Local News


California to blame for rise in crime?

Posted at 7:14 PM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-18 13:58:40-04

There have been 70 homicides across the valley since the beginning of the year. But who is to blame? 

According to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo, early inmate releases may be connected to the rise in crime. 

"You've heard me make comments about the depopulation of the prison and the softening of crime. I also believe that to be a direct effect on what we see occurring here and on a daily basis," Lombardo said. 

There's a law in California known as AB 109, which leads to the early release of inmates from prison.
The sheriff thinks some of those people are coming to Las Vegas.

"Individuals we're able to identify and also the victims...we've seen a significant increase in individuals that have gang affiliation and gang associations directly to California," Lombardo said. 

13 Action News took the claim to California.

Deputy Chief Reaver Bingham from the Los Angeles Probation Department works closely with parolees released by AB 109. He said while he does not want to discredit Shriff Lombardo, he shouldn't make assumptions.

"Obviously that's the sheriff's opinion. I would caution anyone to attribute rise in crime to a small segment of the population such as AB 109," said Bingham. 
A study by the Public Policy Institute of California showed there was no direct correlation between crimes and AB 109, yet, police are the streets feel otherwise. 
"There is a certain amount of frustration in the law enforcement community and obviously the victims of the crime," Bingham said. 
Lombardo also blamed the rise in crime on a lack of officers. He said he needs to hire more than allowed to keep the community safe. 
In the midst of finding out why crime is on the rise, the District Attorney's Office is making sure the criminals stay behind bars. 
District Attorney Steve Wolfson announced an increase in his Gun Crimes unit Tuesday. 
"This team averages placing 90 percent of the people they prosecute in prison with an average prison sentence of 6 1/2 to 17 1/2 years," Wolfson said. 
The team will focus on armed robberies, home invasions and armed ex-felons. 
The DA's Office will also work to keep a close eye on chronic offenders and work with middle and high schoolers on gang prevention. 
We took the community's concerns to 13 Action News Crime and Safety Expert and Retired LVMPD Lt. Randy Sutton.
Sutton said he was not certain that the sheriff was allocating resources properly.
"If what you're doing isn't working, you've got to do something else, that's the bottom line," said Sutton.