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Newspaper: Homicides in Las Vegas-area up 14% so far in 2021

July 12, 2021 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas area has seen an increase in homicides the first half of this year, compared with the previous two years, a newspaper tally found.

After a decrease in 2019, Clark County homicide cases rose 37% in 2020 and went up again in the first half of 2021, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Monday. There were 75 killings from January to June compared with 66 slayings in the first six months of last year, a 14% increase.

Las Vegas police reported eight cases of children under 8 years old killed during the first six months of 2021, a significant increase after seven homicides of young children were reported in all of 2020.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said that based on his three decades of law enforcement experience, he thought the COVID-19 pandemic may play a role in the increased number of young children slayings.

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“I think it’s anxiety over COVID and economic factors in those cases,” Lombardo told the Review-Journal. “A lot of people tend to lash out when they don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Lombardo, the elected head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, who has announced he will run for Nevada governor, said he believes homicides are difficult to prevent because of the random nature of violent crimes.

But he said that about 93% of Las Vegas police homicide investigations are solved, compared with about 60% in other U.S. cities.

When tracking homicides, the Review-Journal includes fatal police shootings, while Las Vegas police do not. The tally also includes accidental shootings that are ruled homicides by the Clark County coroner’s office.

In North Las Vegas, the newspaper counted 16 homicides in the first six months this year, including the 1996 killings of three teenagers that led to the arrest in February of 43-year-old Willis Davis.

By comparison, North Las Vegas had 13 homicides in the first six months of 2020, according to the tally.

Henderson police investigated seven homicides the first six months of 2021, the same number as last year and in 2019.

Domestic violence homicides were the most common killing in Henderson this year, the Review-Journal reported.

The Review-Journal counted four of what it called random homicides in Clark County from January to June.

They included a 54-year-old man stabbed at a bus stop; a 63-year-old woman allegedly beaten and strangled by her neighbor; a 60-year-old man found dead in a road with blunt force injuries; and a 28-year-old man shot and killed while sitting at a bar.