Because of the current uptick in violent crime in Salt Lake County — notably crimes involving weapons — Salt Lake County District Legal professional Sim Gill introduced Wednesday that he has a message for individuals who have interaction in gun violence:
“You might be placed on discover beginning right this moment, there will probably be no extra plea bargains and we are going to throw the guide at you.”
Gill stood with Salt Lake Metropolis Police Chief Mike Brown and Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera to announce he has instructed his prosecutors to aggressively go after people who find themselves arrested and charged with committing violent crimes with a gun.
“Efficient instantly, beginning right this moment, no legal cost arising from the usage of a gun or referring to an illegal use or possession of a gun within the fee of a criminal offense will probably be diminished as part of any plea cut price. Put one other means, there will probably be no plea bargains for gun crimes in Salt Lake County,” Gill mentioned.
The brand new coverage is available in gentle of the Utah Department of Public Safety’s recent Crime in Utah report for 2020 which confirmed a 44% improve in homicides from the 12 months earlier than. In line with the state’s statistics, there have been 93 homicides in 2020. A firearm was utilized in 67% of these killings in comparison with 55% a 12 months in the past.
Final 12 months, Gill mentioned his workplace screened 87 homicide and tried homicide instances. This 12 months, his workplace is already at 78 instances as of Wednesday with 2 1/2 months nonetheless to go within the 12 months.
Wednesday’s announcement comes the identical week that police in Taylorsville investigated the taking pictures demise of Gabriela Sifuentes Castilla, 38, higher referred to as Gaby Ramos, a radio character for an area Spanish-language radio station. An arrest warrant has been issued for Castilla’s former boyfriend.
Salt Lake Metropolis can also be forward of final 12 months’s murder fee. The shooting death of Aaron Lowe was the thirteenth murder within the metropolis this 12 months, and the ninth ensuing from gun violence.
About an hour after Wednesday’s press convention ended, Salt Lake cops responded to Liberty Park on a report of pictures fired. Two folks have been taken into custody and one gun recovered, in response to police.
Salt Lake police have already collected almost 500 weapons this 12 months as proof in investigations, Brown mentioned. Rivera famous that the Metro Gang Unit seized 137 weapons throughout 2020 and has already seized 120 thus far this 12 months.
However what police are additionally discovering is that a lot of the weapons getting used within the fee of crimes have been stolen throughout house or automobile burglaries from lawful gun house owners.
“There are too many automobile burglaries and residential burglaries that we’re taking stories on and people are reporting their weapons have been stolen. And we all know we’ll see these weapons out on the road,” Rivera mentioned.
The Division of Public Security report discovered house and automobile burglaries have been up in Utah throughout 2020. And police imagine it is no coincidence that extra weapons are being discovered on the road. That is why each Rivera and Brown made a plea to Utah gun house owners to soundly safe their weapons inside their properties, and by no means depart their weapons unattended in automobiles.
“I am unable to stress sufficient what number of instances we take of individuals saying, ‘Anyone broke into my automobile. My gun was in there final evening.’ We had an AR-15 stolen out of a automobile. Why are you preserving an AR-15 in your automobile? That is what we’re making an attempt to ship a message (about),” Rivera mentioned.
Gill mentioned in a current officer-involved taking pictures case that his workplace reviewed wherein the arrested particular person shot at police, two firearms have been seized. A kind of weapons was stolen from a residence and the opposite was stolen from a automobile simply three days previous to the confrontation with officers, he mentioned.
Rivera mentioned whereas police try to maintain their communities protected, residents have to step up and do their half to assist.
“We’re struggling on the market with these violent crimes and we do not wish to see any extra victims,” the sheriff mentioned.
“It takes folks saying, ‘Sufficient is sufficient and never in our group,'” Brown added.
Rivera mentioned she believes the district legal professional’s new coverage will make a distinction and assist curb the issue of a “revolving door” on the Salt Lake County Jail.
Underneath Gill’s new coverage, if a plea cut price is the one option to insure a conviction, it should first be authorized by a chief deputy in his workplace.
“Absent a authorized impediment, a gun crime cost will both be resolved by a responsible plea as charged to the offense, or a trial will probably be commenced on that gun cost,” he mentioned.
“Going ahead, if you are going to commit crime in Salt Lake County with possession of a gun in a violent crime, you can be aggressively prosecuted.”