2017 Crime Scorecard

Crime Statistics for previous years:

2016   2015   2014   2013   2012


Thanks to Anonymous Burner who sent this in on January 1st – not a day I am usually reading much email, so it slipped through the cracks. Thank you for the reminder, and thanks to One Who Wants To Know for asking if I’d run out of things to complain about – sometimes a bit of motivation helps, particularly in these dark days of Facebook shadow-banning.

Pershing County are not the biggest fans of Burning Man, as you will see from the Lovelock Review-Miner article below. A quarter of the county’s population are incarcerated in the correctional facility, including (until just recently) OJ “The Juice” Simpson.

Most of the time, Pershing County is a safe place with a low crime rate. But in August and September, their crime rate spikes to amongst the worst in the country. Burners make the whole County look bad. Burners might think “well they should be happy to have us, we are great for the economy” but this is only true for Washoe County, where Reno is.

We used to be able to read about arrests at Burning Man in the Reno Gazette-Journal, but ever since they appointed  Jenny Kane (of Chocotaco scoop fame) as their dedicated Burning Man beat reporter, stories like this seem to get hushed up.

Pershing County smashed through all previous records with a whopping 179 arrests in August and September 2017. Other than FOIA, there is no way to tell how many were for Burners, but based on the average for the remaining months of 4.9 we can safely assume it is 97%.

2017 pershing county unified crime report

What sort of things were Burners getting up to? 1 forcible rape, 2 larceny (theft), 6 arson…the rest drugs – selling them, or possessing hard drugs. The Sheriff says they have confiscated guns from within Black Rock City and are concerned that the event organizers are not able to prevent guns coming in.

2017 pershing county crime types

Looks pretty safe for stoners, you’re more likely to get a citation than an arrest. Be careful, though: even though marijuana is legal in Nevada, Burning Man takes place on Federal land – and we all know how much Attorney General Jeff “Smoke” Sessions loves weed.

The Cannabist: Can You Bring Weed To Burning Man?

Pershing County wants more money to cover the costs, which they incur longer than just for the period the gates are open. In a case of Allen vs Allen, BMorg says “$182,221 is enough” – ie, stick it where the sun don’t shine, Sheriff!

Burning Man’s spin-meisters made the argument that the legalization of weed would lead to reduced costs for the Pershing County’s Sheriffs Office. Looks like the cops responded with a record number of arrests – almost quadruple last year’s record setting 46, which was up 600% on the year before.

Once again, BMorg tries to pinch pennies from the LEOs, and the LEOs take it out on the Burners. A familiar pattern by now in this decade-long dispute.


From the Lovelock Review Monitor, story by Debra Reid (emphasis ours):

BLM requests public input on Burning Man

Thursday, December 28, 2017 1:00 AM

Pershing County residents and other concerned citizens are reminded that January 15, 2018 is the Bureau of Land Management’s deadline for public comment on the Burning Man festival.

The BLM must gather public input as it prepares an Environmental Impact Statement on the event. The EIS is required before the agency can issue another ten year Special Recreation Permit for the festival in the spring of 2019. The current SRP expires after the 2018 festival.

Black Rock City LLC, organizer of the event, is requesting that the new SRP allow expansions beyond the current maximum of 70,000 paid participants to a maximum population from 80,000 to 100,000 people on the playa, including ticket-holders, staff, contractors and volunteers.

To accommodate the larger crowd, BRC is also asking the BLM to expand the closure area. Some of the festival’s main attractions are the burning of massive structures, including a giant wooden effigy during the climax of the event. One Burning Man participant died at the 2017 event after he broke through multiple lines of security and leaped into the conflagration.

Nudity and drugs are not uncommon, making the event controversial in a conservative, rural county. Urban areas in Washoe and Lyon County benefit economically from the event while Pershing County supplies much of the law enforcement, incarceration and other services.

The 2013 Comprehensive Festival Ordinance Waiver, Law Enforcement and Settlement Agreement between BRC and Pershing County limits BRC’s costs for county services according to event attendance and integrated versus separate law enforcement command.

The ten-year agreement has become an ongoing source of contention between county law enforcement and festival officials. Even as the festival expands in 2019 and beyond, law enforcement payments to the county are restricted until the agreement expires in 2023.

Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen contends that the festival requires year-round attention and much more than eight days of county law enforcement services due to accidents and crime that occur during the weeks of set up, tear down and clean up before and after the event.

