Las Vegas police stats raise questions about omitted cases

The Metropolitan Police Department started the new year by touting a 0.9 percent drop in violent crime between 2016 and 2017.

“We began last year committed to reducing violent crimes, and we were able to deliver (on) that promise,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said in a January statement. “We still have more ground to cover, but we’re headed in the right direction.”

Yet that reported dip in crime is insignificant, several criminologists told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. And it charts the change between only two years, which is not considered a reliable trend.

“This is only a small drop in the bucket,” said John Eterno, a retired New York City police captain, professor of criminal justice at New York’s Molloy College and co-author of “The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation.”

A closer look at Metro’s homicide numbers also reveals a handful of discrepancies and a glaring — albeit admitted — omission: the 58 people killed in the Las Vegas mass shooting.

Same intersection, different jurisdiction

In the department’s January announcement, titled “LVMPD Shows Decrease in Violent Crime in 2017,” Metro reported a total of 141 homicides investigated last year. Metro said that total yielded an 83 percent clearance rate, a measure of the amount of cases that resulted in an arrest.

A Review-Journal analysis of those cases showed that based on the 141 cases Metro mentioned, the clearance rate is accurate. But that total does not include two cases investigated by the department.

The first case missing from Metro’s total happened in the early hours of Jan. 4, 2017, when Daniel Aldape was bludgeoned to death while sleeping on the southeast corner of Ogden Avenue and City Parkway, near downtown Las Vegas. About a month later, another man, David Dunn, was also killed while sleeping, this time on the opposite side of the same intersection.

Shane Schindler was arrested in connection with both cases and was sentenced to at least eight years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder.

The case drew national attention for the unusual tactics Metro used to catch the suspect. Those tactics involved setting up a decoy mannequin disguised as a sleeping person. Schindler was caught on camera striking the mannequin with a hammer.

Metro murder stats (Severiano del Castillo Galvãn/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Yet Aldape the first man killed was not included in Metro’s reported total of homicides last year. Deputy Chief Shawn Andersen told the Review-Journal that Aldape was left out of the total because he was not killed in Metro’s jurisdiction.

“That occurred on Union Pacific Railroad property, and that is patrolled by the railroad police, and that’s their area of responsibility,” Andersen said. “We investigated it, but it occurred in their jurisdiction.”

The department’s initial reporting of the homicide included no mention of it happening on railroad property. In a news release sent Jan. 5, 2017, Metro described Aldape’s death as “the 4th homicide investigated by LVMPD in 2017.”

Dunn, the other man killed in the same area, was included in Metro’s 2017 total.

Deadly use of force omitted

The second case left out of Metro’s 2017 homicide total was the May 13 death of Tashii Brown, who died after Las Vegas police officer Kenneth Lopera stunned him seven times with a Taser and held him in an unauthorized chokehold for more than two minutes, violating numerous department policies.

The coroner determined that Brown died from asphyxiation due to police restraint and ruled his death a homicide. Lopera was charged with involuntary manslaughter and oppression under the color of office. He was the first Metro officer in more than 20 years to be charged in connection with deadly use of force.

Andersen said Brown’s death was not included in Metro’s 2017 homicide total because the department’s force investigation team handled the Brown investigation, not the department’s homicide unit.

“So it’s just carried in a separate log,” Andersen said.

While it is typical for the department’s force investigation team to document and investigate police use of force, Metro deemed Brown’s death a negligent homicide, said Patrick Baldwin, Metro’s director of crime analysis.

Brown lost consciousness just outside The Venetian, which falls in Metro’s jurisdiction. And the chokehold began after a short foot chase, which police said Lopera did not have “reasonable suspicion or probable cause” to initiate, according to his arrest report.

When asked why the investigating unit matters when compiling department-wide homicide totals, Andersen said, “That’s department policy, and that’s the way we handle those things when they occur.”

Eterno, the criminologist, said Metro’s small adjustments raise questions.

“It looks to me like they are trying to show themselves in the best possible light, which is their job,” Eterno said. “But we worry about them playing with the numbers to the point where we’re not getting any true value out of the numbers.”

A request to speak with Lombardo was denied.

Mass shooting called ‘anomaly’

Also left out of Metro’s 2017 homicide total were all the people killed in the mass shooting.

At the time, a department spokesman said the decision to leave the Las Vegas shooting victims out of the department’s homicide statistics was because of federal reporting guidelines.

“Federally, you don’t have to report because it’s a mass casualty event,” Metro spokesman Larry Hadfield said.

The FBI said in a statement to the Review-Journal that “the final responsibility for data submissions rests with the individual contributing law enforcement agency.”

“Although the FBI makes every effort through its editing procedures, training practices, and correspondence to ensure the validity of the data it receives, the accuracy of the statistics depends primarily on each contributor,” the statement continued.

