Las Vegas Law enforcement executed 178 wiretaps on phones in 2013. Judges in Clark County approved 187 wiretaps for law enforcement to use in 2013. Compared to any other police agency, Vegas uses more wiretaps than any other in the country, even compared to cities four times larger than Vegas. Los Angles County judges approved 148 wiretaps in 2013 and New York City’s special narcotics unit had 138 taps approved from judges.
Pew Research Center analyzed the data and based on population, Nevada taps 38 phones out of every 500,000 people in 2013. When compared to other states, there is no other state that exceeds 12 for every 500,000.
The reason Nevada has so many more wiretaps, is police say that wiretapping works. Vegas police say they have used the wiretaps for drug investigations. Nevada’s federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program says, “It is the only effective way to police drug cartels.
Police say that many of the wiretaps are used for the same targeted criminals. Every time they use a cell phone for a while, then they throw it away and use another phone with another number. So police need to retain a new warrant for every phone number they tap. They are allowed to tap up to 6 phones per organization. Out of the 178 wiretaps issued, police convicted 78 criminals from the wiretapping method in Nevada in 2013.
On pewresearch.org there is a graph showing that Nevadan’s are the most likely ones to be subject to mobile wiretaps. Nevada is at 38.2 mobile wiretaps out of every 500,000. Colorado is second with 12.4 mobile wiretaps. Hawaii, Montana, North and South Dakotas and Vermont were the only states that did not request any wiretaps for 2013.
Now the big question is, should we feel safer about police tapping mobile phones to help clean up the streets, or should we feel they are invading the privacy of our mobile phone conversations. Because the simple truth is, no one really knows for sure if their phone is tapped or not. All it would take is the police having a suspicion that you are breaking the law and they can tap your cell phone. Happy phoning Vegas!