As you consider relocating to Salt Lake City, you’re probably wondering: Is Salt Lake City a safe place to live? While its crime rate may look shocking – and is higher than the national average – Salt Lake City crime is easy to avoid and clustered in a handful of areas. Here’s an in-depth look at the crime rate in Salt Lake City, Utah to help you decide if it’s the right city for you.
Understanding the Salt Lake City Crime Rate
Crime rates are reported as the number of crimes per 100,000 people. This allows you to compare the crime rate between cities of different sizes and assess your risk of crime. There are three Salt Lake City crime rates you will see: a total crime rate which is separated into a violent crime and property crime rate. Drug crimes and many offenses like public intoxication are not included in these calculations because they do not reflect the average person’s risk of being a crime victim.
The information on Salt Lake City crime below comes from the 2019 FBI Uniform Crime Statistics.
Crime in Salt Lake City vs Utah & National Average
Because crime rates are calculated per 100,000 residents, you can easily compare crime in one city to the next. It’s helpful to compare crime in Salt Lake City to the Utah average and the national average.
The national crime rate is:
- 2,580 total crimes per 100k people
- 2,362 property crimes per 100k people
- 382 violent crimes per 100k people
The state of Utah has a crime rate below the national average at 2,405 crimes per 100,000 residents. There is a 1 in 42 chance of being a victim of crime in Utah. The Utah violent crime rate is 236 crimes/100k people and the Utah property crime rate is 2,169 crimes/100k.
How does Salt Lake City crime compare?
The Salt Lake City crime rate is:
- 6,907 crimes per 100,000 people. That’s more than double the national and Utah average.
- You have a 1 in 14 chance of being the victim of crime in Salt Lake City.
There are many factors likely contributing to crime in Salt Lake City. Aside from the coronavirus pandemic which caused crime rates to spike sharply in the city in 2020, Salt Lake City has a large homeless population. Utah has a high level of income inequality as well.
Drug abuse is likely a major factor influencing crime in the city. Utah has one of the country’s highest rates of prescription drug abuse. Pill-related deaths in Utah have climbed 400% in a decade. Salt Lake City also has a problem with increasing incidents involving amphetamines and heroin. Drug abuse, homelessness, and crime have a complex but interwoven relationship.
Violent Crime in Salt Lake City, UT
The Salt Lake City violent crime rate is 730 violent crimes per 100k people. You have a 1 in 137 chance of being the victim of violent crime in SLC. The Salt Lake City murder rate is 4.9 per 100k people. That’s very slightly under the national average.
There were 1,480 violent crimes reported in Salt Lake City including:
811 aggravated assaults (204 family aggravated assaults)
10 murders and non-negligent manslaughter
Between 2019 and 2020, Salt Lake City police reported violent crime was up 21%. However, the coronavirus pandemic has likely played a big role in rising crime in Salt Lake, a trend that was seen across the United States.
District 5 in Salt Lake City was one of the hardest hit by rising crime in 2020. This district includes Central Ninth, East Liberty Park, the Ballpark, and Liberty Wells. In the district, homicides increased 150%, aggravated assault was up 79%, and car theft was up 63%.
The department released a new crime control plan in January 2021 with a goal of reducing crime by 10%. The plan includes coordination with U.S. attorneys and U.S. Marshals to locate high risk and top-tier offenders with outstanding warrants in Salt Lake City. Specifically, police will work with federal authorities to target firearms offenders with federal firearms charges.
In 2020, 79% of the 103 homicides in Utah were shooting deaths. This was a single-year record for homicides in the state and broke the previous record of 90 from 2016.
Property Crime in Salt Lake City
Most Salt Lake City crime is categorized as property crime. The property crime rate in Salt Lake City is 6,177 property crimes per 100k people. You have a 1 in 16 chance of being the victim of property crime in the city.
Between 2019 and 2020, property crime increased 24% in Salt Lake City. Motor vehicle theft increased 63% in 2020.
There were 12,516 reported property crimes in Salt Lake City in 2019. This included:
- 9,422 larceny/thefts
- 1,601 burglaries
- 1,493 motor vehicle thefts
- 32 arsons
A recent WalletHub study for first-time home buyers found Salt Lake City had one of the highest property crime rates among mid-sized cities.
No one wants to be a victim of property crime, but this high rate of theft does not mean Salt Lake City is dangerous. Quite the opposite: Salt Lake is a safe city in most regards!
