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Instances of crime on the downswing, cases being solved in Summerlin, Las Vegas police say

Sheriff Joe Lombardo is a man of his word. No question about it. And almost 300 residents of Sun City Summerlin can attest to that, especially after hearing Lt. Nick Farese explain how an increased police presence — just as Lombardo promised — has helped ward off the wave of burglaries and robberies that hit the retirement community earlier this year.

In an exclusive interview with this column, which appeared May 26, (“Clark County Sheriff vows to increase presence of patrol cars in Sun City”) Lombardo issued a tough reassurance to residents of Sun City that the police are here to protect them.

“If there’s any kind of uneasiness among residents in Sun City, I will address my people to assign more black and whites to the community,” Lombardo told me at that time, after I made a formal request to interview the sheriff.

Led by Farese, who served as acting commander of the Northwest Command of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, 9850 W. Cheyenne Ave., a contingent from Metro conducted a town hall meeting in Sun City on June 27 to answer questions and put residents’ minds at ease.

“Due to the article in the Review-Journal (published May 26 in Summerlin-area View), we have increased the police presence in Sun City and surrounding areas of Summerlin, and I have the numbers to show the improvement that has been made since the article appeared,” Farese told the audience in his opening statement of a program that lasted almost 90 minutes.

“Since the article, we saw areas we could improve and we put a plan in place,” Farese said. In explaining parts of the plan, he noted “there are three shifts of Metro officers” in every 24-hour cycle. “And during each eight-hour shift, black and whites now make their presence in Sun City three times.” He added that it takes about 15 minutes for each patrol car to cruise through various streets of the community.

“There’s no way possible for every person in this audience to see a black and white on their streets each day. But they’re here, I can assure you, and we stay in close check with the Sun City Security Patrol,” Farese said.

He further stated that since the Lombardo interview in this column, “I’m happy to report that crime in Sun City is down. There was one robbery.” He referred to a Chase bank robbery at the corner of Sun City Boulevard and Del Webb Boulevard, and he noted that an arrest was subsequently made. In addition, there were three burglary crimes in Sun City over a six-week period, and two of them have been solved.

Farese mentioned that an arrest also was made in the theft of golf carts and that “we got back laptop computers” that were stolen from the Sun City Computer Club.

“In all, we have been in Sun City almost 200 times since I was here last,” he said, referring to the presence of the patrol cars. “And we have made some significant arrests during that same time.”

Farese pointed out that police presence in Sun City and other areas of Summerlin has been increased despite a loss of manpower. Due to the creation of a new Metro command in recent weeks, “I’m losing 31 cops and five detectives. We’ll be short of manpower until at least next spring or summer,” he added.

Ironically, Farese attended a similar program at Sun City on May 26, the day my column carrying the interview with Lombardo appeared. That was during the height of the crime wave in the community. But he said at the time he was unaware of the column and the concerns expressed in it by the sheriff.

In a conversation following the program Farese said, “We have kept the sheriff informed of our numbers in Sun City, and he was happy to hear about them.”

David Steinman, president of the Sun City Board of Directors, who introduced Farese and other members of Metro, explained afterward that Farese called him later in the day on May 26 to arrange for the town hall meeting on June 27. “We have Metro’s attention on all fronts. They have been working with us diligently,” Steinman said.

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. His most recent novel, “Double Play,” is now available. Contact him at hjaffe@cox.net.

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