC; 4-Edison Township, NJ; 5-Naperville, IL; 6-Sterling Heights, MI; 7-Allen, TX; 8-Rialto, CA; 9-Simi Valley, CA and 10-Santa Clarita, CA. reports that ‘my chances of becoming a victim of a property crime in Salt Lake City is 1 in 11, and for Utah as a whole, 1 in 34.  My friends on the SLCPD and UTA Police tell me that most property crimes are opportunity crimes. We leave our cars and homes unlocked. We leave stuff in our cars in plain sight for criminals to steal. Packages get stolen from porches. We are going to keep seeing an uptick in crimes because we’re growing in population. And although Salt Lake City is hoping to add a lot more cops on the beat in the next few years, we’re going to continue to be victims of property crimes.

Car prowls are by far one of the number one crimes in downtown Salt Lake City. Not only do thieves target you when you’re at a mall or going to a Jazz game to steal what’s inside your vehicle, but they will crawl under your car to rob you of your catalytic converter. I remember a few years back stories from cop friends about a gang that targeted cars parked around the Delta (now Vivint) Center. They knew the drivers were going to be gone from those parking lots for several hours and they had the time to steal from both locked and unlocked cars.

Hey, we’re all in a hurry these days. Don’t leave anything visible in your car that a potential thief might see. Go as far as opening up your jockey box to show nothing is inside. Put valuables in the trunk or take them with you when you go to that concert, ball game or shopping.

Happy Trails

I love to drive new clients up the hill to the state capitol building, park, and show them the view of the entire Salt Lake Valley. You have to admit, it’s a breathtaking vista (when there’s no smog/inversion)!  Our bowl of a valley used to be a prehistoric lake that dried up a bazillion years ago, with only the dregs left today (aka ‘The Great Salt Lake’) to see. What’s super cool is that you can follow the ancient Bonneville shoreline with your finger as you stand there and look out, and point all the way around the east/Wasatch range and the west/Oquirrh range. And if you walk that line and pay attention, you can find evidence of life long gone-trilobite fossils, preserved flora and fauna. I have found several groovy rocks in my day up by the concrete “U” on the hill above the university.

In most U.S. cities with mountains nearby, the hills leading up to them are called ‘foothills’.  Here we call them ‘benches’. For some time, residents have been working with city and county officials to complete the Bonneville Shoreline Trail along the east bench of this valley. This amazing feat will one day stretch from the Idaho border to Nephi, more than 280 miles (go to to see the full map and proposed works in progress). Trails like this improve life in so many ways and frankly, adds to property values of the folks who live within close distance of them. And people who don’t live so close want easy connections to get there.

According to Salt Lake City Trails & Natural Lands Program, “There are nearly 100 miles of “trails” in the Salt Lake City foothills, all of which will be considered by a proposed Foothill Trail System Plan. Of all these trails, only the Bonneville Shoreline Trail was professionally constructed with the intent of non-motorized recreation. Many existing trails in the foothills are unsustainable due to steep grades, widespread soil erosion, and costly maintenance challenges. Trailhead, wayfinding and regulatory signage is virtually absent. Lack of coherent trail design has created a system of trails that is unapproachable to many entry-level trail users, and that becomes increasingly prone to user-conflicts as use increases. Once approved, the Foothill Trail System Plan will mitigate user confusion, promote connectivity with the City’s alternative transportation networks, and minimize environmental issues (including challenges in protected watershed areas).” The 10-year time line for the project will apply to the benches between Emigration Canyon and the southern boundary of Davis County.

If you want more information on the Foothill Trail System, there are two public meetings coming up:  3/28 5:30-7:30 at the Natural History Museum and 4/2 6-8 PM at the Sweet Branch Library at 455 F Street or log in at

The Bumble Bees

If you venture downtown this summer you’ll see folks in yellow long sleeve shirts walking in pairs, like two purposeful bumblebees, sans the black stripes. The shirts have a logo on them and the words ASK ME!  These are your new ‘downtown ambassadors’, paid for by the Downtown Alliance, Salt Lake City Corp and Visit Salt Lake. You may have grown up with a dad or grandpa who was a member of the Chamber of Commerce years ago, who would go out monthly in a pure white wool coat and glad hand people and welcome them to town and to meetings. These guys were not paid, whereas the new ambassadors are getting a wage. This is different.

These smiley people have a three-fold purpose: “1) answer questions from visitors as to where to go, what to see, and ask them where they are visiting from; 2) provide another layer of safety and security in busier parts of downtown; and 3) act as the eyes and ears for the homeless population, to ensure these community members are aware of service providers, and how and where to take advantage of hot meals or a bed, should they choose”.  Mind you, they aren’t cops, but in a way they are acting like cops by watching out for crime, and particularly watching the homeless who camp and/or panhandle in regular locations downtown. They don’t have guns or tasers, just phones to call 911 or service providers.

The need for this extra layer of eyeballs on the street is due mostly due to a cry of local businesses who have found that the Salt Lake City popo are too damned busy busting drug dealers around the shelter than they are available to roust panhandlers from the front of Temple Square or City Creek 20 times a day. These yellow ambassadors will interface with the vagrants, homeless and panhandlers and get to know them. They won’t be afraid to sit down next to them and get the 411 on why they are there, and offer them services to hopefully help to get them out of there to shelter and get services.

