"Cruisers" are driving people crazy in parts of Salt Lake City.
City Councilwoman Nancy Pace said the problem particularly is bad in neighborhoods around Memory Grove, to the east of the State Capitol. There, cruisers drive slowly on weekends, looking for sex. They often steer their cars into the driveways of houses in an effort to turn around."It isn't just in Memory Grove," Pace said. "That just happens to be in my district. There are a number of places where this is a problem."
Pace and the rest of the City Council have asked the city attorney to study the possibility of passing an anti-cruising ordinance. Pace envisions something that would allow police to ticket anyone driving past the same point more than twice within a certain time.
Police Lt. Marty Vuyk said Memory Grove emerges every spring as a center for vice. Of the 60 arrests Salt Lake police made for obscene conduct between August 1990 and February 1991, 30 of them were made in Memory Grove, he said.
"The cruising we're talking about is primarily people trying to make pickups," Vuyk said, noting most of the people seem to be homosexuals. "We find little cruising involving people trying to pick up members of the opposite sex.
Vuyk said an anti-cruising ordinance may be difficult to enforce. "Someone would have to stay in one location and monitor the people coming in and out," he said. "That's not an easy thing by any stretch of the imagination."
Other solutions may be more effective, such as getting city parks crews to clear shrubbery in the park. The idea is that people won't do obscene things in places where everyone can see. A similar strategy has been effective in Sugarhouse Park.
Vuyk said police are conducting a survey of area residents to see what the problem is and what can be done about it. "If we can pull all the city's resources together, we can minimize many problems citizens are having," he said.
Pace said the cruisers are intruding on a public park, one that local residents want to preserve for all to enjoy.
"We want people to use the park, but to just drive in and out over and over again is an abuse," she said.