By Justin Albright and Taylor LaTray Posted April 18, 2012
Nevada, the state that we call home. Unfortunately, our home state is at the top of some the worst categories possible. Car theft, robberies, foreclosures, violent crime, and unemployment are just some of the categories that make this state so “great”.
According to a report by KOLO 8, Nevada has been #1 in foreclosure for the past 62 months. According to yahoo’s article on the worst run states in America, Nevada is #5, barely trailing Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, and California. Nevada has the highest percentage of unemployment out of every state in America. Now that is definitely something we should brag about. Not. Nevada also has the second-highest percentage of people without health insurance. Our youths also have the highest rate of using illicit drugs and luckily, we recently have gotten off the list for being number one in teen pregnancy, and in three years have moved to 24th.
- Nevada is #1 in Foreclosure.
- Nevada is #1 in divorce rate.
- Nevada has a new high in rates of teens using illicit drugs.
- Nevada is ranked highest for the most car burglaries.
- Nevada tops the charts for most violent crimes.
- Nevada just recently got off the number one seat for teen pregnancy.
- Nevada is #5 on the list for worst states in America.
It seems Nevada ultimately is not the greatest; in many people’s eyes. Very few do it better than us. This is not something to laugh at or do nothing about. The fact that we do not take action and our society around us is the reason we have such an awful reputation. It was just recently that we finally went down in the ranks for other serious matters such as teenage pregnancy. Winnemucca is, of course, not the only city in Nevada, but we are in Nevada and every action we take here can help or hurt our home state’s reputation. Our choices and actions need to be more thought over before they are acted upon.
The people who have such high status in our community, we decided, have at least some responsibility. Even though everyone shares some sort of responsibility, we decided to ask District 6 Court Judge Mike Montero and Officer Jeffrey Murdock to shed some light on the subject.
The first interview was with District 6 Court Judge Montero; when asked about his stance on foreclosure, he felt that practices were easygoing and that was affecting the foreclosure rate.
“My impression is that the lending practices became too lenient, and this created a situation where people who may not have qualified for loans due to government regulations were qualifying for loans, and when the economy weren’t doing as well it became hard to meet the loan obligations,” said Judge Montero. “You need to be ready to own your own home; and it was a situation where people were made promises by lenders in unrealistic situation, and ultimately it crumbled.”
When asked about how the foreclosure problem could be fixed Judge Montero felt only time could tell.
“We, fortunately, do not have this problem in Winnemucca,” said Judge Montero. “I don’t know that there is a short term fix; there have been efforts made by Congress that didn’t really have the effect people had hoped. Sadly, I think we’re just going to have to let time solve this one.”
Judge Montero feels that lenient divorce laws and couples not working at their relationships leads to high divorce rates.
“Well, Nevada made one of its claims to fame in the ’60s as the quick divorce capitol of the world. Nevada’s laws became very lenient for people to get a divorce. If a party moved here and lived here continuously for about 6 weeks, they were able to get a divorce. Where in a lot of states and they didn’t have to have any fault so people could move here, live here, and get a divorce. So people would live here just to get a divorce and then return home to wherever their home was. My personal opinion is that they don’t work as hard as they should,” said Judge Montero.
Montero also provided a possible solution.
“This is strictly my opinion, but, I think there are a lot of things that could probably help people. One of the most important would be communication, sadly,” said Judge Montero. “People need to learn to talk to each one another and not talk to one another. I see cases where people probably didn’t talk and didn’t know who they were even marrying. You have to realize that when you are a young person that is thinking about getting married, you fall in love with someone, but it’s the rest of your life and that can be a really long time. People can change but they can learn to change together or else it’s a recipe for disaster.”
According to inspirationsyouth.com, in Nevada, adolescents (12-17) did worst than overall U.S. youths when it comes to illicit drug use. Nevadans had statistically higher rates of all illegal usage of drugs. Marijuana use and non-medical use of pain relievers were some of these. We were also among the states who had the worst usage of cocaine use, illicit drug dependence, and the needing of treatment for addiction reasons.
“The Brand” asked Police Officer Jeffrey Murdock multiple questions relating to Nevada being ranked at number one in car theft, burglaries, violent crime, youth illicit drug use.
“Nevada is a 24-hour state that encourages things that other states outlaw. There’s 24-hour drinking that leads to most the violence that you see in Winnemucca. Here we don’t have very many robberies or car thefts, but Vegas and Reno probably experience a lot of that stuff, and they’re pretty easy crimes to perpetrate. So it’s an easy way to make money and as long as your willing to get shot stealing someone’s stuff I guess it’s worth the risk to a criminal,” said Officer Jeffrey Murdock.
Office Murdock feels that behaviors among teens escalate to more serious problems as they experiment with illicit activities.
“There have been more programs encouraging protection and abstinence and maybe people are more concerned with diseases and getting someone pregnant. Kids get bored easily and when you’re in a rural area and you’re not into being out in nature, then you get bored and look for something to do, which usually leads to partying and alcohol leads to marijuana. Marijuana leads to harder drugs because they’re trying to have more fun. You’re trying a new substance because you have the mindset it makes you have more fun. Once they’ve reached their addiction they don’t care what anyone thinks; their teachers, parents, friends, significant others. Law enforcement from then on it’s only about feeding their addiction,” said Officer Murdock.
Nevada’s high rate of uninsured people is also a troublesome area. Judge Montero thinks there is a correlation between this and the high unemployment rate.
“A lot of that is probably a direct correlation with unemployment rates. A lot of people get their health insurance through employers so when you don’t have a job it’s probably more important to get food on the table for you and your family than it is to worry about health insurance,” said Judge Montero.
“So the first thing that goes is health insurance if they are required to buy it for themselves and so I think a lot of people look to employers buy health insurance and then the problem with that is it has become so expensive for employers to continue to provide health insurance so a lot of employers have had to cut back on what types of health insurance they can give people,” said Judge Montero.
Why are we number one in all these areas? And what is driving us to receive such a bad reputation? For many problems in Nevada, one bad area leads to a domino effect on another. Just last year due to the housing market collapse led to a very bad decrease in the recovery of labor, jobs. While other states were improving, Nevada has been hitting new lows.
When it came to the high rankings in unemployment Montero provided The Brand with another response on how Las Vegas has a negative impact on Nevada.
“My purely speculative response is that we were growing so fast when the economy was booming, because of the construction and probably the gaming industry in Las Vegas primarily, Nevada because of Las Vegas was one of the fastest-growing states in the nation for years that was all good when the economy was booming, but when it’s not booming, suddenly the constructions gone, there are not as many opportunities in the casino industry and so all these people who came here suddenly don’t have as many opportunities and now we have high unemployment,” said Montero. “Again, In Winnemucca we’re in pretty good shape.”
Although Nevada is hitting all-time lows, all of these problems can be fixed as long as we are all committed to making Nevada one of the top states in America.