PARK CITY—In this tourist town where the resort economy is powered by immigrant labor, the vast majority of crime is committed by Anglos. Yet to the surprise and dismay of some, the police department’s “10 Most Wanted” list is comprised wholly of Latinos.
Police Chief Lloyd Evans said the list posted on Park City’s Web site was compiled using criteria that emphasize violent crime, felony drug distribution and arrest warrants for those who failed to make court appearances.
He recognizes, however, that critics could construe the list as racially biased—a claim he disputes.
“This is not a race issue. This is a safety issue,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if they are green or red or white. They are violent criminals.”
But Laura Grimaldo, a Park City-based social worker, sees the 10 Most Wanted as a step backward for the Latino community whose members seek the American dream along with everyone else in Utah’s premier resort destination.
“This is a huge bang on the head to Latinos who are working hard and trying to do good things,” said Grimaldo, herself an immigrant. “To me, this looks like profiling. The Latino community is very concerned.”
The 10 Most Wanted criminal list is frightening to both the Anglo and Latino segments of the town, she said.
“Now people are thinking it’s the Mexicans [who] commit all the crimes,” she said.
At the same time, the Latino population will see the list as a crackdown on immigrants, causing law-abiding workers to avoid police rather than cooperate with them, she said.
“People are worried. We already have a bad rep,” she said referring to immigrants. “The police have to understand that when they do this, it is not working in the Latino community.”