Community Crime Prevention

Neighbors helping neighbors to reduce or eliminate crime in their own neighborhood is the basis of our crime prevention program. The Unified Police Department offers a full complement of training programs designed to train and assist county residents in maintaining the security of their homes and the tranquility of their community life.

Community Watch

Creating Crime Free, Caring Neighborhoods. Each day the residents of Salt Lake County confront property crimes and threats of crime. In some instances residents also confront personal crimes such as assaults, robbery or sexual assault.

Citizens generally agree the most popular and proven community crime prevention strategy is Community Watch. These programs call for citizens in designated areas to become trained to notice and report criminal or suspicious behavior near their homes. The purpose of Community Watch is dual: to learn how to protect oneself and family, and to learn how to work together to prevent crime.

The Unified Police Department and residents of Salt Lake County form the crucial partnership in this strategy. Crime Prevention Services provide training to all citizens willing to set aside an hour of their time and meet together with their neighbors to determine the concerns of area residents and determine measures we all can take to reduce crime and the fear of crime in our neighborhoods.

The most successful Community Watch groups go beyond just being the "eyes and ears" for the UPD, although that is a valuable service we ask those citizens to perform. We encourage citizen groups to sponsor community clean-ups, collect clothing, blankets and toys for homeless people, organize after-school activities for young people, help victims of crime, and form task forces that influence our lawmakers and policymakers.

Make no mistake about it. Attending a one-hour Community Watch meeting is not all that will be required to make your community safe. It involves neighbors watching out after their neighbors and reporting suspicious persons and circumstances to the Unified Police Department. A trained crime prevention specialist will conduct the orientation meeting at your home, a school, a church, a library or any other facility of your choosing. Weather permitting some neighborhoods choose to conduct their meeting outdoors. A Community Oriented Policing officer will join the meeting to offer his or her assistance in dealing with neighborhood concerns such as a drug house, gang activity, juvenile problems or vandalism.

We seek people who will be vigilant, but not vigilantes, to observe and report any and all suspicious persons or vehicles in your neighborhoods.

Block Captain Training

After the Community Watch orientation meeting in a specific neighborhood we sometimes are asked to provide additional training for individuals who volunteer to serve as Block Captains. This training was developed to explain the duties and responsibilities of a Block Captain and how they can best serve the needs and interests of their community.

Your Family / Yourself Crime Prevention

Neighbors helping neighbors to reduce or eliminate crime in their own neighborhood is the basis of our crime prevention program. The Unified Police Department offers a full complement of training programs designed to train and assist county residents in maintaining the security of their homes and the tranquility of their community life.

Lady Beware Presentations

Lady Beware Presentations are geared towards teaching both women and men rape and sexual assault prevention. A trained crime prevention specialist will explain to ladies and men the various ways a sexual predator may stalk his prey. We discuss prevention methods, how to formulate defense measures in your subconscious so you will be ready if an attempted assault occurs, and how to defend yourself without learning martial arts. Learn how to anticipate potential dangers, have a plan ready, and reduce the odds of being a victim.

Telemarketing Fraud

Telemarketing Fraud On television you can usually tell who the bad guys are. But, how about in real life? If the crooks looked or talked like they were the bad guys they could not successfully separate you from your money. The voice of a fraudulent telemarketer may sound like the friendly man next door or some other nice person you know. They will say "please" and "thank you" and may say "dear" frequently. They may shout with glee when they tell you that you have won the "big prize" and just ooze with happiness at your good fortune. Law enforcement officers have a very difficult time in prosecuting telemarketers because the victims are convinced they can't be crooks... they are too nice. Of course not all telemarketers are crooks trying to cheat you, but some are. Some of the ways you can suspect a con is if someone wants to force you to make an immediate decision. They may also say they have a runner in the neighborhood and can pick up your check in five minutes. They may ask you tell them your bank account number or ask for a credit card number. All of these are red flags that someone is trying to cheat you.

Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse is a relatively new phrase in our vocabulary. Incidents of abused older people have happened for several years, but were never talked about. For some of Utah's elderly and disabled adults, life is not easy or safe. They are the victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Perhaps these victims are dependent on the abuser for care or maybe they are isolated from the community. Fear, shame and denial often prevent them from seeking help.

Stranger Smart

Stranger Smart teaches children what strangers may say or do in their attempt to victimize these young people. Teaching a child to have a family "code word" and what to do if they are frightened won't guarantee their safety, but it does give them the opportunity to understand the danger and know what to do if confronted. Schools, day care facilities, churches or neighborhoods may arrange for this valuable training. This 30 minute program is recommended for children K through 3rd grade.

Safe Kid

Safe Kid is similar to, but not exactly the same as Stranger Smart. In addition to discussing how to be aware of strangers and what to do if someone tries to kidnap you, our Safe Kid program incorporates safety in the home and safety to and from school. We also discuss safety in the home, to and from school safety and try to make the child feel safe without inducing paranoia.

Street Wise

There are three locations where you may be in daily danger. They are your home, your work and the roadway to and from work. Both men and women need to be aware of the predators that roam our streets in search of victims. The offense may not always be a sexual offense. In some cases armed robbery is the motive for attacking a defenseless citizen. Our Street Wise presentation makes information available to you on how to avoid looking like a victim and knowing the appropriate actions to take if attacked.

Not My Kid

It's been said that nothing strikes fear in the hearts of citizens, particularly older persons, than confronting a group of gang members. This situation may occur on a public street, on a bus, while visiting a mall or some other location.

Law enforcement intelligence officers are seeing an increased degree of organization and sophistication among local gangs. This trend is driven by the desire of the gang or individuals within the gang to profit from their criminal activity.

Once the gang's criminal activity becomes profitable, it will be very difficult to dissuade a young person who is considering becoming a gang member to seek out employment at minimum wage. Gang members will be receiving thousands of dollars each week selling illegal drugs and other types of criminal enterprise.

We have a continuing problem of denial by parents that their children are gang involved. Judge Andrew Valdez is one of the featured persons in this video. He says, "we can't expect to convince a young person to abandon the gang lifestyle unless we provide an appropriate substitute. Hopefully, that is family."

Not This Kid

Not This Kid is a video from Utah Attorney General Jan Graham. "Not This Kid" has been developed to help younger children make the decision NOT to get involved in the gang lifestyle. This program discusses the hazards of gang involvement and provide successful conflict resolution ideas and recommendations.

Bicycle Rodeos

Community Oriented Policing officer has establish a training course for younger bicycle riders to test their riding skills and teach safety.

Operation "Safe Passage"

Operation "Safe Passage" is a cooperative effort between school administrators, the Parent-Teacher Organization and the UPD. This program is intended to recruit parent volunteers at participating schools who are willing to locate themselves along the Safe Walking Route to offer additional security and safety to children walking along the route. Background checks will be conducted on each volunteer and they will wear a distinctive vest and carry an identification card while participating in this program.

Safe Place

Safe Place is an optional program available to schools under the auspices of the Salt Lake County Youth Services Center. This program is coordinated by the Salt Lake County Youth Services Center and is available for use by school administrators and parent-teacher groups. The Safe Place program is intended to assist youngsters who are afraid of strangers, bullies or some other danger or concern while they are en route to and from school.

Point of contact is Steven D. Titensor, M.Ed.MFT, Safe Place Coordinator, Salt Lake County Youth Services Center, 177 West Price Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah 84115. The telephone number is (801) 264-2273 and the FAX number is (801) 269-7565. Another optional program is the McGruff Program. Point of contact is the Utah Council for Crime Prevention, 486-8691.

Domestic Violence Prevention

Domestic Violence Prevention teaches options and techniques to prevent being a victim or acquainting current victims of resources available to assist them.

