Sheriff’s Message, Week of July 9th
Three and half years ago, an open discussion about Lyon County’s crime rate began in an effort to highlight public safety concerns. Crime rates are an indicator of relative safety. As such, these numbers are also used in business plans to evaluate risk associated with community capital investments. Last month, the Nevada Department of Public Safety released its 2016 annual report and there is some great Lyon County news.
As a cohesive team, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office made an unprecedented accomplishment by reducing our 2016 crime rate index to 14.05 UCR part I type crimes per 1,000 population from an all-time high of 25.2 in 2013. Our dispatchers, administrative clerks, control room operators, volunteers, and all of our sworn deputy sheriffs are credited for this achievement. This is one of those moments I will boast about what they have done. There is no single reason for this reduction; however, there are a lot contributing factors, which taken collectively made it possible. We changed our philosophies as it relates to community oriented policing. We implemented restorative justice practices in our jail to target behavioral health and recidivism. We reallocated resources into intelligence led policing and focused on Part II type crimes and our “Big 3.”
How do we rate in relative safety throughout the state? Only four counties have lower crime rates than us: Mineral, Esmeralda, Lincoln, and White Pine Counties. As the 4th or 5th most populated county in the state, this is significant. We are within a few hundred people between us and Elko, with Clark, Washoe, and Carson City as 1, 2, and 3. Nonetheless, the LCSO has handed every elected official in this county a gift. They need to be using this information to target business recruitment and economic development for our children’s future.
I do want to add a point of emphasis. We report crimes to the state exactly as we have been for decades. Uniformed Crime Reporting, or UCR, is a federally mandated and standardize means of reporting crime for all jurisdictions. Part I type crimes are the violent ones, which includes sexual assault, larceny, burglary, and vehicle theft. Part II type crimes are offenses that if unchecked, can lead to an increase in Part I crimes. Generally, law enforcement is reactive to Part I crimes, while it can be proactive to Part II crimes.
We still have areas where improvement is needed, especially in the area of investigations. Part of that is with us, but another critical aspect is community engagement. We need citizens reporting crimes and becoming witnesses. The other week, a citizen called for a deputy when they recognized a Warrant Wednesday subject in a casino. Using their cellphone, they showed the deputy the image and then wanted person was taken into custody. This is the type of engagement we need, citizens who are taking back communities and are no longer afraid of criminals.
And finally, we said good-bye to Deputy Larry White who retired after serving the LCSO for 11 years and a 30 year US Navy career. He is probably umpiring somewhere in the region. We also hired two new dispatchers Nicole Persek and Taylor Maricich, two new control room operators Rachel Clark and Cayman Helgeson, and filled the vacant deputy position with Ted Ziegenfuss.
As always, keep the faith.