Ask a Cop – February 2012


Illustration: Sean Hennefer

Querido Puerco,
I recently moved to the west side of town ‘cause I got a nice two bedroom casa for the same price as a mierda apartment on ninth east. Before I was broke, though, I’d never really ventured west of the Gateway because everyone told me it was a place of mala muerte y malandros. Honestly, there seemed to be more cabrónes and indegentes in my eastside neighborhood than my new barrio. I’ve heard there’s a lot of gang activity in this area, though, and wondered if there are any señales of gang territory or drug activity that I can look for. For example, there’s a power line next to my house that has dos garbage bags tied next to each other, does that mean anything? What about when people hang zapatos on power lines? I heard that means there’s somewhere to get drogas nearby. Or maybe it’s just a bunch of pendejos having fun. At any rate, I’d like to avoid walking into un putazo for wearing the wrong colors, so if you could help out a sexy mamacita, I can direct you to where you can get una top-notch mamada on the corner of North Temple and Ninth West.
Besos, Mamá

Mala muerte? Wow! I thought that went out in the middle ages. And to think, right here, just west of the Gateway mall.

Honestly chica, I don’t care where you go in the valle de Salt Lake, you’re going to find signs of gang activity. From the East Side, south to Draper, even South Jordan, you’ll find gangsters in all these places. Many of the worst gang crimes you hear about now occur in small- town USA. From my experiencia, the ratas del ghetto move to these areas due to heavy police aplicación and presence in the ciudades principales. It’s much easier for them to get away with their chanchullos in
small towns.

However, cops can adapt, too. The FBI Safe Streets gang team can go anywhere, anytime, and promote a huge police anti-gang presence. So, it doesn’t really matter where the vatos go.
I’ve been asked numerous times about the shoes hanging from the wire thingy. I think it was in a movie once. I’ve never known it to be any kind of señal, symbol, marker, or indicator of gang presence. I know many gangsters and wannabes, and they don’t claim it or know what it means either. An alley-boy cholo in Glendale once told me that he beat up a kid, tied his shoes together and threw them over a telephone wire, but it wasn’t a gangster thing, it was a pendejo pick-on-a-little-kid-thing.

The garbage bag thing is just like the stand at the dog park with plastic bags. Except, by the Gateway, it’s for humans to use. It’s not the gang presencia by the Gateway that should concern you. It’s some bum and his meados and mierda. And, he doesn’t care if he goes on your shoes, car or house. I think the SLCPD and Gateway Mall have all but given up enforcing any kind of civility down there. I’ve seen gangsters eating at the Gateway throw away their trash, but watched bums piss on the side of someone’s mall shop.

Understand, I’m not talking about the homeless using the shelters. I’m talking about the street trash begging for money and using the Gateway as their bathroom. I wish the FBI would start Clean Streets bum enforcement.

And, I appreciate your offer, but anyone hangin’ on 900 West and North Temple will not be among my choices to dar una soplada on my verga.