The FBI did not say whether specific guidelines exist for reporting mass casualty incidents, but a review of the department’s crime-reporting manual showed none.

All local law enforcement agencies have until March to submit crime data, the FBI noted.

About a week after the Metro news release on crime statistics came out, Baldwin told the Review-Journal that Metro did in fact count the 58 people killed in the department’s submission to the FBI.

“The intent was always to submit them,” the director of crime analysis said. “What we got clarification from the FBI on was how to report an incident like that.”

In local statistics, though, the omission stands.

“The 58, because of the anomaly of the one event, it didn’t help us look at homicide trends for the rest of the valley,” Baldwin said.

It remains unclear whether the hundreds of people who survived gunshot wounds Oct. 1 were included in the department’s local or federal crime numbers. Metro did not provide an answer.

‘A homicide is a homicide’

A review of previous FBI submissions showed that homicides from the Virginia Tech mass shooting, the Aurora, Colorado, theater mass shooting, the Sandy Hook mass shooting, the San Bernardino, California, mass shooting and the Pulse nightclub mass shooting all were submitted by their respective law enforcement agencies.

Ivan Kuzyk, the director of policy and management at the Connecticut Statistical Analysis Center, said there “was no discussion at all” about whether to include the death toll from the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in the state’s FBI submission.

“In my experience, as unfortunate as it is, a homicide is a homicide,” Kuzyk said.

Kim English, a research director at the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, questioned why Metro would even consider leaving the mass shooting victims out of any crime totals, local or federal.

“As a researcher, that makes no sense to me,” she said. “These are people that deserve to be counted. Why would you not report something as significant as any homicide, let alone multiple homicides? Everybody’s going to know what it was.”

While the Sandy Hook death toll was submitted to the FBI, police in Newtown omitted the numbers from their local homicide count.

Michael Kehoe, who served as Newtown’s chief of police at the time, said the town typically saw a murder once every five to seven years, and the shooting “obviously would have skewed” the statistics.

“I could have put it in there. But they knew it. I knew it. It wasn’t like I was trying to hide anything,” Kehoe said. “That’s something you cannot hide.”

Tim Bedwell, who announced his candidacy for Clark County sheriff this month, said he sees no reason to omit the 58 victims from Metro’s 2017 homicide total other than “to make the numbers look better in your favor.”

Bedwell, a retired North Las Vegas police lieutenant, described the decision as “disrespectful.”

“This wasn’t a terrorist attack from a foreign nation like 9/11. This was an attack on Nevadans and guests on the Strip by someone who regularly visited the Strip,” he said. “This is an incident that could be repeated.”

“It makes it difficult to rationally discuss safety on the Strip if you omit the 58 people killed,” Bedwell added.

Rapes up

Eterno, the criminology professor, noted that Metro’s announcement in January did include nuggets of “good news.” Metro’s homicide solvability rate is relatively high, and the department showed an 11.3 percent drop in robberies.

But he also noticed a red flag: The number of rapes shot up 8.4 percent in Metro’s jurisdiction.

“Rapes are usually one of the most under-reported crimes,” Eterno said. “If that number is going up, that’s a huge warning sign for violent crime.”

Andersen, the Metro deputy chief, said the rape increase is “of course a concern.” The number of aggravated assaults also went up 4.8 percent.

Baldwin, the department’s crime analysis director, said that while the sheriff’s January comments were positive, “I don’t think anybody is declaring victory.”

“There’s a lot of work to do, but that doesn’t minimize that we did show progress in 2017,” Baldwin said.

Contact Rachel Crosby at or 702-477-8301. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

