Drugs and Crime in Las Vegas

By Ashley Ruccia

How does drugs and crime affect Las Vegas more than other cities?

Drugs and crime go hand in hand, especially in this 24 hour town. With a crime rate of 67,174 per year and a drug rate of about 120,000 people annually treated in drug courts, this is one of the largest social problems in the small city of Las Vegas. As our population increases, our drug and crime rates do as well. With bars and clubs being opened all night, it makes our city more susceptible to drugs and crime. Most other cities don't have 24 hour towns. Therefore, places start closing down at midnight, leaving the chance of civilians staying out, getting even more drunk, and causing trouble, very slim. Mostly, the locals will just head home, but in Vegas, they will be out until sunrise, driving drunk and committing crimes. Other cities comparable in population size to Vegas have seen deceasing drug and crime rates while Las Vegas has hardly seen any improvement. For example, Kansas City has around the same population as Vegas, but has a significant difference in crime rates.

Are drugs dramatically affecting our youth?

Drinking, to marijuana, to prescription pills, to heroin, to cocaine, to meth; this is usually around the directions in which teens move while using drugs. What drives teens to use these drugs? Studies have shown that marijuana is one of the most popular drugs used amongst teens. Although it is not as serious as a health problem as cocaine or meth and cannot lead to a lethal overdose, it is still mind altering. Marijuana is greatly advertised, as well. It's in the movies teens watch and the music they listen to. When they hear the rapper they love rapping about how great marijuana is, they are most likely bound to at least be curious about it. There are many different reasons teens start using drugs; family problems, peer pressure to be "cool", and depression issues are the major ones. Prescription pills are becoming more and more popular through the high schools. There are even parties to promote the use of these pills called "Pharmaceutical Parties". Each person brings five pills; whether it's advil, tylenol, xanax, zyrtec, or viagra. All of the pills are put into a hat. Everyone then sits in a circle and randomly chooses three and pops them. Is there anything more dangerous than this? Multiple kids have died from this ridiculous "game". What will the next generation look like if this behavior is kept up?

Statistics of different crimes in Nevada

According to The Disaster Center
In 1960….
Population: 285,278 Index: 9,815 Violent: 416 Property: 9,399 Murder: 25 Forcible Rape: 36
Robbery: 211 Aggravated Assault: 144 Burglary: 2,606 Larceny-theft: 5,675 Vehicle Theft: 1,118
In 1970….
Population: 488,738 Index: 28,170 Violent: 1,948 Property: 26,222 Murder: 43 Forcible Rape: 96
Robbery: 921 Aggravated Assault: 888 Burglary: 8,116 Larceny-theft: 14,877 Vehicle Theft: 3,229
In 1980….
Population: 800,312 Index: 70,860 Violent: 7,304 Property: 63,556 Murder: 160 Forcible Rape: 538
Robbery: 3,686 Aggravated Assault: 2,920 Burglary: 23,263 Larceny-theft: 34,864 Vehicle Theft: 5,429
In 1990….
Population: 1,201,833 Index: 72,874 Violent: 7,222 Property: 65,652 Murder: 116 Forcible Rape: 748
Robbery: 2,864 Aggravated Assault: 3,494 Burglary: 16,434 Larceny-theft: 42,097 Vehicle Theft: 7,121
In 2000….
Population: 1,998,257 Index: 85,297 Violent: 10,474 Property: 74,823 Murder: 129 Forcible Rape: 860 Robbery: 4,543 Aggravated Assault: 4,942 Burglary: 17,526 Larceny-theft: 44,125 Vehicle Theft: 13,172
In 2010….
Population: 2,700,551 Index: 92,773 Violent: 17,841 Property: 74,932 Murder: 158 Forcible Rape: 965
Robbery: 5,298 Aggravated Assault: 11,420 Burglary: 22,226 Larceny-theft: 42,521 Vehicle Theft: 10,185

Most categories have a dramatic increase as ten years go by, but murder is one that always stays pretty low.

How can we prevent crime and drug use through our valley?

Some say drug testing in schools needs to come into effect, others don't think it is necessary. All kids have been through the D.A.R.E Program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) in elementary school, but is that too early to have a strong impact on the children's life? Is early high school a more appropriate time to educate these kids on the dangers of drug use? In 2010, The Department of Justice invested 3 million dollars to stop gang violence and enhance crime fighting capabilities. Harry Reid said that as a result, Nevadan's will become "safer". This is not necessarily true. Investing money into the issue is good, but educating about the issue is even better. Learning the in-depth dangers and consequences that drugs and crime could bring to our lives would be more helpful. It may actually stick in people's minds, and remind them to think, "Is it worth it?" about what they are going to do before acting. It is strictly encouraged for parents to not only inform their children about this social problem, but to drug test them and really keep an eye on what they're doing.


Harry Reid
LV Metropolitan Police Department
NY Times
Effects of Drugs
FBI Crime Statistics
Drug Testing

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