Crime's decreasing in downtown Las Vegas, Metro says

LAS VEGAS - Crime has, and continues to drop in downtown Las Vegas, and this is despite the recent fatal beating of a tourist during bachelor party weekend.

In a Metro Police report that shows crime trends across the valley areas, downtown was the only area without an increase in violent crime compared to last year.

According to Metro, murders in downtown are down 63 percent; sexual assaults dropped by 11 percent, and there was 10 percent dip in robberies.  Assault and battery with a deadly weapon was also down 5 percent.

The downtown area has about 70,000 residents, and about 17 million visitors come to the area every year.

"We're all sort of working together to keep eyes on the street and to deter crime before it happens," said Drew Cohen, co-owner of the Writer's Block.

"Not just policing the community, but actually interacting with it on a daily basis," said Drew Cohen, co-owner of the Writer's Block.

"When we need help, the community steps up," said Captain Andy Walsh, Metro's Downtown Area Command.  "We're getting creative when we have to."

For example, take the time investigators caught a suspect accused of killing homeless people downtown, by staging a sleeping mannequin.

"Our detectives that work here and the police officers that work here, if we have one word that would describe our philosophy when it comes to violent crime, it is to be relentless," Cpt. Walsh said.

Metro's persistence is paying off.

"It's almost an affirmation that what we are doing is working, but it is also a stark reminder that we have a lot of work still to do," Cpt. Walsh said.

The most dramatic change the downtown area has seen is the decrease in murders.  Homicides in May 2016 were at 11, but now the homicides in May of 217 is at four.

In another high-profile case, police say surveillance video generated tips from residents that helped arrest James Beach.
He's the man now charged with killing Luis Campis, a father of five who was visiting Las Vegas for his brother's bachelor party.

"They know how that impacts their area and their neighborhood, and they took it personally, just as personally as we did," Captain Walsh said.

Metro said some of the biggest challenges the agency faces are getting more guns off the streets and diversity.
   
About 60 percent of the Las Vegas population is Hispanic, so Metro is working to create a police force more reflective of the community.


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