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December 19, 2014

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FBI: Property crimes up, violent crimes down across much of Las Vegas Valley

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Steve Marcus

Metro Police detectives and crime scene analysts investigate a fatal shooting in front of a furniture store on Spring Mountain Road Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013.

Updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 | 9:38 a.m.

The number of violent crimes dipped slightly while property crimes rose early last year across much of the Las Vegas Valley, according to the FBI.

For the first six months of 2013, Metro Police reported to the FBI a drop of about 1 percent in violent crime incidents compared with the same period in 2012. The drop was attributed to a heavy reduction in aggravated assault cases. Crimes in all other documented violent categories — robberies, rapes and homicides — were up, with 50 homicides reported in early 2013 compared to 32 reported in the first six months of 2012.

Henderson, too, saw a drop of about 25 percent in overall violent crimes, with a reduction in all categories.

Property crimes were down for both jurisdictions — Metro’s by 6 percent and Henderson’s by 11 percent.

By contrast, North Las Vegas reported to the FBI a 15 percent uptick in violent crimes and a 7 percent dip in property crimes. The city’s homicides were down from 6 in 2012 to 2 in 2013.

In Reno, the violent crime rate held steady while the city reported a small increase in property crimes. That city reported six homicides in 2013 compared with none in 2012.

While crime statistics can help identify trends, it’s important not to scrutinize them too deeply, said Bill Sousa, a criminal justice professor at UNLV. Slight annual changes are not always indicative of a larger pattern.

Data released by the FBI also do not account for a difference in population between the two years.

“Obviously you don’t want (crime statistics) going in the wrong direction,” Sousa said. “But just because you see a slight increase does not necessarily mean there is an issue of a larger concern.”

Metro’s violent crimes rose by about 7 percent in 2012 compared to a year before, though that figure had plunged by 18 percent in 2011.

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