LAS VEGAS (AP) – The Las Vegas area saw an increase in homicides in the first half of this year, compared to the previous two years, according to a newspaper count.
After declining in 2019, homicide cases in Clark County rose 37% in 2020 and rose again in the first half of 2021, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Monday. There were 75 murders from January to June compared to 66 in the first six months of last year, a 14% increase.
Las Vegas police have reported eight cases of children under the age of 8 killed in the first six months of 2021, a significant increase after seven homicides of young children were reported in 2020.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said based on his three decades of law enforcement experience, he believes the COVID-19 pandemic may be playing a role in increasing the number of murders of young children.
“I think it’s the anxiety over COVID and the economic factors in these cases,” Lombardo told the Review-Journal. “A lot of people tend to go wild when they don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Lombardo, the elected chief of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, who has announced he will run for governor of Nevada, said he believes homicides are difficult to prevent due to the random nature of violent crime .
But he said about 93% of Las Vegas police homicide investigations are resolved, compared to about 60% in other U.S. cities.
When tracking homicides, the Review-Journal includes fatal shootings by police, unlike Las Vegas police. The tally also includes accidental shootings which are considered homicides by the Clark County Coroner’s Office.
In North Las Vegas, the newspaper counted 16 homicides in the first six months of this year, including the 1996 murders of three teenagers which led to the February arrest of Willis Davis, 43.
By comparison, North Las Vegas recorded 13 homicides in the first six months of 2020, according to the tally.
Henderson Police investigated seven homicides in the first six months of 2021, the same number as last year and in 2019.
Domestic violence homicides were the most common murder in Henderson this year, the Review-Journal reported.
The Review-Journal counted four of what it called random homicides in Clark County from January through June.
Among them, a 54-year-old man stabbed at a bus stop; a 63-year-old woman who was allegedly beaten and strangled by her neighbor; a 60-year-old man found dead on a road with blunt injuries; and a 28-year-old man shot dead while sitting in a bar.