The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s omission of the 58 people killed during the Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre in their annual report, has raised questions about the way the department handles their violent crime stats.
On October 1, 2017, 58 men and women were gunned down by shooter, Stephen Paddock, in what is now known as the worst mass shooting in modern American history.
‘We began last year committed to reducing violent crimes, and we were able to deliver (on) that promise,’ Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said in a January press statement.
‘We still have more ground to cover, but we’re headed in the right direction.’
But the deaths of those 58 concertgoers were omitted from the department’s 2017 violent crime report.
‘Overall, the total number of violent crimes, which include Murder, Robbery, Rape, and Aggravated Assault went down by 0.9 per cent,’ the department said in the statement.
The department did say that the statistics ‘did not include the 58 people murdered on October 1’.
And according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the reason for that omission has been blamed on federal reporting guidelines.
‘Federally, you don’t have to report because it’s a mass casualty event,’ Metro spokesman Larry Hadfield told the Journal.
The FBI said in a statement to the newspaper that ‘the final responsibility for data submissions rests with the individual contributing law enforcement agency’.
Patrick Baldwin, Metro’s director of crime analysis, also told the Journal that the department did in fact count the 58 people killed in the submission to the FBI.
‘The intent was always to submit them,’ Baldwin said. ‘What we got clarification from the FBI on was how to report an incident like that.’
But the omission still stands in local stats because ‘of the anomaly of the one event’.
‘It didn’t help us look at homicide trends for the rest of the valley,’ Baldwin said.
FBI submissions showed that homicides from the Virginia Tech mass shooting, the Aurora, Colorado, theater mass shooting, the Sandy Hook mass shooting, and the Pulse nightclub mass shooting were all submitted by their respective law enforcement agencies, according to the Journal.
The Sandy Hook death toll was submitted to the FBI, but police in Newtown omitted the numbers from their local homicide count.
Michael Kehoe, who served as Newtown’s chief of police at the time, told the newspaper that the town typically saw a murder once every five to seven years, and the shooting ‘obviously would have skewed’ the statistics.
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