LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Cutting down on crime near the Las Vegas Strip — that is a major focus for Metro Police, as they see more murders in the area.
Metro says most of the issues this year happened between April and August, but they are implementing big changes to cut down on crime.
“We’ve been dealing with some unprecedented crime,” said Metro Police Capt. Dori Koren.
Capt. Koren heads up Metro Police’s Convention Center Area Command, which oversees the Las Vegas Strip. And he knows it has been a deadly year in part of town.
“We saw this massive increase,” Capt. Koren said.
The latest numbers from Metro Police show there have been 10 murders in the resort corridor through Oct. 8, 2021.
In comparison, there was one murder through that same point last year. That is a 900% jump.
Capt. Koren says more out-of-state criminals coming to town during the pandemic as resorts reopened has played a role.
But he adds the legal system’s handling of repeat offenders is also to blame.
“We have very violent individuals that we’ve arrested many, many times over and over,” Capt. Koren said.
“We can arrest all day long, but if they’re released by the rest of the criminal justice system or process too soon and they commit another aggravated assault, and another aggravated assault, eventually they commit a homicide, which is what draws our numbers up.”
So, what is being done to address the murder rate?
“We really put a lot of intelligence and analysis together to figure out exactly where the crime issues were happening,” Capt. Koren said. “We divided up our normal areas into micro sector beats, is what we call them, which is just being more precise.”
Capt. Koren says, so far in 2021, Metro officers have made around 44,000 stops on the Las Vegas Strip. That includes about 8,000 arrests and more than 600 guns confiscated.
Some tourists we spoke to say they believe the increased interaction will make a difference.
“If citizens know that they’re being watched, then I guess crime will be down,” tourist Paul Strachan said.
“I think that police presence does help to deter crimes,” tourist Idella Strachan said.
Tourist Joshua Cavender added, “People, resources, time, those are definitely going to help.”
Capt. Koren says that is the goal.
“We’re not letting up on the pressure,” Capt. Koren said.
Metro Police say a positive note is that they have one of the highest homicide clearance rates in the entire country.
As of Oct. 8, 89% of 2021 murder cases in Metro’s jurisdiction have been solved.