BRC officials respond that law enforcement activities outside the eight day festival are not included in the settlement agreement and are part of the normal costs of county government.

BRC has refused to pay an invoice for $39,959.20 submitted to the county by Sheriff Allen for county law enforcement costs due to activities before and after the 2016 Burning Man event. BRC General Counsel Raymond Allen argued that those expenses were covered in a total payment to the county of $243,964.92, per the settlement agreement.

“The decision to allocate $182,221.83 to the Sheriff out of the total amount that BRC paid to the County in 2016 was an exercise of the County’s sole and absolute discretion under Section 4.1 of the Agreement and was presumably based on what the Commissioners determined to be the cost of supplying ‘reasonable law enforcement services needed’ for the 2016 event,” Ray Allen stated in a letter to the county. “If the Sheriff’s Office disagreed with the Commission and decided to spend more than the amount that was allocated by the Commission, that decision had no effect whatsoever on BRC’s payment obligations under the Agreement.”

Sheriff Allen and other county law enforcement officials say they have confiscated guns inside the festival and question the ability of BRC’s gatekeepers to keep weapons out of the event.

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada, that should reduce citations issued at the event, Burning Man Political Affairs Manager Marnee Benson said in a letter to the county.

In 2016, 62 of the 152 PCSO citations issued in connection with the Burning Man event were for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana,” Benson stated in a February 1, 2017 letter.

“That is to say, 41 percent of Pershing’s citations were issued for conduct that is now legal in Nevada. We expect this will free up a significant amount of time and budget for PCSO in 2017.” [the arrest statistics for 2017 indicate otherwise – Ed.]

In his written comments on the event submitted to the BLM, Lovelock resident David Skelton said if Burning Man expands, it will be an increasing burden on Pershing County taxpayers.

As Burning Man provides no economic benefit to Pershing County, to the contrary, if Burning Man left Pershing County and went elsewhere, there would then be an economic benefit, due to cost reduction,” Skelton said. “There are multiple locations the event can be held on either public or private lands outside of Pershing County.”

Written comments on the Burning Man SRP should be emailed by Jan. 15, 2018 to blm_nv_burningmaneis@blm.gov or mailed to the following address:

Attention: Burning Man Event SRP EIS

BLM Winnemucca District Office, 5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd., Winnemucca, NV 89445.

28 comments on “2017 Crime Scorecard

  1. Burning Man is trying to expand the number of people that can experience the event. They are negotiating that with the BLM. That will require a massive upgrade of the current infrastructure which is bending under the weight of the current population. That will require money. As you point out, the extra money is in the bank, not in the pockets of the founders. That money is there to fund expansion. They are being responsible. The founders don’t even have access to that money if they wanted it. The founders have always said the intellectual property will be gifted to the community once they are convinced the board will not try to exploit it for financial gain. The founders have had the opportunity to exploit it for years now. How many Burning Man tee shirts have you purchased from the founders? If they are in it for the money, why are they refusing to take advantage of the opportunity to cash in. As for Fly Ranch, have you bothered to tour the ranch? If you had you would know it is not a suitable place to hold an event of 100k people. I believe they did hold a much smaller event years ago at a place nearer to Fly Ranch. That is not what the event is now.

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  2. It is a shame that many of the police view Burners solely as targets, of both the Pershing County Sheriff Deputies, and of the BLM Rangers. Most Burners are of the belief they have white privilege, but, in Black Rock City, and, in particular, on Gate Road near to Greeters, and near to the crowds at the 10:00 and 2:00 sound camps, white Burners have no more privilege than black people in Ferguson, Missouri, most especially in due of a sheriff whose beliefs are most similar to sheriffs within the U.S. South of the 1950s and 1960s.

    In regards to the chart on Sales (drugs), I am curious as to which drug was the 105 within August, and the 46 within September. Might it have been, in actuality, possession of marijuana of higher than one ounce, of which the police termed it for sale in due of the amount, most especially upon Gate Road, of which it is easy peasy for the police dogs to smell the marijuana within the stops of vehicles the police desire to target? Many people know of what is occurring, my belief is the Borg, and their social media crew, must permit discussion upon this issue, purposed for Burners to protect themselves from being targeted by the police for arrest. Might any Burner desire to comment with the information upon what, in actuality, is occurring?

