Metro lieutenant hopes to see northwest Las Vegas violent crime reduced by 5 percent by year’s end

For 15 years, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Nick Farese has gotten to know the Las Vegas Valley inside out. After five years of working as an organized crime bureau field training sergeant for the Southeast Area Command, Farese was promoted to lieutenant and moved to the Northwest Area Command where he oversees four investigative squads, the community-oriented police section, problem-solving unit, and the administrative functions of command.

He developed his passion for the police department after joining the U.S. Coast Guard after high school.

“My favorite part about this job is being able to interact with the community,” Farese said. “I like talking to everyone, from business leaders to the neighborhood block captain, to city council members and Clark County commissioners.”

Previously Farese worked at the parole office in downtown Las Vegas and the Convention Center Area Command.

View recently sat down with Farese for a question-and-answer session.

How would you rate the northwest area in terms of safety compared to other areas in the Las Vegas Valley?

One of the things that I’m happy to say is that this year, we’ve had the best numbers as far as overall crime. We’ve had a double-digit reduction of property crime, and we’re aiming for a 5 percent reduction of violent crime — which includes sex crimes, homicides, robberies, assault and battery — by the end of this year.

Year-to-date, we’re down 10.26 percent in property crimes — last year we had 3,824 crimes reported — and violent crimes remain neutral — last year we had 349 crimes reported. Domestic violence is wrapped into violent crime. Year-to-date assault and battery are up by 9 percent, but this is such a small and moving number.

How many residents does the Northwest Area Command oversee?

We see 350,000 residents out of this area command, and we’re just shy of 120 square miles. Citizens don’t understand how big of an area this is. This area is bigger than the city of Henderson and North Las Vegas, and they have their own police department. We’re just one command.

How many police officers are patrolling the northwest area at any given time?

We have 101 police officers and 20 detectives. At any given time, we have a squad of about five to six detectives and depending (on the) shift, anywhere from 18 to 25 police officers.

What type of crime trends have you seen in the northwest area?

In the northwest area, the main problem is property crime and domestic violence. The history of the northwest area has driven property crime. This is a community on top of a community. In addition to that, just the sheer volume of people brings domestic violence and other violent crimes, such as robberies, shootings and homicides. The bulk of homicides are typically domestic related.

We’re not proud of this number, but we also have the most guns taken out of all Metro’s area commands, which we equate to the size of this bedroom community. People need to lock up those guns and not put them inside a flimsy safe, but inside a good, bulked and secure safe. A lot of these guns are sold on the black market to other criminals. People also shouldn’t leave their guns in the car — that includes their glove box.

What do you link to these crime trends?

We oversee the master plan communities in Summerlin, Providence, Iron Mountain and Centennial Hills. This area is a bedroom community, and within those communities are apartment complexes and multi-family dense quarter livings. When you have a lot of people, you see crime rates go up — especially when there are drugs and alcohol involved — or people have work issues. When domestic violence becomes an issue, the police get involved, but we also try to get to the root of the problem and partner with churches to offer resources.

Aside from guns, what do burglars typically take from homes? And what advice can you give to residents to stay safe?

Burglaries are much like every other crime — it’s a crime of opportunity. Oftentimes, prowlers go in and ring a doorbell see if anyone is home; if not, they try the back way. In many cases, crimes could’ve been preventable if people wouldn’t leave their firearms or laptops inside their cars parked on the street. People can get into cars and take the garage opener or any keys that give them access to a home. I always advise people to not leave garage openers inside their cars and to lock that door from garage to the house. They might have a garage opener to get into the garage, but if that door is locked, they won’t be able to get inside the house.

What type of crimes could residents help the police department with?

They can help us with all crimes.

Our big slogan is, “See something, say something.” The community and neighborhood are our eyes and ears. We encourage people to report all suspicious things. We don’t want people to downplay something that could potentially help us. If you see a suspicious car or person, report it. We may not be able to respond to all of the calls, but we can use those calls and that information, which is logged, to help us solve crimes.

Oftentimes, property crimes are hard to solve. If someone doesn’t have a camera or doesn’t know the serial number of their TV that was stolen, it’s very difficult to solve that crime.

We don’t want to create paranoia; we just want people to be aware and alert of their surroundings. Residents know their community better than we do. They know when something stands out. We also encourage neighborhoods to start their own Neighborhood Watch. The northwest area has one of the most established Neighborhood Watch programs.

How many Neighborhood Watch programs are there in the northwest? By how much do Neighborhood Watch programs reduce crimes?

In the northwest, we have more than 300 established programs. Out of 100 percent of the crime that happens, only 9 percent happens in neighborhoods with an established Neighborhood Watch program.

Are there any other effective methods that people can use to stay safe in their neighborhoods?

Installing security cameras are always a good idea. A lot of times when a property crime is involved, people don’t know the serial number to their products. Uploading photos on reportit.com can really help with that. Basically it’s an online inventory where people can upload photos, so if they’re stolen and someone finds it in a pawn shop, they can use the photos and number to get the item back.

Anything else that you’d like to let residents know about?

We want to invite our northwest residents to our 1st Tuesday meetings from 7 to 8 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month inside the Northwest Area Command, 9850 W. Cheyenne.

To reach North View reporter Sandy Lopez, email slopez@viewnews.com or call 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.

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