Four bloody days in 2013 fueled a 50 percent increase in homicides during the first quarter of the year, a Las Vegas police official tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal. There were 27 slayings through March 27, up from 18 through the same period in 2012. The uptick concerns Capt. Chris Jones, head of the Metropolitan Police Department's Robbery/Homicide Bureau. “What's really pushing our numbers up this year are the events that resulted in multiple deaths,” Jones said . “We have four events that accounted for 10 victims.”
Fifteen of the 27 homicides up to March 27 were the results of “disputes,” or an argument between two or more parties that results in a killing. Jones said that because of Police Department budget cuts and hiring freezes, fewer officers are patrolling streets. Their presence in neighborhoods acts as a deterrent. “The first defense in those disputes is the patrol force,” Jones said. Las Vegas police face a $46 million budget deficit. In recent years, Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie has used reserve funds to cover the shortfall. He has also cut about 500 police and civilian positions.