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Mayor Becker criticized for plan to deal with drug-ridden area of SLC

Mayor Becker criticized for plan to deal with drug-ridden area of SLC

(KUTV) The growing crime rate and violence in the area surrounding S. Rio Grande Street in Salt Lake City has been a hot topic in the race for Salt Lake City Mayor.

Current Mayor, Ralph Becker unveiled his action plan to deal with the issue at a news conference Tuesday. He announced that more cops and eight social workers would be allocated to the area.

Not everyone thought his plan was the best way to address the issue.

RELATED: More law enforcement, social services coming to troubled Rio Grande area

"I don't see it as a serious gesture, I see it as an election year," said mayoral candidate Luke Garrott. "He's trying to make an impact in a situation that's gotten worse over the last eight years."

Community activist, George Chapman is also running for mayor. He says he's been pushing Mayor Becker to make a move on the Rio Grande area for years. "We waited for seven years to have the drug problem addressed in Salt Lake City," he said. "This is the biggest drug trade market in the western United States."

Both Chapman and Luke Garrott agree the city needs to hire more police officers to deal with the growing drug problem in the area.

"We can't use the same amount of resources and move them around, because people in other neighborhoods are going to be complaining," said Garrott.

Another candidate, Dave Robinson says the way to solve the problem is from a mental health standpoint. "We need to know these people on an individual basis. We need to have them diagnosed," said Robinson.

Jackie Biskupski called the problem "complicated" and is calling for a strategic plan that goes beyond re-allocation of city resources. "We have to become more strategic and really get thoughful about how we get to the heart of this problem," she said.

All five candidates were part of a debate Tuesday night at Westminster College. It's the last major scheduled mayoral debate for the candidates before the primary elections in August.

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