The program is based on a similar program that the Chicago Illinois Alliance created for the Chi-town downtown area. They contracted with a private employer (StreetsPlus) to walk their downtown areas and get cozy with the people who work downtown, visit downtown and live downtown. This company has been cleaning the streets of New York City for more than 25 years, too and provides clean, safe and hospitality services to 60 downtown areas around the United States.  By this summer you may see up to a dozen of them in the core blocks of downtown, around our convention center, mall and visitor sites. They get rave reviews for their work, so let’s give them a chance in our Capitol City for a year and measure the results.


It’s a fact that it’s hard to find a place to rent these days. St. George is virtually OUT of rentals, and despite all the high rises going up in SLC, we too have a huge shortage of housing. You may not have ever heard of the Utah Apartment Assn. unless you’re a landlord. According to their website they have over 3,500 members representing more than 75,000 apartments throughout Utah. You would probably be a member if you were an owner, manager, developer or builder of apartments because they really do offer some terrific benefits to both the one and multi-unit owner.

The non-profit group was founded in 1934 as the Apartment Assn. of Utah-84 years ago. The National Apartment Association is only 75 years old which to me indicates Utah was ahead of the pack in helping to assist owners and managers in the last century here. Why would a RENTER care about this group?

  1. Their website ( does connect you to,,, and;
  2. Gives help line/phone numbers for tenants having problems with landlords, including Salt Lake Community Action, 2-1-1 information, Disability Law Center and Utah State Courts;
  3. Directs veterans to specific resources for them;
  4. And free forms for tenants to: a) give a landlord a notice to vacate/move out, give notice of a deficient condition, a reasonable accommodation request due to health issues, and a tenant request form to the landlord to provide deposit deposition/return of deposit.


For owners currently renting out property(s) or wanting to become a landlord, they offer a live ‘Good Landlord’ class throughout the state. Not heard of that? Well, if you as a wanna be or current landlord agree to evict problem tenants immediately and keep their properties ‘clean and green’ and in compliance with local housing codes you can possibly get a discount on licensing fees. As an example, Salt Lake City will discount a participant’s business license fee from $342 per unit to $322 per unit. This incentive is intended to educate landlords on management strategies to prevent crime, maintain equity and promote compatibility with surrounding neighborhoods.

South Salt Lake City says on their website that ‘the City has found that landlords who follow best management practices on background checks, tenant leases, crime prevention, and eviction procedures as necessary reduce the service costs borne by South Salt Lake taxpayers. Like many other cities in the state, South Salt Lake requires landlords to maintain a current business license for their rental(s), attend a class every few years on being a good landlords, use a written lease for every unit they rent out with all adults living in the unit listed on the lease, that all adults will have background checks done by the landlord in advance of leasing, protocols for crime prevention on the property will be followed via ‘Crime Prevention through Environmental Design’ and that the landlord agrees to maintain the rental dwelling(s) in a fit and habitable condition as required by State and relevant building, fire and land use codes.

Moldy Stuff

I just returned from Florida where we helped my step mom of 50 years relocate. Although it’s not the ‘hot’ season or ‘Hurricane season’ yet it’s (to me) too hot and humid at 80 degrees and 64% humidity for me to live there. Not only is it damp feeling all the time, there are palmetto bugs (Florida cockroaches) as big as your kids fist and those damnable dinosaur-age alligators and crocodiles.

Too much moisture can cause many a problem for a renter or homeowner. Seeing a roof leak though the ceiling of your living room or a pipe full of sewage break in your basement is an obvious sign of too much wetness. It’s the sneaky drips you can’t see that will rot your foundation and destroy your support beams.  Florida has mold problems, and lots of them. Yet, in dry as a bone Utah, we’ve got mold issues too.

There are a bazillion types of mold on our planet. There’s mold right now in your living space because it’s just as common as dust and dirt. When I see friends or meet people outside of their wet environments I can tell where they live because I can smell mold on their clothes much more than if they lived in our high desert state. “Oh, you’re from Portland…or Seattle!”  Anytime you have organic materials and moisture you’re going to have mold. Mold spores released into the air can cause an asthma attack in some people who suffer from that terrible breathing disease. It can affect our pet’s health, too.

Luckily, we don’t have many occurrences of the dangerous black mold here like is found more in the southern part of the U.S. What you often see here in your shower is mildew, which is surface fungi of a grey, white or yellow color that can turn black over time. Mold is more fuzzy or slimy looking and there are 10,000+ kinds that can live inside your home (according to the Center for Disease Control). Black mold is the worst kind of mold because it produces toxic compounds that can give you and your pets really bad health problems like sinus infections, asthma/asthma attacks, fatigue and depression.

You may not know you have mold because you haven’t been in your basement since last fall. We found out last year that a pipe had broken inside a wall and a small leak started and spread slowly inside the wall and down to the floor (water follows gravity). It took us about three months to find what we smelled before we could tear out all the sheet rock and fix the pipes.If you suspect you have mold, call a plumber ASAP. It can spread fast or slow depending on the water source and trust me, it’s expensive to repair when it goes unchecked…not to mention the effect it can have on your health.