Leslie O’Brien’s van was stolen outside her home near Palace Station last fall. In July, a used truck she had purchased to replace it was also stolen.
Las Vegas police eventually recovered the two trucks, which contained items that appeared to have been left behind by the thieves. O’Brien also has video evidence in the case, but when she spoke with a detective she was told the video had not been reviewed because police were too busy investigating other cases. flight.
“It drives me crazy because I pay taxes, you know?” said O’Brien. “I’ve always supported my police department, but I don’t feel like I’m supported.”
O’Brien’s frustrations come as law enforcement says it has seen a significant increase in property crime in the Las Vegas Valley. Property crimes are up more than 15% as of August 5 compared to the same period last year in the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police Department. The highest increase, of 45%, is for command of the convention center area, which encompasses the Strip.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said the department has been successful in reducing violent crime in the Valley since 2021, but rising property crime is an ongoing challenge.
He said car burglaries were up 17%, stolen vehicles up 21% and misdemeanor and felony thefts up 17%.
He said the rising costs of just about everything in society seem to be partly to blame. He also said that when thieves are caught, they are not prosecuted and incarcerated as he would like, resulting in a cycle of repeat offenders victimizing the people of southern Nevada again and again.
Lombardo added that he believes Nevada laws need to be strengthened to more severely punish theft-related offenses.
Clark County Attorney Steve Wolfson did not respond to a request for comment.
Convention center area commander Captain Joshua Bitsko said an increase in tourism compared to the same time last year had led to more crime, necessitating a 24-hour police presence along the Strip pedestrian bridges.
Pharmacies along Las Vegas Boulevard have seen a 39% increase in thefts, Bitsko said, which police suspect is the result of homeless people living near the stores. Response officers patrol the Strip in an attempt to offer resources to nearby homeless people.
“We try a holistic approach,” he said. “We are not just trying to stop our way out of the problem.”
Bitsko said property crime statistics are led by car break-ins and vehicle thefts from parking lots. He urged residents not to leave valuables in their cars, or at least not in plain sight.
“Don’t leave expensive items in cars, no matter where they are parked,” he said.
A California man who rented a 2022 Mercedes-Benz while in Las Vegas told police he discovered on July 8 that money, clothing and a handgun were stolen while the car was parked at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, according to a crime report he filed with Metro.
Although Bitsko said pickpocketing was not among the regional command’s top concerns, victims had reported iPhones and purses missing after leaving the items inside casinos.
A 21-year-old man filed a complaint with Metro after falling asleep on the sidewalk of the Strip after a night out at Aria and waking up on July 1 without his iPhone 13, according to his incident report.
A 74-year-old woman visiting Planet Hollywood Resort filed a report with Metro on July 28 after $1,700 went missing from her room safe, according to her report.
O’Brien said between the truck thefts, the thieves came to her home and stole other less valuable items outside of her residence. She has since upgraded her security system and bought Mace in case the thieves return. Police, meanwhile, said they continue to investigate the robberies at his home, but O’Brien believes police and the criminal justice system need to do more.
“You can walk into the store and steal whatever you want,” O’Brien said. “They do nothing.”