UPDATE FEB. 22: Pastor Troy Martinez and his wife have worked to curb gang violence across the city.
In the last week, they visited two homicide scenes that could be gang related. The growing number of violent crimes is a reason they say they need the help of the reinstated Gang/Vice Bureau.
"As a parent and grandparent it's very heartbreaking," said Sandra Martinez.
The couple works with the organization RECAP, which visits gang-related crime scenes after they happen. In the last year, they have worked 43 gang-related killings.
"Getting involved in a gang means you have prison, death and all sort of misery coming your way," said Pastor Troy, who is a former gang member.
13 Action News Crime and Safety Expert and retired LVMPD Lt. Randy Sutton says gangs support themselves on crimes such as burglary, robbery and prostitution.
He believes if the unit can monitor gangs more closely, the community could see crime go down across the board.
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department announced the creation of a Gangs/Vice Bureau.
The gang unit disbanded about a year ago -- decentralizing those officers and stationing them in different area commands.
According to police, 166 people’s lives were taken in homicides reported in the LVMPD’s jurisdiction in 2016. Every other category of violent crime also saw an increase.
While cities across the nation are also experiencing increases in violence, a common belief is the incidents are driven by gangs and guns in communities, according to an LVMPD press release. The overwhelming message is to focus on the issues that appear to be behind most of the violent crime. These issues come down to gangs and vice.
The patrol area commands are responsible for responding to all calls for service in the valley. That workload does not give patrol officers the ability to concentrate their efforts on the gang/vice nexus.
Therefore, a new Gangs/Vice Bureau is being created that will specifically focus on Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s initiative to reduce violent crime in the Las Vegas community.
This change is expected to be implemented in the next couple of weeks.