Salt Lake police have opened a temporary precinct west of downtown to address an uptick in crime in the North Temple corridor, police said Tuesday.
The new pop-up police station is located at about 800 West and North Temple at an old Arctic Circle restaurant that closed recently. Police Sgt. Brandon Shearer said about a half-dozen bike-patrol officers will work the beat daily.
"When officers are in the area it helps them take ownership over the area and be more readily available to respond to anything that's going on," Shearer said.
Law enforcement agencies along the Wasatch Front have said last summer's drug and crime crackdown, known as Operation Rio Grande, drove crime away from a downtown homeless shelter and into surrounding areas. Businesses along North Temple say much of the drug dealing and crime that used to take place outside the shelter has moved into their neighborhood.
Shearer said he can't directly link the increase in crime to Operation Rio Grande, but the department is responding to the trend.
"We look at where crime is occurring in the city and we deploy our resources accordingly," he said.
Nigel Swaby, chair of the River District Chamber, which represents businesses on Salt Lake City's west side, said Operation Rio Grande actually brought more police resources to the neighborhood.
"There's police here all the time, but the problem we've got is, I've been on ride-alongs where we'd go over there and people would just walk away and when the police leave, they'd come back," Swaby said. "So I came up with the idea, hey, let's leave the police here all the time."
Swaby says he's thankful Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown and Mayor Jackie Biskupski listened to the business community's concerns and increased the police presence.
Salt Lake City is hosting an open house Wednesday at the North Temple station where residents can meet the new neighborhood police officers and talk to the mayor and police chief.
A previous version of this story mistakenly stated the precinct was near 800 East.