Winter storm blankets west side of Las Vegas Valley
On Wednesday evening through early Thursday a winter storm dumped more than 7 1/2 inches of snow on some parts of the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas snow day for children
Las Vegas kids play in the snow that fell on Feb. 21, 2019. (Belinda Englman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow closes Red Rock Canyon, residents enjoy rare snowfall
The greater Las Vegas area was hit with snowfall on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2019. This video shows the areas surrounding Red Rock Canyon and the Summerlin community. Video by: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas kids attend school in the snow
Las Vegas children attend school during a rare snowstorm on Feb. 21, 2019. Staton Elementary School and other CCSD schools remained open. (Glenn Cook/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People enjoying the snow in Summerlin
Fox Hill Park in Summerlin was busy Thursday morning, Feb. 21, 2019, with people enjoying the rare snow that fell overnight. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP advises motorists to take caution during Las Vegas snowstorm
NHP advised motorists to take caution during the snowstorm in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Timelapse of snow at Red Rock Canyon
More than 7 inches of snow fell in the western areas of the Las Vegas Valley, including Red Rock Canyon, on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow falls at Fremont Street Experince in Las Vegas
Snow falls at the Fremont Street Experience early Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 in Las Vegas. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow in Summerlin
Snow in Summerlin on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (Anastasia Hendrix/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Snow At Red Rock Casino
Early morning snow in Summerlin on Thursday, feb. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Northwest Las Vegas sees heavy snow fall
Drivers on the 215 Beltway in northwest Las Vegas faced heavy snowfall on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow at Red Rock Casino and Resort.
Snow continues to fall Thursday morning in Summerlin. Heaviest snow west of 215.
Snow soccer in Las Vegas -VIDEO
Players enjoy a game of soccer during a snowstorm in the Anthem area east of Las Vegas on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow falls Wednesday evening in Las Vegas
Heavy snow began falling Wednesday evening in the southwestern part of the Las Vegas valley. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Snow falls on the Las Vegas Strip
Snow falls outside the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip as the Golden Knights play the Boston Bruins. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow near Deer Springs and Buffalo
Snow near Deer Springs Way and Buffalo Drive in the northwest Las Vegas Valley on Feb. 20, 2019.(Cassie Soto/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow in Las Vegas at Red Rock Casino Resort
A winter storm brings snow to Red Rock Casino Resort in Summerlin on Feb. 20, 2019. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
February 20 snow in Centennial Hills (Part 2)
Snowstorm in the far northwest valley. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
February 20 snow in Centennial Hills
Snowstorm in the far northwest valley. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NDOT prepares for snow and ice from winter storm
The Nevada Department of Transportation gears up to keep roads open when snow and ice hit the Las Vegas valley.
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Working cats at St. John the Baptist Church
Parish councilmember John Koutsulis talks about the two cats St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church have adopted as part of a working cats program.
Lee Canyon snow makes skiers smile
Skiers and snow boarders took advantage of the Presidents Day holiday and the recent snowfall at Lee Canyon, outside of Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston gets fresh blanket of snow
A winter storm drops nearly four inches of fresh snow on Sunday, February 17, 2019 at Mount Charleston outside Las Vegas. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow in the Las Vegas Valley
Snow accumulated in the Las Vegas Valley for the first time in more than a decade, with snow falling mostly in the western, northwestern and southern areas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review Journal) @bizutesfaye
Snow at US 95 and Lee Canyon Road
Passers-by pulled off Lee Canyon Road northwest of Las Vegas Monday to play in the fresh snow. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Road truck on an empty I-15
Snow and ice contributed to the closure of Interstate 15 near Primm. Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal
I-15 traffic diverted at St. Rose Parkway
The Nevada Highway Patrol has closed Interstate 15 in both directions between south Las Vegas and the California state line due to icy road conditions, Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. (Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ice on roadway shuts down I-15 south of Las Vegas
An overnight snowstorm left an icy roadway, causing the Nevada Highway Patrol to shut down Interstate 15 south of Las Vegas to the California state line. (Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
I-15 closed at St. Rose Parkway
Ice on Interstate 15 caused the Nevada Highway Patrol to close the highway from St. Rose Parkway in south Las Vegas to the California state line on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. (Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
DEA Launches New Program To Combat Opioid Epidemic
The Drug Enforcement Administration is launching a new effort in Nevada to combat the opioid epidemic.
North Las Vegas Blvd Robbery 1
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man suspected of robbing a business at gunpoint on the morning of Feb. 19, 2019 in the northeast valley. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
North Las Vegas Blvd Robbery 2
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man suspected of robbing a business at gunpoint on the morning of Feb. 19, 2019 in the northeast valley. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
North Las Vegas robbery at a business
Robbery of a business in the 1600 block of North Main Street in North Las Vegas. If you know the suspects or have seen them before please contact the North Las Vegas Police Department at 702-633-9111 or Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.
Burglary at Made In Argentina restaurant
Pablo Rodriguez, owner of the Made in Argentina restaurant on Valley View Boulevard, describes the scene of the burglary that took place at his business on Sunday morning. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Nevada Highway Patrol vehicle hit on US 95 in Las Vegas
Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Adam Whitmarsh was on a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 95, north of Ann Road, about 7:45 a.m. Saturday, Feb 16, 2019, when a Honda CRV struck the back of the patrol car, causing the car to crash into the stopped vehicle. (Nevada Highway Patrol)
