Nevada is one of the 50 states in America; located 39° 148’ to the north and 119°743’ to the east. What makes this state a pleasant place to live in is its low cost of living due to less tax imposition, lower health costs and minimal pollution. However, crime rates are a warring trend here. According to federal laws, each state has the freedom of maintaining its own independent jurisdiction within the criminal justice system. As a matter of state policy, each state is responsible for determining what constitutes a crime as well as an appropriate form of punishment (Wilson, 1987). This essay will examine the nature and trend of crimes committed in Nevada and offer possible solutions.
Nature of crime
In the recent past, crime rate in Nevada has been on the rise. According to a report from FBI’s “Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)”, the most common nature of crimes in the state of Nevada is property theft and violent crimes. In the city of Las Vegas only, property crime rate stands at 57,552 while violent crime rate is 9,158. Most of the crimes began in earnest way back in 1981 but their peaks were witnessed in mid 1990s. this was roughly the same time when Nevada state was introducing casinos (Farrell & Case, 1997). Since the inception of major casinos, crime rate in Nevada rose sharply to 6.7% compared to when there were no casinos. Most of the crimes that were committed included arson, murder, rape, robbery, property offences like burglary and larceny. Others included violence, sex offenses, criminal victimization and auto theft (Farrell & Case, 1997).
In Nevada, arson, a property crime being committed by males and juveniles has been on the rise with reports between 1997-2004 indicating upward growth to approximately 8000 cases. Although property crime entails burning of property, structures or buildings, it is usually associated with massive loss in property and human life. In this state, the most common type of arson practiced by criminals involves burning structures such as commercial buildings, non-residential and residential houses. This accounts for about 35% of total property crime. On the other hand, damaging mobile properties like boats, trailers, cars and other means of transportation account for about 46% (Harrison & Beck, 2004). Murder has increased in rate since 1961 from 21 murders per 100000 residents to 200 murders per 100000 people (see appendix II).
Difference in national figures of crime rates to that of Nevada
The national figure representing property crime in Nevada according to Uniform Crime Report (UCR) by the FBI indicated 8000 cases of arson between 1997-2006 compared to nationwide figures of 724,000 (Glase & Palla, 2004). Furthermore, the aforementioned arson offenses stood at 100000 people per 8000 cases nationwide and in Nevada. It is important to note that this trend had reduced from 2002-06 with 30 arson offenses per 100000 people. However, during this time, the trend remained the same according to the national figures and statistical figures in Nevada (See appendix I). In 1970, the level of crime involving arson was slightly lower with around 3977 crimes per 100000 people compared to reports of the past one decade (Harrison & Beck, 2004) (See appendix II).
When this figure is compared to the national chart trend, it is evidently higher by about 1.26 times during the 1990s, a time when there was a tremendous decrease in violent crime rates in United States (Glase & Palla, 2004). A notable difference is that Nevada is listed to be one of the last states to record a decrease in crime rate compared to the rest of the states. There was a drop after mid 1990s crisis but soon after, crime rate in the state begun to rise in the year 2000 (Nevada Division of Child & Family Services, nd).
Further evidence shows that from 1960, the rate of criminal activities like murder stood at lows of 21 murders per 100,000, but those figures rose to 200 murders per 100,000 people by 1996 (see appendix II). Records of about 197 murders were confirmed to have taken place in Nevada in 2003, where the number per residents was said to be 100,000 while compared to 129 murders confirmed in 2000. The violent crime rates have been seen to have increased to 20% from 2003 to 2007 while the property crime rate has increased to 12% during the same duration (Bureau of the Census, 2011). It is a given fact that Nevada has been following the same pattern in property crimes and violent crimes over the years (See appendix I).
Regional and graphical indifferences in crime rates
Nevada is ranked among states with highest criminal activities in the nation. Some of the cross county regional trends complied by the federal bureau of investigation records that Las Vegas has the highest violent crime rate of up to 770 per 100,000 crimes committed while Reno reports the second highest crime rate especially murder crimes. While this is the case with the mentioned counties, Washoe was recorded with a rather low rate report of violent crimes committed compared to several other counties with an estimated 84 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents (Cullen & Ball, 2011).
