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West Valley City Journal

Major crime dipped in West Valley City in 2020

Nov 02, 2021 12:42PM ● By Darrell Kirby

The West Valley City Police Department reported a slight decrease in violent crime in 2020 compared to 2019. (File photo, Darrell Kirby/City Journals)

By Darrell Kirby | [email protected]

Bucking a national trend, West Valley City saw a decrease in reported violent crimes in 2020 from the previous year. 

The Utah Department of Public Safety released its 2020 Crime in Utah Report, a compilation of crime statistics reported to the FBI by most law enforcement agencies in the state for last year. 

West Valley City, with a population of 136,000, the second highest of Utah cities, recorded a slight drop in violent crimes that include homicide, rape, aggravated assault and robbery, which are among those referred to as “index crimes” by the FBI. 

Six homicides, 79 rapes, 519 aggravated assaults and 96 robberies were reported in 2020. 

In 2019, the West Valley City Police Department logged 11 murders, 112 rapes, 654 aggravated assaults and 136 robberies. 

In all, 5,198 index crimes were reported for a crime rate of 38.25 per 1,000 people in West Valley City in 2020, a slight dip of 1.1% from 5,256 or 38.29 the previous year.  

By comparison, South Salt Lake, with a population of 26,000, had a 2020 violent crime rate of 100.91 per 1,000 residents in 2020, including five homicides. Salt Lake City, with 200,000 people, had a crime rate last year of 82.21 per 1,000 residents. 

“In spite of what people say about the west side having more crime, it’s not borne out by the statistics,” Mayor Ron Bigelow told the West Valley City Journal in April. 

Most West Valley City violent crime perpetrators and victims were in the age range of 20 to 29. The overwhelming majority of violent crimes occurred at residences. Most violent offenses were committed by people not known by the victims. Incidents between boyfriends and girlfriends followed close behind on the list of categories of the victim’s relationship to the offender.

Other statewide statistics from the Crime in Utah report: 

  • In 2020, 79,077 index crimes were committed, which indicates a 5.69% increase in the overall number of index crimes from 2019.
  • The overall number of violent crimes increased 1.04%. Violent crime changes were as follows: homicides increased by 44.16%, robberies increased by 5.78%, and aggravated assaults increased by 2.70%.
  • Though homicides increased in Utah, the rate of homicides per 100,000 (3.1%) was less than half of the national rate (6.5%).
  • Firearms were used in 66.67% of the homicides reported.
  • 15.04% of the homicides reported involved family relationships, while 84.96% did not.
  • Reported hate crimes increased from 45 in 2019 to 46 in 2020 a 2.22% increase.
  • Rapes were the only violent crime against persons that decreased in 2020, with a decrease of 10.06%.

The report did not address if the COVID-19 pandemic or other social issues in 2020 had any impact on crime statistics last year. 

“Despite the numbers we reported…Utah remains a very safe state. The Utah Department of Public Safety is committed to keeping Utah safe by using every tool at our disposal,” Commissioner Jess Anderson wrote in the report.