Police: Gun Crimes Drop Significantly in West Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police say it used to be common for them to respond to numerous calls a day in west Las Vegas, specifically the Sherman Gardens Annex area, a public housing project.

The community reached a boiling point in 2006 when three people were killed and four were injured in a shooting during a block party. The incident prompted a change called "Safe Village Initiative."

For years, the only time residents saw police in the community was when there was a problem. Metro Police decided to change its approach and do community-oriented policing.

Sherman Gardens Annex, near J street, is a place parents never used to let their kids walk alone outside.

"It was the most violent part of Vegas and we had shootings every day, two and three shootings," Metro Sgt. Ivan Chatman said.

Some residents still feel the stigma that comes with years of violence.

"This area has been labeled," Sherman Gardens resident Veronica Moore said.

In the past, Moore and her family were not comfortable sitting outside, but now they feel safer.

"Everybody I've met around here, other than a few hotheads, is generally concerned about the area," Sherman Gardens resident James Williams said.

Police now work going door-to-door, reaching out to residents. Chatman says this is the first time in 10 years west Las Vegas is not a Metro problem area. Officers reach out to residents before trouble starts and they connect with neighborhood leaders.

Southern Nevada Housing Authority property manager Karen Nicholson said it has made a difference.

"It's a rough area, but I see a lot of improvement," she said. 

The neighbor is not crime-free but there is much less violent crime, Metro Police said.

"They get more into it and they like it, they like the results," Chatman said.

Residents say this is now a stronger community, one that will only get better with time.


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