Should students be wary of rising crime rates in Las Vegas?

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Police respond to a barricade situation in West Las Vegas, June 22, 2021. Photo by Allister C. Dias

Since Las Vegas first began its urban sprawl in the early 1970s to late 1980s, the number of people moving to the Las Vegas region has almost quadrupled in size and capacity. 

At the same time, a massive influx of people into a concentrated region brings upon one vice: crime.

In recent years, the frequency of crime, along with violent crime, has ballooned to dangerous rates. The Round One and Planet Fitness shootings last year exposed Las Vegas to the dangerous reality of unchecked criminal activity and the reality that anyone can be targeted.

With crime rates skyrocketing in Las Vegas, what does this mean for students, and just how many precautions should be taken to avert criminal activity?

“I think that crime is rising in Vegas, especially with many people moving here for work or just travelling,” said Vianey Lozoya, a freshman accounting major at UNLV. 

“Students should definitely be more cautious, especially on campus,” Lozoya continued. “Anything can happen at any time, so students should remain vigilant and take advantage of the safety resources that UNLV has to offer.”

Lozoya further elaborated the fact that UNLV, or universities as a whole, are open spaces available to anyone with any intention. The invasion of the real world within the bubble of university life creates an unsafe environment for students looking to pursue a simple education. 

According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, in early 2021, the Las Vegas valley saw a 110% increase in violent crimes. With financial issues related to the pandemic, people have sought alternative ways of making ends meet. In most cases, this alternative way is typically crime.

In most cases, serious crimes committed in the Las Vegas Valley in recent years tend to incorporate some form of violence, mostly homicides. Within the scope of 2021, Clark County investigated 245 homicide cases; the largest since 2017. The current trend of open firearm access within Nevada has created an incentive for criminals to steal firearms from cars or homes and use them for sinister purposes.

Although violent crimes create a predominant statistic of crime in Las Vegas, it does incorporate other crimes, typically non-violent. The most common type of crime in Las Vegas, outside of homicide, is robbery.

According to the official Nevada Crime Statistics, 9,624 robberies have occurred in 2021 alone, with 34.3% of those robberies occurring in a residence/vehicle between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Additionally, 52.8% of that figure occurs through forcible entry. On a broader scale, the general crime rate in Las Vegas has remained consistent for the last five years, with most crossing the 50-60,000 case mark. With this common trend, it’s quite apparent that crime has been rising in the Las Vegas Valley for half a decade, and will continue to rise given the current projections.

With such a predicament, UNLV students, or college students in general, should always ensure that their cars and dorm rooms are locked and secure during the school day. 

Additionally, hiding or concealing valuable items from view of windows can help reduce the cases of forcible robberies and prevent any items from being stolen. 

As crime rates continue to swell with post-pandemic issues, it’s imperative that we stay safe and make the best use of the resources available to us. Keep an eye out not only for yourself, but also for your neighbor, and report any suspicious activities to campus police or metro. 

Crime rates may be high, but we as students can ensure the highest level of safety for each other on campus.

In the case of criminal or suspicious activity, contact campus police at 702-895-5575 for emergencies or 702-895-3669 for non-emergencies. Otherwise, contact the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department at 911.

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