Dating Violence

Dating Violence affects one in ten teen couples and frequently leads to domestic violence if the couple stays together and is married at a later time. Dating violence and dating abuse is more than just hitting. It includes yelling, threatening, name-calling, saying, "I'll kill myself if you leave me," obsessive phone calling and extreme possessiveness.

If you or someone you know is the victim of dating violence tell your parents, a friend, a school counselor, the resource officer at your school, or someone you can trust. Abusers usually try to isolate you from these people to keep you under control. The more isolated you are from your family and friends, the more control an abuser has over you.

If you are the friend of someone being abused express your concerns, tell your friend you are worried, support, but don't judge. Take care not to put yourself in a dangerous situation with the victim's partner by attempting to be a mediator. Leave that to professionals. Call the police if you witness an assault. Tell an adult such as the school principal or resource officer.

Home Security

Do you have dead bolt locks on all entry doors? Do you have solid core or metal doors at all points of entry into your home including the garage? Is your house number visible from the street? Could an officer or fireman find your home day or night? The Unified Police Department encourages you to look at your home in the way a potential burglar might.

Burglars don't like wasting time. Time wasters, such as attempting to bypass dead bolt locks, defeat an alarm system or some other protection device may persuade them to go elsewhere. Double check to see that all doors and windows are securely locked when leaving your home. Keep doors locked while you are at home for additional safety. Know who is at the door before opening the door. This is your last line of defense. Use a viewer to see who is outside. We suggest that you not open the door to strangers.

How to Organize a Community Watch

'Community Watch' is a citizen involvement program. Working towards a positive partnership relationship we can and will make a difference. Our very successful Community Watch Program is intended to teach community residents how to observe and report suspicious persons and vehicles in their neighborhoods.

The Unified Police Department continues to be proactive in enforcing laws and ordinances to protect the lives and well being of Salt Lake County residents. However, due to the increasing number of calls for service it is essential for neighborhood residents to act as the eyes and ears of the UPD. Deputy Sheriffs want and need the assistance of neighborhood residents to report suspicious persons, acts of vandalism, abandoned cars, cars driving slowly through the neighborhood or any other behavior that causes a resident to feel uncomfortable and uneasy.

Since the early years of our existence, citizens have been a driving force in reducing crime by reporting suspicious persons to law enforcement so officers can quickly determine if any laws have been violated or if the suspicious person has a reasonable explanation for his or her actions.

Anyone who has watched a western movie can recall the haste with which the citizens informed the sheriff when a stranger rode into town. We must rekindle that spirit of vigilance by watching for suspicious persons in our own neighborhoods. We ask residents to be vigilant, but not vigilantes.

Organizing and maintaining an effective Community Watch can have many benefits. It provides residents with a means to learn crime prevention methods and take advantage of other crime prevention programs offered by the UPD. By joining together residents can speak with a unified voice when contacting elected officials or others who provide services to their neighborhoods.

A major benefit derived from neighbors working together is a means to provide a cohesiveness in the neighborhood for problem solving and communication. Residents who learn the basic rules of crime prevention, including crime prevention through environmental design, can reduce opportunistic crimes by denying the criminal the opportunity. Chronic nuisance problems in the neighborhood may best be resolved by working with the Community Action Team Coordinator who serves your area.

To be successful, a criminal must have the ability to commit the crime, the desire or intent to commit the crime and, above all, the opportunity to commit the crime. Your collective involvement in the Community Watch Program, acting as the eyes and ears of law enforcement, will allow the UPD to engage in proactive patrolling, more involved investigations and continue their pursuit of serious habitual offenders.

Your neighborhood safety lies in the combined efforts of all neighbors to look after one another and report suspicious persons.

Your First Meeting

Community Watch may be the most effective and least costly means to prevent crime and reduce fear in your neighborhood. However, you can't do it alone. To be successful you must invite the entire neighborhood to participate and join forces in this mutual effort to eradicate crime from your community.