NYE Homicide suspects (1 of 2)
Las Vegas police are asking for help locating three men suspected in a deadly shooting on New Year’s Eve inside a southwest valley home. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
NYE Homicide suspects (2 of 2)
Las Vegas police are asking for help locating three men suspected in a deadly shooting on New Year’s Eve inside a southwest valley home. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police look for masked armed robbery suspect
Las Vegas police are looking for a masked man suspected of an armed robbery Feb. 14 in the west valley. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police officer found guilty of sexually abusing a child
Las Vegas police officer Bret Theil was found guilty Wednesday of 28 counts, including sexual assault, lewdness with a child, child abuse and kidnapping.
Police, friends gather to bring attention to Celia Luna-Delgado's homicide case
Las Vegas police and loved ones of Celia Luna-Delgado, a homicide victim, gathered in an attempt to bring attention to the case. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Nye County couple face 43 counts of allowing child abuse or neglect
The attorney for Marcel and Patricia Chappuis, operators of a private boarding school at the center of an ongoing abuse investigation, accused the Nye County Sheriff’s Office of harrassing and targeting the couple following a bail hearing Thursday morning.
Home security camera captures man stealing packages
Packages were stolen from outside a Las Vegas home on Feb. 7 and one of them contained chemotherapy drugs for a young cancer patient. (
North Las Vegas Police Release Info About 1986 Cold Case
North Las Vegas police released new details of a 1986 case involving 3-year-old Francillon Pierre. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
The creation of the Southern Nevada Sex Trafficking Multidisciplinary Team.
Several organizations and law enforcement agencies came together to announce the creation of the Southern Nevada Sex Trafficking Multidisciplinary Team. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
LVMPD Addresses January 17th OIS (Short)
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman address members of the press regarding the officer involved shooting that took place on. January 31, 2019, in the vicinity of I-215 and Alta. Suspect Christopher Ashoff was shot, and is in stable condition. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police address officer-involved shooting on Jan. 31 (Full)
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman gave details on the officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 31, 2019, in Summerlin. Suspect Christopher Ashoff was shot and was in stable condition. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Child Abuse Investigation At Northwest Academy
An investigation is currently underway by the Nye County Sheriff's Office at Northwest Academy for child abuse.
Lockdown ends at 2 Summerlin schools after Las Vegas police shooting
A man wanted on “violent felonies” was hospitalized in critical condition after he was shot by Las Vegas police Thursday morning during a standoff in a west valley neighborhood.
Krystal Whipple Appears In Court For The First Time
Krystal Whipple, who is charged in the death of a nail salon manager, appeared Thursday before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Amy Chelini, who scheduled a status hearing for April 1.
Metropd Addresses Ois From Jan 27 2019 (Short)
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly addresses members of the media regarding an officer involved shooting that took place on Jan. 27, 2019. The suspect in the incident was unharmed, but placed under arrest and charged with several crimes. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police addresses officer-involved shooting
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly addresses members of the media regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 27, 2019. The suspect in the incident was unharmed, but placed under arrest and charged with several crimes. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Addresses Recent Ois (Short)
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff, Brett Zimmerman addresses the officer involved shooting on January 24,2019, where suspect Isai Rodriguez was fatally shot, either by officers, or self inflicted.
Las Vegas Metro Police Department addresses recent officer involved shooting
Las Vegas Metro Police Assistant Sheriff, Brett Zimmerman addresses the officer involved shooting on January 24,2019, where suspect Isai Rodriguez was fatally shot, either by officers, or self inflicted. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
OIS press briefing Badura Avenue
Las Vegas police investigated an officer-involved shooting in the south valley, the department announced Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media briefing on Antwon Perkins arrest
LVMPD sex crimes bureau Lt .David Valenta speaks to the media about the arrest of Antwon Perkins, the suspect in Thursday’s abduction and assault of a Cadwallader Middle School student who was walking to school. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas police chief discusses officer-involved shooting
North Las Vegas police chief Pamela Ojeda held a press conference Thursday, Jan. 24, regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 21. The incident resulted in the killing of suspect Horacio Ruiz-Rodriguez. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nye County Sheriff’s Office testing weapon mounted cameras
On Wednesday, January 23, 2019 the Nye County Sheriff’s Office announced the testing and evaluation of Weapon-Mounted Cameras (WMCs) from Viridian Weapon technologies at the Las Vegas Shot Show.
North Las Vegas OIS (Jan. 21)
North Las Vegas police provide information on an officer-involved shooting Monday night near Lake Mead and Fifth. (Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police Update on Fremont Street Shooting
Lt. Ray Spencer gives an update regarding a homicide investigation that occurred in front of a bus stop near Fremont Street and Casino Center, involving a security officer and another male.
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Alleged Las Vegas casino con man, who was on the run, appears in court
Mark Georgantas -- who entered a plea deal on a charge of stealing from people he met at Las Vegas casinos, but failed to show up for sentencing -- appearing in court after being captured in Utah. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVMPD Looking For Blue Bucket Bandit - VIDEO
On December 31, 2018 detectives with the LVMPD Northwest Area Command Patrol Investigations Section received a report of the theft of a surveillance camera from the front porch of a residence located in the area of West Lake Mead Boulevard and North Rampart Boulevard. The victim in this case became aware of other residents in the neighborhood who had been the victim of similar crimes.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing - 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing