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More police calls come from areas near center of Las Vegas Valley

Neighborhoods closer to the center of the Las Vegas Valley have a higher concentration of police calls, a study of Las Vegas police call data showed.

A study by casino.org examined and mapped nearly 93,000 calls to Metropolitan Police Department between July 15, 2017, and July 15 of this year. One map in the study broke down different parts of town by census tracts, and the organization overlaid GPS coordinates for the calls over the census tracts where they took place, project manager Ryan Serpico said.

The study found a greater number of calls came in neighborhoods closer to downtown and the Strip. A census tract that houses the Strip between Desert Inn Road and Tropicana Avenue had 4,680 calls, the highest number for a tract during that time period, the study showed.

Metro spokesman Larry Hadfield said it’s important to keep in mind that more than 40 million people visit Las Vegas each year, often specifically to see the Strip.

“You are going to have a higher volume of people in that area,” he said.

The calls examined in the study did not represent the total number of calls Metro received in that time span. Metro provided the data used in the study to the city of Las Vegas, city spokeswoman Diana Paul said.

Hadfield said the data provided to the city doesn’t include every type of call Metro uses, such as civil matters, officer in need of emergency help, suspicious vehicles and petty larceny.

An equal distribution map in the study shows a higher concentration of police calls near Interstate 15 in the central part of the valley, as well as along Boulder Highway.

About 39 percent of all calls referenced in the study were characterized as “other disturbance.”

The study found the most calls to police during the week came on Mondays at 15.6 percent of all the studied calls, but Serpico wasn’t sure why that was. Saturdays and Sundays had the fewest calls of the week at 13.4 and 12.9 percent of total calls.

“It was very strange because we were all expecting it to be a weekend,” Serpico said.

Property crime calls were particularly common on Mondays, which had the highest number of calls for crimes such as burglary, stolen vehicles and auto burglaries.

Bill Sousa, director of UNLV’s Center for Crime and Justice Policy, wasn’t as surprised about the higher total call volume and that more property crimes were reported on Mondays.

Many property-related calls aren’t reported when they first occur, said Sousa, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Property crime offenders rely on people taking a while to realize it had happened,” Sousa said.

Sousa said he suspects that, particularly for those visiting town and staying on the Strip, people may park their cars during the weekend and don’t look at them again until Monday.

The Strip also lends itself to “opportunities for disorder,” because of the high concentration of people and the factor of alcohol consumption, which can be linked to fights and easier victimization by criminals such as pickpockets, Sousa said.

However, Sousa said, one’s chances of being victimized on the Strip are likely pretty low.

“The Strip is actually a pretty safe place to be, given the sheer volume of people,” Sousa said.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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