Additionally, even though property crime such as arson in the nation has been stable for the last 10 years, reports from the national data indicate that the trend in Nevada was high with 55% arrests made in Clark County in 2006 (Harrison & Beck, 2004). The county with the lowest arson incidents was Washoe with 16%. Other counties in Nevada indicated stability during that period while some did not. Reno recorded the highest rate of property crime in the region next to Las Vegas and sparks with a rate of 5725 crimes per 100000 people in 2003 (Glase & Palla, 2004).
Further evidences indicate that, today, in terms of violent crime rankings in the district, Nevada ranks 5th behind Mississippi, Maryland, Louisiana and Columbia districts in of non-intelligent and murder rates. It is also ranked 9th highest in the region in terms of high rate of violent crimes (Cullen & Ball, 2011).
Time frame of the committed crimes
The state’s department of criminology believes that most of the crimes are usually committed by the youth, and that delinquency is the most common phenomenon during the adolescent period for most youths, but soon they deter from criminal activities. Statistics indicate that the demographic groups most frequently arrested for property crime are the juveniles and the males. Property crime in Nevada saw an increase since 1960 where the rate of crime was 3295 per 100000 people to 7941 per the same number of residents in 1980 (See appendix II). Reports indicate a drop in these figures to 4288 per 100000 residents in the year 2003 (Cullen & Ball, 2011).
Further evidences indicate that violent crimes decreased significantly since 1994 to 2002 among the delinquents from 446 to 237 per 100000 juveniles. Additionally, during the same period the same period, property crimes committed by juveniles decreased from 3043 to 1982 property crimes per 100000 youths. It is worth observing that since 1960 to date, violent crimes have increased in Nevada. High rate of murder, non-intelligent manslaughter and forcible rapes have been observed in various counties in Nevada. For instance, in 1960, murder rate in Nevada was as low as 21 murders per 100000 people, but by 1996, the number had gone up to 200 murders per 100000 people. Today the number is still increasing.
Solutions to crime problems
Having this in mind, one way of reducing crime rates will be to set up a program that will help the youth and at the same time increase supervision of their behaviors (Harrison. and Beck. 2004). Programs should be designed by concerned bodies that will inculcate pro-active behavior among the youth (Esperian, 2010). Furthermore, there is need to devise strategies that will ensure that violent youth are supervised to avoid instances of crimes (Bureau of the Census, 2011). Also, it is important to observe that one of the major reasons why crime is on the increase in Nevada is economic hardship. To curb this cause, programs should be designed that will benefit the youth economically, and deal with social issues affecting the youth that cause recidivism such as family issues, anger, substance abuse, peer associations that are antisocial and bad attitudes (Esperian, 2010).
To sum up, other ways that would help to curb the crime problems include increasing police patrol especially in the youth hangout places mostly after school hours; provide ways through which people especially the youth can acquire money through legal activities, have a comprehensive coordinated work force by the government and the other people serving agencies. In addition, build trustworthy coalitions of youth-serving organizations.
Bureau of the Census (2011). Poverty in the United States: Current population Reports: Consumer Income, Series P60-201. Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Cullen, L. & Ball, E. (2011). Criminological Theory 5th Ed. New York: Sage Publications.
Esperian, J. (2010). The Effect of Prison Education Programs on Recidivism. Journal of Correctional Education, 61(4), 316-334. Retrieved from Research Library.
Farrell, R., & Case, C. (1997). The black book and the mob: The untold story of the control of Nevada’s casinos : Wisconsin: The university of Wisconsin press, 1995: 1-286. Trends in Organized Crime, 3(2), 44. Retrieved from ProQuest Criminal Justice.
Glase, L. E. & Palla, S. (2004). Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin: Probation and Parole in the United States, 2003. Washington D.C.: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs.
Harrison, P. M. & Beck, A. J. (2004). Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin. Nevada Department of Corrections. Web.
Nevada Division of Child & Family Services (nd). The Uniform Crime Reports; 1960-2003. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Web.
Wilson, W. J. (1987). The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner-City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
|Index Offences Total||4006.73||3326.73|
|Violent Crime Total||535.92||385.32|
|Motor Vehicle Thefts||622.81||320.72|
Figure I: Comparing crime rates in Nevada and the country as a whole
|Nevada Crime Rates 1960 – 2009 |
Nevada Law Enforcement Agency Uniform Crime Reports 1980 to 2005