Vegas News

Council candidate says Henderson misleading on robbery numbers

A Henderson City Council candidate is calling on the Henderson Police Department’s administration to be transparent with its data after internal emails showed a stark increase in robberies during the first half of this year.

Robberies from January to July were up 91 percent compared to the same time last year, according to an email sent by Albert Mesa, a crime and intelligence supervisor for the city of Henderson.

“Our increase was so significant the FBI contacted the Records Section to verify that our reporting was accurate — unfortunately, it was accurate,” Mesa wrote in the email.

Ward 3 City Council candidate Carrie Cox accused police administration of deleting reports or minimizing the data to the public.

“I’m most disappointed that Henderson is hiding crime numbers,” Cox said Wednesday. “The leadership, I’m most upset over the City Council people, the (police) chief, representing we’re the second safest city when we’re not.”

Henderson spokesperson Kathleen Richards called the allegations ridiculous and inflammatory. Richards cited a report published in December that called Henderson the third safest large city in the U.S. The data was reported based on the cost of crime to residents, including economic losses and the cost of becoming a victim.

“Community safety has been the City of Henderson’s top priority for many years and the mayor and city council unequivocally support continued investment in people and resources to keep Henderson safe,” Richards wrote in a statement Thursday to the Review-Journal.

In an interview earlier this month, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo referenced a 90-percent increase in robberies, which he attributed to confrontational thieves who encounter a store employee.

“Any form of force or fear elevates to a robbery,” Lombardo said. “When they get confronted by employees in a gas station or a quickie mart, they use force on the employees, or they’ve said they’re going to pull a gun and shoot them. That elevates to a robbery.”

After the interview, the Review-Journal contacted the Henderson Police Department to confirm the information, but the department claimed it could not provide the data for at least four days as no report was readily available.

Mesa’s email showed a report prepared by the department that included robberies by area command, a monthly comparison, the type of robbery and the weapon used.

The highest increase was in residential robberies, and the overall increase was highest in the northern part of the city.

“It really hurts our residents,” Cox said. “They’re thinking everything is good. We see Anthem and MacDonald Ranch getting hit a lot harder. People take more precautions when they know there’s changes going on with crime. They start locking their cars and start not leaving purses in their car and make better decisions about protecting themselves. This is a false sense of security.”

Cox is running against Trish Nash, who said in a statement Friday that she disagreed with Cox’s claims that crime was rising in Henderson.

“I find it odd that she claims to support the police while spreading misinformation that reflects badly on our police officers who work so hard to ensure our residents and businesses are safe,” Nash wrote.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at [email protected] or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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