Just how bad is the crime in Las Vegas? No one knows for sure. Reclassifications, shifting populations and other factors muddy the waters on statistics.
The only thing city agencies can agree on is violent crime in Sin City is getting worse.
The 1960-2016 figures cover crime categories including :
The latest figures are available in both Excel and PDF formats from Wooldridge Law the premier criminal defense firm in Las Vegas.
A 2013 report in USAToday shows Nevada as the 2nd worst in the country for its robbery rate, motor-vehicle theft rate, and aggravated assault rate.
Nevada slides down with the darkest in the nation for its robbery, vehicle theft, and aggravated assault rates. It also places high in segments like housebreakings and rape. A good deal of the law-breaking, state officials insist, derives from the hordes of travelers who travel to Las Vegas, Reno and other municipalities with gambling and similar entertainment. Portion out the gambling business in Reno, and crime measures are analogous to the remainder of the country, Emmanuel Barthe, a criminal justice professor at the University of Nevada, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. Nevada routinely sees the lowest high school and college graduation levels.
Because of a change in classification, robbery is no longer considered a ‘crime against persons,’ and the latest figures are skewed.
The last time Las Vegas released the city’s Metro Police Department’s violent crime statistics was in January 2017. The last time the department’s figures came under a withering attack was, well just this past week.
A report released in March 2018 by the Nevada Policy Research Institute revealed the department began to categorize robberies differently. That change affected the violent crime rate released annually to the public.
The change was easy to overlook for anyone not paying attention. The MPD formerly classified robberies as ‘crimes against persons’ — also noted as violent crimes — in its annual reports. The agency then began sorting robberies as property crimes.
“Before the change, the city adhered to FBI benchmarks,” said Daniel Honchariw, an analyst for the institute.
Robbery has been defined as theft of property by force, violence or fear — a violent crime — since the 1930s.
A Metro captain, Christopher Darcy, pushed back. “We are about as transparent as a police department can be,” he said.
The Uniform Crime Reporting program’s violent crime category — as distributed by the FBI — includes murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. Under Nevada law, robbery is a violent crime as well.
The classification change, which no one from the city has explained, lowered the violent crime rate and increased property crime rates in the city’s annual violent crime statistics.
Darcy pointed to the fact the department has seen a spike in violent crimes, so there was no need to manipulate the figures. “There’s no sinister plot to change that data,” he said.