Homicides and shootings continue to rise rapidly across major cities nationwide. Las Vegas is no exception. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reports indicate a 62.9 percent increase in murders, as of the week ending on Sept. 3.
Despite the police department’s efforts to make Las Vegas one of the safest communities and destinations in the country, this year has presented numerous challenges for LVMPD.
“Across the United States, we’ve seen a jarring increase in the number of homicides,” LVMPD Deputy Chief James LaRochelle said to Fox 5.
One of the reasons cited for the escalated amount of homicides has been the COVID-19 pandemic. LaRochelle claims that the pandemic is playing a part in the increase. Moreover, homicides have also been related to the increasing use of firearms.
“70 percent of our homicides are firearm related,” LaRochelle said to Fox 5. “That number has been pretty consistent over the years,”
Homicide detectives across the Las Vegas Valley investigated eight deaths over the Labor Day weekend, including five that occurred in North Las Vegas, according to The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Another cause of the elevated rate of homicides is perceived disrespect. According to the LVMPD’s statistics, there has been a big jump of around 133 percent in the number of murders committed because of perceived disrespect.
The spread of homicides across Las Vegas has also made its way to UNLV. Last year in August, a double homicide occurred over the weekend in which two people were fatally shot while walking in an alley north of UNLV. Another incident which occurred in August 2021 was a homicide caused by multiple gunshot wounds near the UNLV campus.
“First, I am heartbroken for each and every single crime victim,” Vice President of Public Safety Services and Director of University Police Services Adam Garcia said.
According to Garcia, there are significant ties to UNLV in that crimes are taking place in the community. This could impact students, faculty and staff where they can become victims or are impacted through others they know.
In regards to safety on campus, Garcia said, “UNLV has not seen a significant rise in our crime statistics, but we nonetheless closely follow what is happening in our surrounding communities and are ready to assist our regional law enforcement partners and work with our campuses at ensuring that they receive proper emergency notifications when, and if it is appropriate.”
The University Police Department has been implementing several measures to ensure safety for all students on and around campus.
Despite the high numbers of homicides occurring throughout Las Vegas, LVMPD is persistent in keeping the community safe. Over the past two years, 93 percent of murders in the Las Vegas area have been solved, according to LVMPD.
“This is one area that Las Vegas does really well at…is that we go out and put handcuffs on bad guys, that we hold them accountable,” LaRochelle said to Fox 5.
Moreover, Metro is also focused on high crime areas as its unit works to intervene in violence and prevent retaliation.