Las Vegas police blame Calif.’s lax sentencing for crime spike

Las Vegas police blame Calif.’s lax sentencing for crime spike

Shocked by a drastic jump in the number of homicides and other crimes, Las Vegas law enforcement officials have blamed California’s lax sentencing rules for the crime spike.

Thus far this year, Las Vegas has seen 66 homicides. The figure represents an increase of 29 per cent from the corresponding period of 2015. Overall, Las Vegas’ crime rate, including sexual assaults, robberies and home invasions, jumped 22 per cent in 2016 from the previous year.

Metro Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo held California’s two laws, which eased sentences and parole conditions for inmates, responsible for the problem. Noting that Las Vegas, like several other cities in the U.S., is experiencing a crime spike, Lombardo said in a recent interview that the city’s crime spike could be traced to new laws implemented in neighboring California to trim down prison sentences for ‘nonviolent’ criminals.

Larry Hadfield, a spokesperson for the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, said, “We are seeing an influx of persons being arrested – or involved in – violent crimes from California. Many of these people have current ties or past affiliations with gangs out of California.”

The Golden State’s 2011 Public Safety Realignment Act transferred some felons from state prisons to county prisons and reduced parole times; while the 2014 California Proposition 47 allowed some nonviolent felony sentences to be decreased to misdemeanors.

However, Las Vegas authorities acknowledged that they have no hard statistics to prove a direct link between the crime spike in Las Vegas and the Golden State’s early-release programs.