Releasing gang members and other prisoners from California jails has created a problem for Las Vegas as it appears that these gangbangers and other common criminals are now moving into there to set up shop. This has also resulted in a rise in violent crimes in Las Vegas and adjacent neighborhoods.
Metro chief Joe Lombardo stated recently that one of the reasons why Las Vegas has seen a surge in crime is due to the influx of prisoners released from the prison system in California. He also said that soon after proposition 47, a California ballot initiative turned into law in 2014, there has been a steady increase in crime in the valley.
The California proposition allowed for some felony drug possession sentences to be decreased to misdemeanors, thus reducing the sentence of many inmates. Further, the proposition also made cases that involved petty theft, writing bad checks or receiving stolen property to be sentenced as misdemeanors. Only inmates with violent criminal background were not eligible for this lowering of sentence.
Data gathered by the Los Angeles Times reveals that the state jail population dropped by about 12% and the prison population by about 4% after the first year of proposition 47. Statewide this has resulted in 9.500 fewer jail inmates and about 4,500 prison inmates as reported by the LA Times.
Correspondingly in Southern Nevada violent crimes have climbed to nearly 22% this year alone and there has also been a significant increase in the number of homicides this year. Investigations also reveal a higher rate of robberies, sexual assaults and assault with deadly weapons.
“There are a number of things that anecdotally you’d have to look at, as far as what causes some of the crime rate increases,” said Kevin McMahill, Las Vegas metro undersheriff. “I think some of this Proposition 47 stuff where they released a significant number of people in California is part of it. We have seen a significant increase in the number of folks we contact in our gang area who come from California.”
To combat this increase in crime, Las Vegas police now have plainclothes detectives on patrol at all times. So far this strategy has proven to be very effective in combating crime. The metro police are also considering hiring more police officers. Nationwide, crime is up in almost all major cities.