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Summerlin area has spike in burglaries in 2021

Updated July 4, 2021 - 1:01 pm

Ni Rukiani was visiting a family member’s house in Summerlin on the night of Jan 6. When Rukiani woke up the next morning, her car window had been smashed in. Her purse, gun and cash were gone.

Rukiani filed a police report and called the Metropolitan Police Department weekly, but five months later, there were still no updates in her case.

“At first I was so angry because I put a lot of money in there, and that money was supposed to be used to go home,” said Rukiani, who lives in Bali. “Then a couple days later I tried to let it go because maybe the person who stole my money was really in bad situation.”

Four miles south, a man and a woman told police they were having construction done on their home when on May 13 they discovered a door had been left unlocked. Stolen items inside totaled more than $37,000, including five TVs and a signed boxing glove.

While Metro statistics show burglaries are up 9.4 percent in Las Vegas this year, the second-greatest increase was reported in Summerlin, where burglaries were up 33 percent as of June 25 compared with this time last year. Department data shows Summerlin detectives have responded to 472 burglaries in the area.

The greatest increase, of 47 percent, was reported in the Convention Center Area Command, which covers the Strip. The area had substantially fewer burglaries last year with casinos and other businesses closed, but as of June 25, Metro had received 313 burglary reports.

Metro Lt. Michelle Tavarez said part of the increase across the city can be attributed to low numbers last year. Tavarez said that with more people working from home last year, potential burglars had fewer empty homes to try.

Metro’s Summerlin Area Command was not established until 2020, but data for the entire department shows 11,968 burglaries in 2018, 10,646 in 2019 and 7,310 in 2020. As of June 25, Metro reported 3,633 burglaries valleywide.

“A typical burglar doesn’t want to encounter someone at home,” she said. “They’re not interested in entering an occupied home.”

Tavarez said Summerlin is one of the safer communities in Las Vegas but that a false sense of security can lead to crimes of opportunity.

“Fifty of last week’s burglaries were the result of key fobs being left in the car,” she said.

On May 5, a Summerlin resident reported to police that his mountain bike, worth at least $1,000, and power tools worth $1,200 were stolen from his garage. The man believed someone entered his truck, which was parked in the driveway, and took his garage and gate openers before ransacking the garage.

The burglar also stole two fully loaded magazines, a pocket knife and a baton.

Tavarez urged residents to lock up their guns and extra car keys and to get to know their neighbors. Even if residents don’t want to invest in cameras, getting to know which neighbors have cameras can prove beneficial later.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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