Recent Robberies Undermine Utopian Façade

st. george utah
City Scape by Philip Hone Williams,

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Dallas Hyland is a developing columnist for St. George News and blogs as The Amateur Broad Thinker. The opinions stated in this article are solely his own and not those of St. George News.

This past Thursday, the fourth in a string of pharmacy hold ups happened at Smith’s on Bluff Street in St. George. Additionally, there was a hold up that same day at Wells Fargo Bank on Brigham Road.

While St. George’s finest are doing diligence investigating these crimes, and possible correlations notwithstanding, should we not be asking a few questions ourselves?

Putting forth the obvious disclaimer that there is no excuse for these despicable acts of cowardice, it might be beneficial to ask ourselves if there is not more of these types of incidents on the horizon, and why.

There is, in my opinion, an underlying push in this city to maintain a certain air of utopian virtue at seemingly all costs. A strong police presence by a very well funded and maintained force gives a sense of security. No doubt those in uniform do their utmost to make it so, but what of things outside of its sphere of influence?

The economic downturn has hit this city notably hard in areas where other parts of the country are beginning to see recovery and, by comparison of ratio to population, that makes sense. But it seems St. George possesses an unusually high rate of crimes, on a level, which one would expect to find in a much larger and more populated city.

Desperate people do desperate things and while, as I have said before, there is no excuse for stealing, there may be a reason that is a little closer to home for all of us than that of a desperate junkie stealing pain medication.

The local economy is built primarily on service industry product: retail stores, restaurants, car dealerships, beauty salons, mortgage companies – did I say restaurants? These are all industries in which the only real sustainable meaningful jobs are in the top percentile of the industry, while the bulk of the population is left to fend for themselves with minimum wage jobs.

We are enticed every so often with the notion that economic growth is the main priority of such projects as the new airport and the water pipeline; but close examination of these already passed and currently proposed ventures reveals at the least the semblance of them being just land deals that make that earlier mentioned top percentile a windfall profit, while the rest of the community is struggling to survive on below poverty level pay.

This community is the backbone of this city without which not one of these top percentile earners could survive. Yet, shamelessly and almost flagrantly, much like our federal government, they patronize us with notions of family values and patriotism banking on us falling into line and sucking up these tough times “together.”

I don’t know about the rest of my fellow once-middle class peers, but I see a lot of foolish behavior on the part of our elected officials going unchecked and increasingly uninhibited and it worries me.

You see, I don’t know what was going through the minds of the people who committed these robberies, but I would wager it was premised in some desperation – and I am beginning to understand desperation. I am beginning to see the possibility that if our elected officials stay on course, making flagrantly foolish decisions dictated to them by corporate greed, we are going to see much more of these kinds of acts.

(It is a contention of some in this country that our elected officials are run by lobbyists who do the bidding of large corporations and I am suggesting that this problem trickles all the way down to even local municipalities. A recent example was the paper mill and its relation to the Lake Powel pipeline; taxpayers will foot the bill for the pipeline, but businesses may get a free ride on it.)

It may be because people are starting to ask themselves, if my government cannot act justly, then why should I?

At what point would we say that the events of the last few weeks could be considered something of an epidemic indicative of a serious, underlying problem? How much crime of like nature in this city goes unreported for the namesake of keeping up a utopian appearance? And, can we say we can expect it to get worse before it gets better?

I have questions. So should you.

See you out there.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.

. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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  • Kellie Mzik August 23, 2011 at 10:54 am

    The recent events are just the most current and overt signs that the S. UT “Utopia” is just what you said, a facade. It alwasy has been, but the culture there is heavily vested in maintaining the false sense of peace. Check Snow Canyon High School. The corruption runs quite deep. Check the local newspaper, where the negative has, for years, been downplayed or even ignored.
    Business as usual in S. Utah.

  • Ron August 23, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I 100% agree with this report, and by the way, great story Dallas. I have been saying the same thing since the first pharmacy robbery occured. I believe that it is and will continue to get worse before it gets any better. As to the underlyhing cause reported in the story, there may be some validity to it and, yes it should cause the community some concern. I would hate to see it come to the point of “vigilantism” by the citizenry of our community. It is a sad commentary when this may be cause by the “top percentile” of this area…but I do recognize it for what the reporter is claiming. It truelly shows the times we are living in.

