Each year, Las Vegas is the destination for millions of visitors, attracted by the glamorous nightlife and entertainment. We welcome all of them. Without our visitors, Sin City would be less dynamic and a whole lot less fun.
However, many visitors express concerns about safety. In particular, they want to know which neighborhoods they should avoid and which hotels are the safest. We offer many Las Vegas safety resources but also want to summarize some of what we’ve learned working in this city for more than 20 years.
Many visitors come to visit one of the many casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. Generally speaking, the Strip is a pretty safe place, even at night. There are so many people out and it is very well lit, so it is risky for a criminal to commit a violent crime. The Strip also has a strong police presence.
However, you should always be aware of your surroundings. In particular, pay attention to pickpockets. For men, this means putting your wallet in your pants front pocket or, ideally, in the front pocket of your shirt. Women should wear purses diagonally so they are harder to pull off.
We also recommend not going out at night carrying every credit card you’ve ever owned. Some people carry 5 credit cards, a debit card, along with their Social Security card and other important documents in their wallets. If a thief steals your wallet, you lose all of them. Instead, maybe head out with one debit card. In case your wallet is stolen, the thief will have access to fewer bank accounts.
Also, watch where you are going. With so many pedestrians, some jostling occurs. People have slipped or tripped and fallen. Always look around and never walk with your nose stuck in a phone.
If you are headed off the Strip, then you should pay attention to the relative safety of the neighborhood. Admittedly, Las Vegas has a higher violent crime rate than the nation. Avoiding many neighborhoods is best, if possible.
Specifically, north of the Encore resort on The Strip can be unsafe, especially at night. If you need to go there, we recommend taking transportation instead of walking.
There has also been an uptick in crime near McCarran International Airport and near the University of Nevada Las Vegas. These places are generally very busy, but there are many incidents of vandalism and theft. If you park a car there, we recommend storing valuables in the trunk, so they are out of sight.
Gang activity is also a problem on the city’s west side. There are more shootouts here, especially in the evening, so avoid the west side unless you have no choice.
Another popular spot in Vegas is Fremont Street, which is downtown. Fremont Street is also relatively safe because of the presence of so many businesses. They have an incentive to keep a close eye on crime and to employ security measures, such as hiring security in some cases. You should always exercise the same caution on Fremont Street as you do on The Strip.
There are many public transportation options in Vegas, especially when trying to get to the Strip from the airport or a hotel. You can take:
These options are generally safe. For example, the Monorail has cameras and security officers at each station. The bus system is also outfitted with cameras that will catch any criminal activity—after it happens, however.
Don’t linger in parking lots or other dark spaces and walk with a purpose to your destination. Ideally, walk in a group since there is safety in numbers.
When paying a taxicab, have your money and tip out. Don’t fumble with your wallet, exposing it to people on the sidewalk. One advantage of using a rideshare company is that you can pay with a credit card. Uber has also added a 911 button on its app, so you can call for emergency help if you feel unsafe during your ride.
Some people like to ride a bicycle around the city. We never want to dissuade people from getting physical exercise, but we must issue a warning. Only use a bicycle that has been properly maintained and always wear a helmet. Las Vegas streets are often congested and bump and runs do happen.
Many people drive into the city or rent a car once they arrive. Long-time residents are familiar with the traffic and can be aggressive. One joke is that anyone going only 20 miles over the speed limit is going too slow. That might be an exaggeration, but not too much of one. Traffic in the Strip is congested almost at all hours, so you will probably be going slowly there.
Of course, your safety depends on your actions also. If you don’t feel comfortable driving in a city, don’t drive in Vegas. There are ample public transportation options discussed above. If you do drive, remember to follow traffic rules and avoid making any aggressive action. Stay focused on driving. You should also have your car serviced before driving into Vegas, since breaking down increases the odds of physical injury, even violent attack.
Do You Have Any Safety Tips for Women?
Whether visiting the city alone or in a group, women do face specific safety challenges. Women should always be extra vigilant.
For example, if a group decides to take a cab, try to get all women in one. Ideally, one woman will not be left alone to ride in a cab by herself. Cabs are hard to track—much harder than a rideshare vehicle like Lyft or Uber. Some women report feeling unsafe when traveling in a cab alone, especially at night.
If you are out drinking, never accept a drink from a stranger. Someone could drop a sedative or “date rape” drug into your drink. Always watch your drink and hand it over to the bartender if you are suspicious of whether someone has put something in it. If possible, drink only non-alcoholic beverages so you always remain mentally alert.
Also, guard your privacy. Never tell strangers what hotel you are staying at or the room number. Don’t acknowledge that you are traveling alone (even if you are).
Consuming recreational marijuana is also legal in Las Vegas now, but treat it like you would alcohol. You could lose consciousness or the ability to think clearly, so don’t toke up with strangers.
Ladah Law has helped countless visitors injured in various accidents. Our team can fight for compensation to cover your expenses. Call 702-252-0055 to schedule a consultation.
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