On Tuesday, Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie reported a drop in several crime rates in Las Vegas. Compared to data collected from 2010, the reported cases of robbery, auto theft and homicide dropped in 2011, along with traffic fatalities and sexual assault. The Las Vegas Metro Police point to several different factors for this drop in crime, including increased traffic patrol, better documentation of domestic violence cases, new technology, and others.
Also, according to these statistics, arrests in Las Vegas have seen a negligible change between 2010 and 2011 with a 0.44% increase, an interesting contrast to the drop in certain crimes. An arrest does not mean that a conviction will necessarily follow. The police may arrest a person if there is probable cause to suspect he or she has committed a criminal offense. However, probable cause does not give a police officer automatic permission to search a person, their belongings, vehicle, or property without a warrant, since this would violate the Fourth Amendment.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” (Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution)
Probable cause that a crime has been committed may not be as objective as we’d like to believe. It is not unknown for a person to be arrested because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time or if there were false charges made against them. In certain cases, such as in responses to calls of domestic violence in Las Vegas, police must make quick judgments based on the evidence before them. Whether this decision is found to be justified later or not, it can severely impact the life of the person arrested in the short-term and maybe even long-term.
Many people choose to exercise their right to remain silent and speak with an attorney after arrest for these very reasons. Regardless of the circumstances of the arrest, an experienced Las Vegas defense lawyer can help determine if any constitutional rights were violated and if the police had probable cause to arrest or not.
The 2010 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Report can be downloaded from their website in PDF format. While the 2011 police report has been released, it is not currently available for review online.