Deterring Theft in Las Vegas Assessment


Deterring Theft in Las Vegas: Future Recommendations

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Las Vegas is a city which is associated with good times, laughter, and great adventures. Yet, the city is threatened by budding crime which not only has the potential to cause pain and suffering in the lives of the locals, but also but a damper on the multi-billion dollar tourist industry set in place there. Out of all of the crimes committed within the coveted city limits of Las Vegas, Nevada, theft proves most apparent. Crimes from robbery, and especially car theft, have proven to be higher than the national average and place locals and tourists in danger. With the local attitude of wanting to fiercely protect not only their own interests, but also the thriving tourism industry they depend on, law enforcement should place much more effort in deterring and resolving crimes of theft; potentially through such new routes as applying a budding forensic science department within certain theft cases.

The city has many reputations, one of which being sin city. In fact, there is a lot on sin and crime which is committed within the context of Las Vegas city limits. Las Vegas has a huge problem with crimes involving various types of thefts. In fact, most of the crimes which occur within Las Vegas City limits prove to be related to theft in some sort of way. The combination of robbery, burglary, theft, and car theft crimes committed in 2003 totaled to an astounding 61,507 cases (FBI 2003). These thefts are directed at both locals and tourists alike. However, some tourists are especially targeted due to the fact that many come with large amounts of cash and high levels of intoxication. Car theft is also a huge problem the city of Las Vegas is forced to deal with. In 2003, there were a total of 14,718 cases of car theft charged, second to only 30,052 cases of larceny and theft, (FBI 2003). It is reported that Las Vegas’ problem with car thefts is 2.06 times that of the national average. In many cases this too is directed at both tourists and locals, who must then cope with the ordeal of car theft. Although theft is such a big problem, there are other issues, such as that of violent crimes. The number of all violent crimes committed in Las Vegas proves to be 1.29 times the national average (FBI 2003). Murder within Vegas city limits also reaches higher than the average city around the country. Yet it is theft which proves to endanger both citizen’s interests and livelihood the most within the city of Las Vegas.

Many local residents of the city understand their need and dependency on the billions of dollars brought in by the tourist industry. The city not only earns money through hotels and other recreational activities, it also depends on gambling. Gambling means big money brought in, mainly in chips and cash for the average tourist. This provides ample opportunities for theft to occur. Whatever dangers the lure of gambling may bring into the city, it is extremely beneficial to the local community and economy. It provides thousands of jobs and seemingly infinite streams of revenue for local businesses and corporations. Many citizens’ livelihood is tied into the boom of the tourist industry, and has been for generations. Therefore, the attitude of many citizens within the boundaries of the city of Las Vegas, tend to favor protecting the city from theft. In fact, theft means not only their own suffering in the case of local theft cases, but also the potential to but a damper on the tourism which supports most of the city. Therefore, focusing on the crime wave of current theft cases will prove to best serve the interests of the citizens of Las Vegas.

With this then in mind, more specific recommendations can be given and potentially implemented within Las Vegas city limits which would help curb the tide of theft related crimes. One such recommendation is the investment into better technology to fight various forms of crime, especially fields not normally associated with theft. The University of Nevada at Las Vegas has recently begun the development of a more sophisticated and state of the art forensic program in its criminal justice study program (Cesare 2009). This may in fact provide the necessary tools and people to help implement the use of forensic techniques in cases of various theft crimes. As more and more students enroll and graduate, the city will have an abundant source of individuals with the scientific knowledge of forensics and how they can be applied in theft cases. Focusing on the latest technology in fingerprinting and other elements which can easily transfer over into theft cases may provide benefits in the effort to help put out the image that Las Vegas simply does not tolerate theft. The more cases resolved would prove to would-be criminals that it might be harder to get away with then they thought, therefore providing the opportunity to deter the crime from even happening. Las Vegas, with the help of UNLV, has the resources and man power to implement such a forensic take on solving theft crimes.

Ultimately, reduced theft crimes will make life in Las Vegas safer, and ease potential worries from the millions of visiting tourists into the city each year. Utilizing the tools already beginning to show promise within UNLV will prove both beneficial and easy to implement. Reducing theft in Las Vegas, the ultimate goal of such recommendations, would prove to strengthen the tourism industry; a necessity, especially in such hard economic times.

Cesare, Cindy. (2009). Las Vegas’ Future Crime Scene Investigators. Las Vegas Now. Retrieved March 31, 2009 at

City Rating. (2002). Las Vegas Crime Report. Crime Statistics. Retrieved March 31, 2009 at

Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2003). By Metropolitan Statistical Area. Crime in the United States 2003. Retrieved March 31, 2009 at

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