Over the past few weeks, the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force has been involved in the recovery of several hundred thousand dollars' worth of stolen property.

Most of these items were stolen from homeowners and businesses in Utah County. Literally hundreds of crime victims have come to our office to identify their stolen items from the burglaries committed over the past year. Many of these victims did not realize what and who the Major Crimes Task Force was. It is my intent to enlighten the fine people of Utah County of our efforts in this forum.In July 1997, the former Narcotic Enforcement Team (NET) and the Utah County Gang Project merged to form the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force. We had noticed for some time that those involved in the narcotic trade were also sometimes participating in criminal street gang activity. Many times those who used narcotics used items that they had stolen from law-abiding citizens for payment of those narcotics. We also knew that construction site burglaries could be attributed to gang members and those addicted to illegal drugs. It was in the best interest of all taxpayers in Utah County to combine our efforts and target the illegal sale and use of narcotics, criminal street gangs and their activity as well as people committing illegal activities of a serial nature.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Major Crimes Task Force is the use of federal grant money, which provides 75 percent of our operating budget.

We at the Major Crimes Task Force appreciate your support and comments over the year, and we truly look forward to serving you in the years to come.

Patty Long

Community coordinator

Utah County Major Crimes Task Force