Community Watch groups not only prevent crime, but can offer a catalyst for bringing better service and restoring pride to a neighborhood. The Community Watch consists of a group of neighbors who are concerned and interested in protecting their homes, their families and their neighbors from the ravages of crime and other dangers.

Step One: Talk to several of your neighbors and determine that sufficient interest exists to organize a Community Watch Program.

Step Two: Determine if you are willing to devote the time and energy necessary to act as the Coordinator. The Coordinator finds interested people who will serve as Block Captains. The Coordinator serves as the liaison between the UPD and the Block Captains. The Block Captains take information to the neighborhood residents and brings feedback to the Coordinator to be relayed to the UPD Crime Prevention Specialist or Community Action Team Coordinator.

Step Three: Determine if you wish to host the first meeting yourself. We suggest you consider doing so. The advantage of doing this is you can allow grievances and concerns to be discussed candidly between the neighbors attending the meeting. Select Block Captains volunteers from those attending your initial meeting. You may collectively formulate a list of concerns and fears to be presented to the Sheriff's Office for suggestions and recommendations. We suggest that you invite a Crime Prevention Specialist to your second meeting. You may do so by calling your local precinct.

Our experience shows you will obtain the best turn out Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 7 p.m. If you wish to schedule on another day and time we will make every effort to accommodate your request.

Step Four: Contact with residents in the neighborhood should be made before each scheduled meeting. You may choose to host these meetings at your home, at a local church or school or at any location of your choosing. We suggest you find a location that can provide a television and VCR. Some neighborhoods decide to host outdoor programs featuring pot luck dinners or some other refreshments. The usual one hour program will be somewhat shorter when the video program is eliminated in an outdoor presentation.

You're On Your Way

You have selected your Block Captains and completed the organizational training provided by UPD Crime Prevention Services. We have brochures that describe the duties of a Block Captain available for your use. However, we emphasize that this is a citizen program. We offer suggestions and recommendations, but do not dictate how you will organize or conduct your Community Watch program.

Keeping interest from waning may be your most difficult undertaking. We suggest that you consider using our Block Captain Action Plan that outlines monthly activities the neighborhood can become involved in to promote communication and maintain interest in continuing the Community Watch program. Hosting neighborhood block parties is frequently the most effective method to maintain community interest.

We encourage you to visit one of our precincts to obtain crime prevention brochures for your Block Captains to pass out during their visits to homes in their neighborhoods.

When you need assistance or advice on how to successfully conduct your Community Watch program you may contact Unified Police Department Precinct and talk with the local Community Oriented Policing Detective (COP Detective).

Work Place Crime Prevention

Protecting Against Bomb Threats

Telephoned bomb threats are received frequently by many businesses and schools. Do you know what to do if someone called your business to report a bomb had been planted? The persons who usually become aware of the threat first are persons who answer outside calls, security officers and maintenance personnel. Unified Police Department Crime Prevention Services provides a two-hour training program at your work site on how to recognize an explosive device, what actions to take when you receive the threat and how to decide when to evacuate the building.

Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is an ever increasing problem throughout the country. Learn how to recognize and avoid workplace violence and threats.

Retail Theft Prevention.

Businesses lose thousands of dollars monthly through shoplifting and employee theft. These classes on retail theft prevention teach business owners and employees how to spot a potential shoplifter and what actions they can and should legally take.

Crime Prevention


  • 385.468.8854
  • Unified Police Department
    3365 South 900 West
    Salt Lake City, Utah 84119

Home and Neighborhood Safety Pamphlets

Workplace Safety Pamphlets

Vehicle Safety Pamphlets

Child Safety

Women Safety

Elderly Safety

Domestic Abuse / Civil Safety

Emergency Preparedness

Drug Prevention

Virtual / Online Safety

Gang Prevention

Gun Safety

Nature Safety

External Resources