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Las Vegas police report decrease in murder in 2018: What's the reason?

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jan 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 02:48:43-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There's some encouraging news about a disheartening problem that's plagued Las Vegas for years. According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, there was a decrease in murders in 2018.

"That's a big deal," said Pastor Troy Martinez, "that's 20 families, 20 lives."

In 2017, 141 people were murdered in LVMPD's jurisdiction. According to the department, 121 people were killed in 2018. That means there were 20 fewer murders last year.

"We need people to understand ... that violence is a problem," said Pastor Martinez.

It's a problem that's hard to combat but also tricky to document and analyze.

"The number itself doesn't tell the entire story," said Dr. Bill Sousa.

Dr. Sousa is a criminal justice professor at UNLV. He says that crime trends must be analyzed over an extended period of time. You must take into account various factors like a potential population increase or the actual crime.

"Homicide, for example, is a very complicated offense," said Dr. Sousa, "...it's often a crime of passion so, very difficult to predict or to prevent."

While we wait to see what happens next year, Pastor Martinez says there are practical steps we can all take like attending LVMPD's First Tuesday meetings and being involved in your community.

Pastor Martinez says it's important to speak up.

"Many of the homicides that we've seen take place," said Pastor Martinez, "there are things that have lead up to those, red flags ... that if it would've been reported sooner somebody else's life would've been saved."