LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The neighborhood where Metro police officer Truong Thai was shot and killed on Thursday is known as a “hotspot” for violent crime.

Now it’s clear that it’s not even safe for the police who have the job of cleaning it up.

Two police officers have been shot at Flamingo Road and University Center Avenue within the past five weeks. Thai was killed Thursday, and 24-year-old community policing officer Tierney Tomburo was shot in the hip on Sept. 10.

In a news conference after Tomburo was shot, police said violent crime is a problem in the area.

Statistics recently released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department show there have been 17 homicides this year in the South Central Area Command (SCAC), 18 now including officer Thai. Metro’s Downtown Area Command just to the north also has 17 homicides.

Crime doesn’t know borders in the Las Vegas valley, but anything that happens on the Strip tends to create a wave of reaction. Police and county officials jump into action to make sure there’s no threat to tourism. Safety and high-visibility security are important parts of making sure tourists keep coming back.

But what about neighborhoods that are decaying around the glittering lights of the Strip?

“Society crimes” include drug offenses, prostitution and weapons violations. There have been 11,692 of these crimes reported so far in 2022, and 1,904 (about 16%) have been in SCAC’s territory. That’s second only to the Convention Center Area Command (at 23% with a total of 2,730), which includes the Strip.

A whopping 19.4% of Metro’s reported drug offenses come from SCAC. That’s almost one in every five drug offenses reported in the entire jurisdiction of the Metro police department. And that’s an improvement over last year, when reported drug offenses were 29% higher. Weapons violations have also decreased from last year, by about 25%.

Depressed neighborhoods north of UNLV have been full of criminal activity surrounding drugs for decades. High-density housing and low income combine to make it an area of concentrated crime.

This year, reports of burglaries have increased dramatically in the area. There have been 146 more burglaries/breaking and entering cases this year compared to the same time last year — a 26% increase. Property crimes in general are up 8.7% in SCAC.

In recent weeks, car thefts have increased dramatically.

The South Central Area Command is bounded on the north by Sahara Avenue, on the east by Pecos Road, on the south by Warm Springs Road, and the west border runs along Paradise Road with the southern portion extending to Interstate 15. Reid International Airport has its own Metro police team.