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Northwest Las Vegas valley neighborhoods report spike in crime as gang relations rises

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Graffiti plagues the entrance walls to the Whitney Heights community, indicating the crime occurring nearby, gang-related or not.

It is a rise that residents of the northwest valley have messaged 8 News Now about for months following several reports of shootings, auto thefts, burglaries, assaults, and other crimes there. Las Vegas Metro Police Department’s crime patrol shows a handful of the most northwest zip codes – including 89149, 89143, 89131, and 89129 – have seen over 200 reports of these and other crimes in May alone.

The most recent gang-related crime came Saturday afternoon when police said Keveon Glenn, 29, partook in a shooting that left one dead and two others injured.

Back in March, home security footage obtained by 8 News Now captured a drive-by shooting on Gilcrease Avenue, near Durango and the 95. The footage includes 16 seconds straight of gunfire.

A few blocks from there, Whitney Heights residents continue to ask their HOA to remove walls of graffiti they say have been there for at least a month. Andy Nelson believes it indicates gang-related activity nearby.

“I’ve caught some people that were putting some graffiti marks on the sidewalk areas like where your garage is and that. That’s where they’re trying to target people to break into. It’s code for the thieves,” Nelson said Tuesday in front of one wall of graffiti. “I had a guy come up to my house. He went up to the side of it… I said to him, ‘What are you doing walking around my house like that?’ And he goes, ‘Well, I’m representing the homeowner here.’ I said, ‘Really? Because I’m the homeowner.”

A year ago, two children were shot while playing in the street in broad daylight.

Incidents not tied to gang-related activity are spiking too, these residents say. Ameenah Pikes lives near Gilcrease Avenue and says her car disappeared from directly outside her front door.

“We just see a blue car pull up next to our vehicle and then our video camera skips, and then the car is gone,” Pikes said Friday, looking to her regular parking stop her car used to occupy. “A lot of things that are happening seem to be happening really late, so we’re walking our dog earlier. Everybody’s making sure, if we need to implement a buddy system or something like that, we’re going to do it.”

A block away from her, a shooting involving roommates left one dead Thursday night. The two other injured included a girl living in a separate house, across the street.

“We believe she’s a completely innocent bystander and was struck by an air gun round,” LVMPD Homicide Lieutenant Jason Johansson said to media Thursday night.

The communities on edge are pleading for solutions, though they say they may not come in time to keep them here.

“If it really comes down to it and it starts to feel too unsafe, then I might have to take that leave and move out, Pikes said.

“Is that easy for you to do?” 8 News Now Reporter Ryan Matthey asked.

“Not really,” Pikes responded.

Several neighborhoods here do not have security gates at their entrance. Some residents tell 8 News Now they have attempted unsuccessfully to have their HOA install them, though police have said they are minor obstacles criminals frequently penetrate.

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