With the recent spate of crimes,
including an alleged rape, a gas station holdup, and heroin busts, it would be easy to assume that the crime rate is up in
In fact, the rate is down.
According to Mesquite Police
Department statistics, crime rates in the first seven months of 2008 are actually down about 20% compared to the same period
According to the statistics
reported under the FBI’s “Uniform Crime Report” (UCR) program, there were 341 UCR crimes committed from
January to July in 2008, compared to 426 UCR crimes in the first seven months of 2007.
UCR crimes also referred to
by the state of Nevada as “index crimes,” include murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary,
larceny, and motor vehicle theft.
While the number of actual
crimes committed in the city is down, the Mesquite Police Department’s “solved” rate is up nearly nine points.
In 2007, the department solved
or “cleared” 196 of those UCR crimes for a “cleared rate” of 46%.
This year, more than half
of the crimes have been solved, with the department boasting a “cleared rate” of 55%.
According to MPD spokesman
Robert Everett, part of the credit for the lower crime rate and higher cleared rate goes to the “MORE Cops” initiative
which Clark County voters passed two years ago.
Using money from that ballot
initiative, the Mesquite Police Department was able to add an extra detective to the department’s investigative unit.
With more detectives available
to spread out the workload and spend more time on cases, the department’s cleared rate has gone up.
But even in 2007, the department
boasted the highest “cleared” rate of any other municipal police department in the county.
According to the Nevada Department
of Public Safety, which uses a different crime reporting formula, Mesquite’s “cleared”
rate was 29.94% in 2007.
By comparison, the Las Vegas
Metro Police Department’s cleared rate was 16.24%.
The Henderson Police Department
ended up with a cleared rate of 21.31%, while Boulder City’s rate was the worst at 13.5%.
Of course, the small community
of Boulder City only had 200 reported index crimes in 2007.
Mesquite’s overall crime rate also came in lower than the state average.
According to NDPS, the average
crime rate in the state is 432.2 crimes per 10,000 citizens in 2007.
The NDPS crime rate for Mesquite in 2007 was 250.7 crimes per 10,000 citizens.
In Las Vegas, that rate was double, at 502.3 crimes per 10,000 citizens.
The highest crime rate in
the state belongs to Reno, where the 2007 statistics showed 510.9 crimes per 10,000 citizens.
While the total number of
crimes and the crime rate in Mesquite were impressive in 2007, observers claim that the number is likely to go up for all
of Nevada in 2008, as the crumbling economy takes a toll.
According to Everett, crime
rates are traditionally higher during difficult economic times.
But with Mesquite continuing
to beat the state averages in both the number of crimes and the cleared rate, the small border town will continue to provide
a safer environment.