    In regards of the payments to Pershing County and their police, within the contract is Burning Man is to pay Pershing County the costs of the police, their court, and their prison for ten, or fifteen, specific crimes, in addendum of the $243,964.92 paid to Pershing County. My belief is, thusly, the police are arresting Burners, in place of solely a citation and a plea bargain for littering for near to $700, in due of the bigger cash payments to them and their mates in Pershing County.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks ABP, I agree, the incentives are skewed against Burners – and for what? $50k? For the sake of just 50 Commodification Camp tickets, BMorg increases the risk for the 90%+ of Burners who take illegal drugs at Burning Man.

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      • How exactly is bmorg doing that? You think if the org gave into the sheriff’s extortion he wouldn’t come back for more. How many of those arrests actually improve public safety as opposed to promoting a conservative agenda. How mush money would it cost the county if all they worried about at Burning Man was public safety and violent crime. Giving into these extortionists is what would put the community in danger.

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        • The same situation has been going on for years. There is plenty BMorg could do, including moving the event to the $7 million ranch they were just gifted. Or just shut up and give the Sheriff another couple of hundred grand. They have increased ticket prices to $1200 and revenues to more than $40 million, why shouldn’t the local authorities taste some of that? Pay The Man the money and let the Burners party in peace.

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          • Burning Man does not have an extra couple hundred grand lying around. No one is getting rich off of Burning Man. You tried for years to prove that and failed, even once the figures were all publicly available. Turns out it cost s shit ton of money to create the infrastructure for a city of 80,000 people. Who knew. Paying off the sheriff for a service we don’t need will only encourage him to continue his extortion and put more Burners at risk. Fly Ranch is not a suitable place to hold the event and was never intended to be a place for the event to take place. The playa is public land intended to be put to public use. We are the public and we use the land responsibly with care to create something beautiful.

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          • You are outing yourself as a complete liar, like most of the Burning Man organization you seem to represent. As you point out, we have publicly available figures now. The most recent available information shows that BMorg has $8.5 million cash sitting in the bank, and added $1.5 million to their stack between 2015 and 2016.

            So $200k to pay off the cops is nothing to them.

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          • He might be correct in regards of Burning Man does not have an extra couple hundred grand lying around, after the Burning Man Project buys the Burning Man trademarks, and other IP of the history of Burning Man, from the six BMOrg members, my belief is we should learn of this in the near future. That might be the rationale of why they pay jack shit from their near to $40 million of ticket revenues towards the costs of the artists, and the rationale of why they pay the DPW workers whom build the city, and clean the playa, jack shit.

            They even desire the Burning Man community to donate $143,600 dollars, towards the Burning Man Project, to construct the 2018 temple in due of they do not desire to pay the costs of the 2018 temple from their precious cash.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Burning Man is trying to expand the number of people that can experience the event. They are negotiating that with the BLM. That will require a massive upgrade of the current infrastructure which is bending under the weight of the current population. That will require money. As you point out, the extra money is in the bank, not in the pockets of the founders. That money is there to fund expansion. They are being responsible. The founders don’t even have access to that money if they wanted it. The founders have always said the intellectual property will be gifted to the community once they are convinced the board will not try to exploit it for financial gain. The founders have had the opportunity to exploit it for years now. How many Burning Man tee shirts have you purchased from the founders? If they are in it for the money, why are they refusing to take advantage of the opportunity to cash in. As for Fly Ranch, have you bothered to tour the ranch? If you had you would know it is not a suitable place to hold an event of 100k people. I believe they did hold a much smaller event years ago at a place nearer to Fly Ranch. That is not what the event is now.

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          • No capital is required to expand the population. All the equipment is rented, the workers are volunteers.

            The purpose of the Burning Man Project is Social Engineering, not financial gain.

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          • Sneaky. You showed your hand at the end there. “The purpose of the Burning Man project is not financial gain”. In other words you’ve been saying for years people were getting rich off of Burning Man and now that the world can see you are full of shit, you change your tune.

            “The purpose is social engineering”. Well no duh! What gave it away? All those thousands of people saying they go to Burning Man so they can learn how to change the world, bring the principles into everyday life. Did you think this was some kind of secret? All counter-cultures exist to change the world as they see it.

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        • In case you have issues with math and finance (surprising) it takes capital to rent stuff. If you have more people you have to rent more stuff. More stuff costs more money. I know that sounds terribly complicated.

          Like

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