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Utah News

Burgess Owens Falsely Claims Salt Lake ‘Defunded’ Police by $5 Million And Murders Went Up 40%

On Fox News Monday, Rep. Burgess Owens falsely claimed that Salt Lake City “defunded” its police department by $5 million, and connected that to an increase in murders.According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake did make an adjustment to its budget last year, but the department was not “defunded,” as Owens claimed. About $2.5 million went toward funding for social workers and another $2.8 million went into a holding account, but it was never removed from the police budget. That being said, the department’s $79.1 million budget was only down $3 million compared to the year before. 

 

It’s unclear where Owens got the 40% increase in murder rate figure. During the year from April 2020 until last month, there were 16 homicides, according to Salt Lake City Police data. The year before that, there were 12 homicides, which is an increase of 33%. But, that’s only four additional deaths in a city of about 200,000 people. A Salt Lake City Police spokesperson said it would be “very difficult to say if the budget restructuring is the cause of whatever increase there may have been.”