October 12, 2023 - 6:09 pm
One of the big draws of small-town life, especially in Boulder City, is that crime rates are pretty low — especially when compared to “over the hill.” But a low crime rate does not mean that the local police aren’t kept busy.
When Boulder City Police Chief Tim Shea presented his annual report to the City Council Tuesday night, he noted that BCPD handles about 18,000 events per year.
“And dispatchers handle thousands of calls that do not show up as events, because people call the police for a lot of different reasons,” he said.
And the ability to sort through massive amounts of data has also changed the way crime is reported. Shea noted that in the past there were as few as eight overall crime categories. Today, under a new reporting system that Boulder City helped to pilot, there are 46 categories. And, of the 46 categories in the new reporting system, the number of events went down in just nine. Attention-getters include family disturbances that are up by nearly double in 2022 compared to 2021, identity theft up by more than double and suicide calls, which include threats of suicide up by just shy of 50%.
Shea noted that stats for 2021 may have been artificially lower due to carryover effects from the Covid pandemic.
“In 2021, things were down quite a bit because we still had the effects of Covid. For example, false alarms went up quite a bit,” he said. The chart he presented to the council showed this event category nearly doubled from 2021. “I think the reason alarms went up is because a lot of people went back to work and now alarms are going off at their house where in 2021, they were at home.”
Citing data put out by a number of sources, including Alarms.org, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and sites that advise travelers going out of their home countries on the safety of various locations, Shea noted that Boulder City ranks 65% lower than the national average for overall crime. The city earned a Safest Cities in America rating for 2023 from Safewise.com.
Violent crime is down 64% in Boulder City, he said, while Nevada statewide was up by 7.2%. Rape is down more than 50%, aggravated assault is down 66%. Property crime rose by 1.5% but Nevada overall was up by more than 8%. In Boulder City, burglary is down by almost 10%, auto theft is down about 10% and arson is down to zero.
It’s not all rosy. Murders rose from from 0 to 1, simple assault is up nearly 30%, kidnapping or abduction is up by double and theft (not including auto theft) is up about 10%.
Shea additionally noted that there is an entire new category of crimes in the new reporting system called “crimes against society.”
“What are crimes against society you might ask? Drug/narcotic crimes, prostitution, gambling, pornography,” Shea said, rattling off the list and noting that it also includes violations of weapons laws.
Shea did note one area of significant concern that may affect Boulder City to a greater degree based on the average age of its residents.
“Crimes against the elderly,” he said. “For us, crimes against the elderly are up 38%. Eighty-five percent of those are abuse and 14% are exploitation. The state actually went down 5%.”
Again, most of the changes can be attributed to better crime reporting.
“Before, if a person went into a place and committed a series of crimes —maybe burglary, assault, rape and ended up with a murder —all you saw was the murder,” Shea explained. “Not anymore. Every crime is extrapolated out. You are going to see data changing for a lot of places and people may think, ‘Oh my gosh. you’ve got this big spike.’ There’s no additional crime. It’s improved additional reporting.”