Business owners in downtown Salt Lake City react to ‘Operation Rio Grande’

SALT LAKE CITY — Businesses around the Rio Grande area of downtown Salt Lake City say they’ve noticed a huge difference in just the few days since “Operation Rio Grande” began.

Keith Squires, Commissioner for the Utah Department of Public Safety, said in a press conference Thursday afternoon that they’ve made 229 physical custody arrests.

He said many of those are arrests for felonies, warrants and drug charges.

Chief Mike Brown of Salt Lake City Police says he’s been visiting area businesses, who say business is up and complaints are down.

Byron Loveall, owner of the Rio Grande Cafe, said his business has been up by 30 percent this week.

“Our city has responded, our law enforcement has responded, and we are showing compassion to those on the street who don’t have what they need to get better with their lives,” he said.

Officials say that on Friday the focus will be on Phase 2 of the operation, which is an increase in service providers for treatment and job training.

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