As many of you know, the Gateway Inn on 819 W. North Temple has become a center of criminal activity in our neighborhood. An article in the West View community newspaper last Fall pointed out there is a strong disparity in the number of police calls coming from the Gateway Inn and its neighbors at the All Star and Econolodge. In the first 10 months of 2017, 750 calls were made regarding the Gateway compared to 250 at the Econolodge and 150 at the All Star.
Many serious crimes were reported at the Gateway including a murder last August. There have been multiple violent episodes there like 10 large fights, many drug calls and numerous calls involving guns or knives. Another murder happened in November.
The Fairpark Community Council is deeply concerned about the criminal activity taking place at the Gateway Inn. In speaking with police and community leaders, we have found the following to be true.
- People loitering outside the facility act as lookouts for the criminal activity taking place inside. They also deal drugs and facilitate prostitution.
- Police have complained Gateway employees tip off residents when SLCPD responds to that location.
- The current status of the Gateway Inn is an impediment to growth and improvement in our area.
- Police, the Mayor and our City Council are aware of the problems.
- At our January meeting, Detective Oliver shared a recent sweep arrested 45 people. All but two were released within 24 hours. The Health Department also went in and closed 14 rooms. All but two were reopened within a day. The owner went to the City and offered to sell the property for $8 million. This is a $1.5 million increase from the last time he offered. It’s a $6.5 million increase from two years ago.
- A study by West Side Studio last year suggested a city ordinance that limited stays in such establishments to no more than 30 days could help alleviate the problem. Given the hugely disproportionate amount of police calls to the Gateway Inn, it has been suggested their management help pay for police costs and additional security. Detective Oliver recommends any security hired by the Gateway be SLCPD. A City ordinance would need to be enacted for this to happen.
- What can residents do?
Report every criminal incident in the area no matter how minor. Use the SLC app or call the non-emergency number 801-799-3000.
Ask the City Council and the Mayor for the suggested ordinances in paragraph 6.
Ask the City Council and Mayor for increased police patrols in the area.
- The Community Council has spoken directly with the Mayor, our Council representatives, House Speaker Hughes, SLCPD, UHP Commissioner Squires and management of the Pioneer Park Coalition about this problem. Scott Howell from PPC spoke at our December meeting and Commissioner Squires will speak at our February meeting. Police action is taking place but the justice system moves slowly and everyone gets the due process of law.
The Gateway Inn is the largest source of criminal activity in our neighborhood. Drugs are being made and sold, women are being exploited and people are dying. It’s far past time to make a stand for our Fairpark neighborhood.