Bad Areas of Salt Lake City
While Salt Lake City has a high crime rate, crime is usually condensed in just a few small areas. The further east you go, the most expensive neighborhoods become and the lower the crime rates tend to go. As a general rule, east of I-15 is the safest area of Salt Lake City.
One of the areas of Salt Lake City to avoid is the Rio Grande district. This neighborhood has become notorious as the epicenter of drug crimes in Salt Lake. In 2017, the city launched Operation Rio Grande in an attempt to fight crime in this area. The neighborhood has a high homeless population around the shuttered Road Home shelter on Rio Grande Street.
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Sadly, crime and homeless camps are often found in some of Salt Lake City’s largest parks. The two most notorious are Taufer Park along 700 South, home to one of the largest homeless camps in Salt Lake City, and Pioneer Park in downtown, known for homeless camps and drug dealing. In 2011, police responded to over 1,000 incidents at Pioneer Park which is close to several homeless shelters.
The Ballpark neighborhood south of downtown also has a bad reputation with crime that increased 63% from 2019 to 2020.
Safest Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City
Looking for a safe place to live in Salt Lake City? Fortunately, most areas of Salt Lake are actually quite safe and most residents feel comfortable walking around the city at night. However, the following are the top places to live in Salt Lake known for their low crime rates.
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- Yalecrest is one of the best Salt Lake City neighborhoods for families with a crime rate 68% lower than the Salt Lake average. There are nearby playgrounds, a nature park, and Uintah School, one of the state’s best elementary schools. Yalecrest is an affluent neighborhood known for its historic English Cottage and Tudor homes.
- Bonneville Hills has 68% less crime than Salt Lake City overall. This neighborhood feels like the suburbs and it’s perfect for people who like to stay active with the Bonneville Golf Course and nearby parks.
- Sugar House is the safest Salt Lake City neighborhood for its size. More than 31,000 people live in Sugar House with a crime rate 22% below the SLC average. It’s one of Salt Lake’s oldest neighborhoods and one of the trendiest places to live with great walkability, boutique-packed streets, cocktail bars, clubs, and restaurants all within reach.
You can use this Salt Lake City crime map to help you choose a safe place to live in the city.
Salt Lake City Safety Tips – How to Avoid Crime in Salt Lake City
- Be aware of your surroundings when walking around downtown Salt Lake City or cutting through parks at night, especially near nightlife.
- Avoid Pioneer Park and Taufer Park at night. These parks are known for drugs and homeless encampments.
- High-crime areas of Salt Lake City include the Ballpark and Rio Grande.
- Salt Lake City has a high rate of burglary, theft, and car theft. Lock your windows and doors.
Salt Lake City Police Department
- Chief of Police: Mike Brown
- Sworn officers: 503 (144 civilian personnel)
- Non-emergency number: (801) 799-3000
- Address: Salt Lake City Police Department, 475 S 300 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
The SLCPD is headquartered downtown at the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building shared with the Salt Lake City Fire Department. The Salt Lake City Police Department was founded in 1851 and today has an annual budget of $70.9 million used to serve a population of 200,000.
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SLCPD adopts community-oriented policing, an approach to policing that focuses on building relationships with community members to reduce crime. Officers patrol the same areas over a period of time and typically live in or near the neighborhood in which they patrol to create a partnership with local residents. There are seven city council districts in SLC, each assigned its own detective. Community Intelligence Unit officers attend council meetings in their district and work with business owners and residents.
In 2020, the Salt Lake City Police Department became fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Only 4% of U.S. law enforcement agencies are accredited.
Salt Lake City Crime Rate FAQ
Is Salt Lake City safe?
SLC is usually safe aside from a few areas you can easily avoid. Most crime involves theft and drug offenses isolated to a handful of areas in the city center and to the west.
What is the crime rate in Salt Lake City, Utah?
The Salt Lake City crime rate is 6,907 crimes/100,000 people with a 1 in 14 chance of being the victim of crime.
What are the bad areas of Salt Lake City?
The bad areas of SLC are easy to avoid and include the Rio Grande district, the Ballpark neighborhood, and two city parks: Taufer Park and Pioneer Park.
Don’t be turned off by the high crime rate of Salt Lake City. Residents will tell you crime is easy to avoid by choosing a good Salt Lake neighborhood and avoiding a handful of trouble spots. Are you ready to settle into life in SLC? Give our Salt Lake City movers at Wasatch Moving Company a call for a free moving estimate and the help you need!