Crime statistics show that while property crime rates in Reno between 1999 and 2009 were consistently above the United States average, from 2010 onwards they fell below the national average. In the same period, there was a general decrease in property crimes nationwide, and a significant decrease within Reno itself. The number of burglaries within Reno fell from a high of 2,105 burglaries in 2006 to 1,618 in 2011.
Many commentators have noted that the drop in Nevada property crime rates coincided with tough economic times and significant drops in personal income, which is at odds with standard explanations for changes in crime rates. One interesting explanation put forward is that higher unemployment levels during the economic downturn caused more people to be at home during the day, discouraging potential burglaries.
Under Nevada law, burglary is defined as entering a structure or vehicle with intent to commit:
Petit larceny (Petty larceny)
Any felony, or
To obtain money or property by false pretenses
The penalties for burglary can be severe, with imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000. If you commit burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon, you could be imprisoned for up to 15 years.
A critical aspect of the case for the prosecution is proving that you entered with intent to commit one of the above crimes. By law, there is an assumption that you have intent if you break into or otherwise enter a structure or vehicle unlawfully, unless your lawyer can provide the jury with an explanation that demonstrates you did not have criminal intent.