Nevada Crime Rate & Crime Solving Both Up

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Nevada's crime rate grew faster than its population growth rate in 2002, a new state report shows.

But even though police agencies in Nevada are smaller than the national average, they were able to solve crimes at a rate higher than the national average.

The number of criminal offenses jumped by 9.1 percent in 2002 while the population grew by 4 percent to 5 percent, according to the Crime & Justice in Nevada report released by the state Department of Public Safety.

Nevada has a ratio of 2.2 police officers per 1,000 population compared with the national ratio of 2.4 officers per 1,000. But officers were able to clear or solve 24.5 percent of the crimes last year compared with the national average of 19.6 in 2001, the latest available year, according to the report.

An offense is "cleared" when a police agency has identified an offender, there's enough evidence to charge the person and an arrest is made. The arrest of one person can clear several crimes or several people may be arrested in the process of clearing one crime.

There were 98,396 offenses reported in the state last year, which works out to about 45 for every 1,000 people. That compares with a national rate of just under 42 in 2001. The state rate was the third-highest total in the last decade for the number of crimes, surpassed only by 1995 and 1997.

A violent crime in Nevada occurs on the average of one every 38 minutes, the report revealed. While the number of murders decreased slightly, other violent offenses such as rape, robbery and aggravated assault rose, according to the report.

There were 184 murders in the state in 2002, two fewer than the year before. Law enforcement cleared 104 murders, or about 57 percent.

Violent crimes, which include robbery, assault and rape, rose 12.4 percent in 2002. Property offenses, which include burglary, larceny, car theft and arson, were up 8.3 percent.