Some Las Vegas crimes wouldn’t have happened if the criminals had been jailed longer | VICTOR JOECKS


There’s a disturbing trend in some of Las Vegas’ most high-profile crime stories. Many suspects have recently been taken into custody.

Tyler Steffins, a Washington State police officer and Army veteran, was recently killed on the Strip. Police arrested Freddy Allen in the fatal stabbing, which occurred on a pedestrian bridge.

But the crime should never have happened. In September, police said Allen threatened a Strip security guard with a knife. He pleaded no contest for the offense of assault. In November, he received a 90-day suspended sentence and was told to stay off the Strip for six months.

It turns out that verbal warnings are just as effective as “weapons free zone” signs.

A few days later, police arrested Allen for a stabbing that happened near Harrah’s. The victim had to receive staples in the head and stitches in the arms. Allen pleaded guilty to a serious misdemeanor. In February, he received a 90-day sentence with credit for 72 days served.

If that stab had kept him in jail for even a year, his involvement in Steffins’ murder would have been impossible.

See if you can spot any similarities to these cases.

Gary Dean Robinson caused the horrific January car crash that killed nine people in northern Las Vegas. Seven members of one family died after Robinson ran a red light while driving over 100mph.

Police have had numerous prior interactions featuring Robinson driving recklessly. Police stopped him for speeding at least five times in the 18 months before the fatal crash. This included a speed of 85 mph in a 45 mph zone. In this case, the officer gave him a ticket for going over the 5 mph limit. A court reduced it further, which kept the offense off his driving record.

Lee Frank Wilson is in police custody charged with shooting more than a dozen people in February at a saloon on Sahara. One person died. His record includes more than 80 arrests and nine felony convictions. In 2019, prosecutors charged him with conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder. He pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm. He was sentenced to a prison term of at least one year.

Finally, consider this headline from Thursday’s Review-Journal: “Man Charges 3rd DUI With 2 Cases Still Open.”

Did you spot the model? The criminals, whose actions deserved serious prison sentences or other significant consequences, got off with a slap on the wrist.

But many politicians argue that the problem is that there are too many people in prison. ‘Mass incarceration imposes significant costs’ and ‘doesn’t make us safer’, President Joe Biden stated in a January 2021 Executive Order.

The victims mentioned above would probably disagree. At least, those who are lucky enough to stay alive.

The dangers of mass incarceration are an almost universal sentiment on the left, but it has also infected some Republicans. This includes former President Donald Trump, who signed a bill to reduce the number of people in prison.

In 2019, Governor Steve Sisolak and Democratic majorities in the Legislature gutted Nevada’s sentencing laws. A small minority of Republicans supported the move. The bill reduced the sentences for several crimes, including felonies. Under the old law, those who had already been convicted of two crimes were considered “habitual” criminals. This increased the penalty for any new crimes. Democrats raised the threshold to five prior convictions.

Previously, someone with three felony convictions faced a minimum sentence of 10 years for any additional crimes. Democrats upped that to seven — yes, seven — convictions.

It sounds simple, but that doesn’t make it any less true. If you want to reduce crime, put people who commit crimes in jail – and keep them there for an appropriate amount of time.

Contact Victor Joecks at [email protected] or 702-383-4698. To follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.


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