Mean Streets of Salt Lake

At work today three cops walked in. I asked if they were in for coffee or if something had happened. The lead man replied they were looking for someone with teal glasses and a brown beanie. I paused and noticed his entourage was smiling. I pointed to my beanie and said: this is yellow. We all laughed. 

It was a reasonable question because it's the first time in 7 months of working there I've seen a police officer. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to live in a police state. You'd think a cop would come in for coffee or food every once in awhile. We have decaf espresso. Since #operationRioGrande dispersed the Pioneer Park population, an influx of drug addicts and people in need of mental health services has saturated the neighborhood. Also a reasonable question because in the last month or so these two things happened, one around the corner from the shop and the other shut down the whole city. I was at work when I heard about the shooting and noticed he was still at large. I also live a direct shot between the U and Main Library, where he was apprehended the following afternoon thanks to a librarian. Turned out he went through the Aves, but it was all a big mystery while it was happening. At least 8 agencies, including the FBI, were on it. It was nuts. 

I joked that I've experienced more crime here in Salt Lake than in New York City. We talked about how the feeling of safety is different here versus there. 

Upon further reflection, it's possible I did experience more crime in New York. 

1. The time the dude bodychecked me on 8th Ave near Penn Station when I was meeting a second date for dinner before going to hear Dark Sisters. (Ironically, an opera about polygamist family) When I arrived at the restaurant and told my date what had happened and that I felt rattled, he said to me: It's not what happens to you, but how you deal with it. Totally agree, but don't ever say that to someone who has experienced a trauma, especially as recently as the last half hour. 

2. The time I was walking home to my apartment in Queens and a strange dude, who was out of place, followed me up the street at 2 in the afternoon. He had just been hanging out, leaning against a chainlink fence when I turned the corner. It seemed like he was on something. I was trying to locate my keys buried in the bottom of my bag the rest of the way up the block. When I got to my front door keys in hand, I turned to look.  There he was on the sidewalk on the end of the walkway to my door staring me down like a wild animal ready to attack. He was definitely on something. I'll never forget the sight. It was horrifying, something out of a zombie movie. I don't know how he ended up on 71st street and 41st avenue. Or why. I'm glad I got away safely. 

3. The time I lost my wallet. Must have dropped it between the bodega and my apartment in PLG. That someone who picked it up bought a $1500 plane ticket to the DR and went on a shopping spree around Union Square. That was the same incident where months later my social security card, license, and health insurance card arrived in the mail via a good samaritan who works for the railroad and my former roommate in Queens.

4. The time I lost my wallet again within a month of the aforementioned loss. Switched trains at Union Square after the OHNY party in Meatpacking, and it was just gone. That was embarrassing. It was the second time in a month John Fontillas paid $30 on behalf of H3 to get me to work. 

5. The time I was walking home from Prospect Park stop and the trio of men called me Snow White among other names. Catcalling isn't a crime. It is harrassment. Thankful the #postWeinsteinEra has finally arrived.

6. The time I served Jury Duty in Kings County. We watched the video of the double homicide shooting over and over and over again. Even in slow motion. Deliberated for 3 exhausting days. 

In Salt Lake, crime and anything underworld really is hidden. Car break-ins are what I've heard about mostly. My direct experience has been:

1. Someone was hanging out in my car in the middle of the night after I left it unlocked. Thank goodness that person vacated by the time I was getting in my car at 5:30am

2. Watched people getting arrested at different locations around the city

3.  Watched a drug deal go down in parking lot under bright lights

4. First Encampment defensive stabber live news report 5 days after crime (link above)

5. The crazy lockdown manhunt murderer with a multi-state rap sheet (link above)

One of the things I noticed about Salt Lake shortly after I moved here: I rarely see cops. It's sort of nice, but a palpable vibe that nothing is happening and everything is fine. #Utah Perhaps this is why they popped in today. They were canvassing the neighborhood talking to people. Establishing a presence. I tip my hat to that. Take back the streets action. As much as I don't want to live in a police state, it makes sense that a police officer is part of the community they are patrolling. Cheers to Chief Brown for being awesome.