Staffing claims by LVMPD sheriff contradict 15 years of Metro’s own violent-crime data
Arguing for yet another Clark County sales-tax increase ostensibly dedicated to hiring more police officers, Las Vegas Metro Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told state lawmakers Monday that two officers per 1,000 residents is a “magical number” for police staffing.
While national authorities on appropriate police staffing levels almost universally criticize use of such ratios, Lombardo never acknowledged that consensus.
Instead, he pointed to the years immediately after the enactment of the “More Cops” Sales Tax Initiative and argued that the increased hires it permitted had forced crime downward.
“Specifically, the years 2007 through 2011, that’s where we crested that two officers per thousand, and if you look at the crime numbers in Clark County, directly associated to that crest of two officers per thousand, you can see that [crime] is decreasing.
“And then after 2011, with the population increase and the downfall of the economy, and the inability to hire folks, [crime] started to increase. So I’m a firm believer that cops make a difference.”
Shortly thereafter, Bill McBeath — Cosmopolitan CEO and Chairman of Metro’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs —testified remotely from Las Vegas, echoing Lombardo:
“When you see the delta between when we did hit the two per thousand and the reduction in crime rates, and you see the increase in crime rates as we went away from it, there’s a linear relationship. This is not subjective.”
However, actual violent crime numbers reported by Metro do not support what Lombardo and McBeath told lawmakers.