Las Vegas, Nevada

Reducing Violent Crime Using Saturation Patrol Teams

Las Vegas Metro Police Badge

Site LE Agency
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Site Researcher
William Sousa, Ph.D., University of Nevada – Las Vegas

Site Focus
Violent Crime

SPI Strategy
Hot spot policing

Site Cohort

Site Profile
Large urban area of 135.82 sq. miles with a population of 1,458,474

Project Overview

The Las Vegas SPI examined the effectiveness of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s (LVMPD’s) Saturation Teams. The evaluation used an experimental design through which hot spots of crime and disorder within LVMPD’s jurisdiction were identified and randomly assigned to receive the Saturation Team’s intervention for 60 days. Over the course of the project, the Saturation Team conducted directed patrol and other proactive activities in LVMPD hot spots. Some analysis suggested that calls for service increased in experimental areas, but it is unclear whether this resulted from differences in actual criminal activity or from the influence of police presence on citizens’ willingness to call the police. Surveys indicated that citizens in both the experimental and control areas generally had high opinions of LVMPD, with over 75 percent in both groups “agreeing” or “strongly agreeing” that they respected LVMPD and were supportive of the department.

Data Highlight

  • In 2009, Nevada had 702.2 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.
  • In 2009, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) reported the fifth highest robbery rate, the eighth highest violent crime rate, and the twelfth highest motor vehicle theft in the nation.
  • Saturation Team officers contributed to 4,021 citations, 1,824 misdemeanor arrests, 77 gross misdemeanor arrests, 647 felony arrests, and 22 firearm confiscations.
  • Following the intervention, 17.2 percent of residents in control areas called the police at least a few times per month, compared to 10.1 percent of residents in treatment areas.