- Associated Press - Thursday, July 7, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The top cop in Las Vegas says efforts to curb violent crime are having an effect.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo showed some of the evidence on Wednesday, displaying for the media 85 guns that he said were seized by one focused police team during the last 10 weeks.

He said most of the handguns and several rifles had been in possession of people who aren’t allowed to have firearms, the Las Vegas Sun reported (https://bit.ly/29kMHTw ).

Homicide cases are still high, up 62 percent this year over last, but the homicide rate has slowed from April when cases were more than double what they had been for the first four months of 2015, the sheriff said.

But, “It shows that we’re going in the right direction,” he said.

Lombardo said property crimes, including burglary, theft and auto theft, are down 6 percent compared with 2015.

He said that in 10 weeks, the specialized Neighborhood Enforcement Team made 419 felony and serious misdemeanor arrests and served 23 search warrants. The unit - comprised of 20 officers, four detectives and three supervisors - made another 177 arrests for lesser misdemeanor charges.

Lombardo said he’s continuing to seek funding from Las Vegas city and Clark County elected officials for more officers.

The elected sheriff has said he wants to add several hundred police officers to the more than 2,612 sworn officers covering a city and most of a county with more than 2 million residents. Department statistics say there are 1.7 officers per 1,000 residents in the Las Vegas police coverage area.

He also spoke again about gang activity and about jail release policies in neighboring California affecting Las Vegas.

Department data shows that 50 percent of violent crime in Las Vegas is associated with gangs, Lombardo said.

By working with Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials, the sheriff said, police in Las Vegas identified 23 California fugitives living in Las Vegas and arrested 19 of them, including two who were linked to homicides in Las Vegas.


Information from: Las Vegas Sun, https://www.lasvegassun.com

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