LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Metro police have investigated 17 carjackings since the beginning of the year, around 30% more than at the same time last year.
“That’s a number that’s not acceptable,” said Captain Fred Haas of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Summerlin Area Command.
He discussed the carjackings and vehicle burglaries at a news conference in southwest Las Vegas Thursday. He said most of the individuals involved in the carjackings and burglaries have been juveniles, some as young as 14 and 15-years-old.
“They’re not in school. They got a lot of free time and Metro is working with intervention officers to get out there and make contact with these kids before they go down this road of violence, this road of gangs and destruction of their lives,” Haas said.
Force and firearms were used in some of the carjackings, he said.
Car burglaries have also been a problem, and Haas said the people can do things to make sure they don’t become a victim. He said, in most cases, the criminals are looking for crimes of opportunity.
“Make sure we go out there and lock our cars. We don’t have valuables stored in our vehicles. We’re not storing firearms in our vehicles,” he said.
Haas urges residents to call 3-1-1 if they see something suspicious and if it appears to be a crime in progress than call 9-1-1.
“It’s imperative we work together to solve these crimes.,” he said.
The uptick is worrisome to southwest valley residents like Sladjmna Korpica.
“Any time there is crime involved, you’re thinking, ‘Am I next?” Korpica said. “You try to keep your cars in the garage or to watch what’s going on, be aware. Have a good relationship with your neighbors, too, so if somebody sees something, they can let you know.”
Frank Molina is taking extra precautions to keep his car safe.
“I lock everything down, make sure every window is locked up with a board and everything, make sure the kids are taken care of,” he shared. “That’s my main concern. My grandkids.”