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Article first published as
Nevada #1 Crime Rate Not Acknowledged
On a late October morning a Wal-Mart employee was ‘disgruntled’ and he decides it’s time to take action. He smuggles a gun into the store and buys ammunition for it in the Sporting Goods department. He then goes to the restroom where he hides in the handicapped stall mulling his decision. He makes a final commitment to confront his bosses and leaves the restroom, straight toward the manager’s office. Once there he confronts the manager, the one he likes, and, at gunpoint, orders him to call two other managers to the office. When they arrive they find an angry man with a gun. At some point the three managers make a run for it and all three are shot. All three live, but their lives will never be the same.
Last week’s shooting of three managers in a Wal-Mart in Reno (Nevada, USA) should not be surprising in a State that has the worst crime rate in the United States. Nevada has been ranked as the Most Dangerous State for the last four years (2006-09) by Morgan Quitno’s (morganquitno.com) annual crime rate report.
Nevada’s Crime Story
- Nevada ranks #1 in women being killed by men (1)
- Nevada ranks #1 in stolen cars per capita (2)
- Nevada ranks #1 in robbery per capita (2)
- Nevada ranks in the top 10 for assaults per capita for the last 4 years (3)
- Nevada ranks in the top 10 for forcible rape per capita for the last 4 years (3)
What is a surprise is the deafening silence about the State’s notorious ranking by local media. The top 50 hits of a Google search of ‘Nevada High Crime Rate News Media’ offer no mention of the issue among the State’s primary television and print media resources. It also was not an issue discussed in most of the major political contests this year despite the fact that Nevada’s #1 status in unemployment, foreclosures, and bankruptcies were all fodder for candidate mud-slinging.
It should be noted that Nevada’s crime rankings are not an artifact of the 2007-09 Recession. The State has been a leader in crime independent of the economic environment. It is unknown if Nevada’s out of control crime issues are effecting tourism because for over half a decade the State has experienced a steady decline in gaming revenues because of increased competition due to Indian gaming in California and other States. Any impact of Nevada’s high crime reputation would be masked by the larger trend; however, as there seems to be little awareness of the State’s crime issues, it is unlikely that it has had an impact…yet.
Nevada’s gaming industry would likely suffer more revenue losses if the crime woes were widely publicized and lower gaming revenues would have a trickle down effect on newspaper and television advertising revenue but, there is no evidence that the local media intentionally avoids the subject to risk offending their advertisers. Gaming also plays a significant role in Nevada politics but, there is no evidence that politicians avoid discussing the issue for fear of offending potential major contributors to their campaigns.
However, the lack of discussion seems to only be feeding the problem. If any effort is being made to turn around Nevada’s position as the Most Dangerous State it is being done without fanfare ….and without success.
(1) – Statistic for 2008 (from crimeinamerica.net)
(2) – Statistic for 2009 – #2 in 2005-08 (from disastercenter.com)
(3) – Statistic for 2006-09 (from disastercenter.com)
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