  • Cassie Watters August 23, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I absolutely agree when you say that “the events of the last few weeks could be considered something of an epidemic indicative of a serious, underlying problem? How much crime of like nature in this city goes unreported for the namesake of keeping up a utopian appearance? ” I have thought that way for years about this city. Its like this city never will admit we have a huge drug problem. And it is just getting worse. Being a recovering drug addict myself and seen the underground here. Watching the addicts get younger and younger with harder and harder drugs makes me sick. The city would rather have high tourism than help their own kids. It makes me sick.

  • Angela August 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    What a GREAT commentary! And one, might I add, that I agree wholeheartedly with! This town is all about putting on a face, and there’s no real help for those who truly need it…whether that be the addict who is willing to do anything to get the next fix or the unemployed who desperately wants a job to feed their family. Thanks for airing the dirty laundry that is so obvious if one only takes their head out of the sand and opens their eyes…but, then again, that would require people to admit their beloved town isn’t the utopia they claim it is!

    • tyler August 24, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      Exquisite! couldn’t say it better!

  • Fred August 23, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I came from Maryland and the crime in Baltimore is unbelievable compared to Saint George.

    Everyday there are shootings, stabbings, rapes and armed robberies in downtown Baltimore. Be grateful you live in this beautiful area.

  • Not a Mormon August 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Excellent article!

    This isn’t Mayberry RFD. Not everyone is a white mormon. St George has real world demographics and real world problems. There is no fixing it or going back to anything – only stemming the tide. The people must adapt and give up this farcical notion of living in a bubble. Life in reality isn’t that bad if you aren’t afraid to confront it and make your own way, rather than cower behind “authority” and “bishops” to solve your problems for you. Stand up and take back your own town, people! Join the rest of the real world and the United States. You may believe some ridiculous things that don’t stand up to rational scrutiny, Utahns, but you have the potential to put that aside and actually think about things on your own.

    Very well written. Down with the good old boys, down with heads in the sand, down with a theocratic state.

    • Roskez August 24, 2011 at 1:36 am

      Why do you have to bring the Mormons into this. Maybe you should reference the Baptists or Catholics instead. Does that make the same point? Nope I don’t think so. Stop moving the target and call it for what it is; crime is crime and doesn’t have a religion preference.

      • tyler August 24, 2011 at 10:33 pm

        True, but instead of playing victim and being offended, open your mind and see it’s not an attack. The truth, which everybody knows is this area is labeled many things, it’s nothing new, just take opinions, truths and criticisms and view it from outside perspective. that’s what’s wrong with people like you, quick to judge and can’t take the mildest criticism.

  • tyler August 24, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    This is a good story, no doubt, but at the same time, a little extreme. One example being the statement along the lines of a lot of crime you’d more expect in a bigger city, rather than here. Think about some things: this is officially an urbanized area and has been for several years, by no means is it a large urban area, infact it’s almost the smallest classification of an”urban” area. But really, if graffiti reports are still headlines and people’s names AND addresses are still printed in local papers, then it really is no wonder why two (2) robberies in one day is considered a full-out crime wave, while going to show just how small we still are. The crime here is like the traffic here-very light, in comparison to not just any larger city, but even other areas our size. I was impresses when we had 4 homicides within 2 months last Winter. Reality is, our crime rate is quite low-even considering our population, oh yea, and we don’t have bad traffic-yet.

  • tyler August 24, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    On another note, I have to thank you for putting the issue of hiding crime to keep some fantasy image on blast-AMEN!! STG is more the real world than it ever has been before, and it’s time for citizens to know it’s anything but innocent and a place where you can still leave doors unlocked!

  • tyler August 24, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    People not in denial or delusional know this town has the worst drug problem per capita. It was once coined the “meth capital of Utah”, as of late however, heroin is taking that place. This place has no medium-just extremes. Bluntly, if it’s not a self-riteous, brainwashed, in denial religious pinhead, it’s a complete fried brained druggee or full blown alcoholic. Besides increased crime, growth and diversity was and will be the BEST thing ever to have happened to St George. (sorry, not trying to multi post, i just keep coming up with things to say lol)

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