as Vegas police have been responding to an increase of crime on the Strip since most of the casinos reopened in June, and some hotel-casino properties have updated and reinforced security measures in response, including Wynn and Cosmopolitan.
According to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police spokesman Lt. Larry Hatfield, officers made about 85 arrests on the Strip between October 9 and 10, FOX5 reports. In that same time period, officers made about 700 stops. According to Hatfield, this is a proactive measure where people or vehicles are stopped for probable cause of a crime or reasonable suspicion.
The department has added extra resources to curb crime on the Strip, including up to 100 officers patrolling the area "at times," Hatfield said. On Saturday, police said a man was attacked by a group of unknown people near The Mirage. The following night, a man was shot by another in front of Planet Hollywood's Miracle Mile Shops. The suspects in those cases are still outstanding. These were the two most recent incidents on the Strip, which have become commonplace in recent months.
#DEVELOPING: @LVMPD says a man was shot tonight near the Miracle Mile Shops on the #LasVegas Strip, but he’s expected to be okay. This is part of a recent uptick in violence near the Strip. Details on how police & hotels are stepping up security, tonight on @8NewsNow at 11. #8NN pic.twitter.com/MnR8IFhDrn— Orko Manna (@orko_manna) October 12, 2020
On Monday, MGM's spokesperson said: “We have a highly trained security team that closely monitors occupancy and evaluates security staffing levels on a weekly basis. We work closely with Metro as they work diligently to reduce crime both on the Strip and off and are constantly evolving our security policies and procedures. We don’t believe that recent high-profile incidents are reflective of Las Vegas and the safety of our properties on the Strip.”
Visitors to the resorts on and near the Las Vegas Strip may notice some changes related to security on weekends. The Cosmopolitan, Wynn and Encore have new security protocols in place for the weekends, each with a brief security screening upon entry, among a few other changes as well.
“If people don’t feel safe, that will have a huge impact, and people are going to stay away,” UNLV Gaming Historian David G. Schwartz said, as reported by KSNV. “So, I think at this point, it is prudent to explore beefing up security.” Schwartz said outside of special events, he doesn’t remember a time where security checks were the norm on the Strip. He anticipates heightened security protocols be the temporary norm for a little while until the situation settles down.
“It’s hard to say how long it will be. I know that after 9/11, a lot of the casinos had much more careful vehicle screenings in their garages just because of that potential threat, and eventually, that got relaxed for most of the properties,” he said. “We may see something similar, where there is more vigilance, but if it the incidents subside, they may ratchet down the pressure a little bit.”
At the Westgate Resort and Casino, the Vice President of Public Relations & Community Affairs Gordon Prouty told News 3 they may look to increase the visibility of their security. “With the situation and the recent incidents on the Strip, we’re looking at other options. We’re open to anything that’s going to keep our guests safer,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that go on behind the scenes at all our properties, whether it’s surveillance or things that security is doing that are unseen to the guests. But right now, it’s important that we’re making it more visible, because people not only need to feel safe when they arrive, but we also want to make sure that people who may want to cause trouble are aware that we are watching very carefully.”
They have security personnel strategically placed throughout the property, including the entrances where guests go through a temperature check, as well as the exits, according to Prouty. “But we also have multiple security people just to keep an eye on the crowd and make sure that we’re watching everybody, and if they see any behavior that looks a little suspect, they’re alerting the other security guards that are in place, too,” he said. “We also make sure that we have a security presence as people are exiting. So, if they notice any behavior that we should keep an eye on, they can alert the security that is outside the property to be aware and being constantly on watch.”
Prouty explained a proactive measure their team takes is to monitor social media. “We’ve found that’s been effective, because if you see that Westgate is being mentioned – whether it’s a party or a large group – that gives our security team a heads up to be on the lookout, and we’ve had some success with that as well,” he said.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) provided News 3 with this statement, attributed to President and CEO Steve Hill: “2020 has been anything but normal. The pandemic has caused a temporary rise in crime throughout the country and Metro and our resort partners have responded and worked in concert to quickly make adjustments that discourage criminal behavior. Resort partners increased their security protocols and over the past month, Metro’s strengthened presence on the Strip has reduced aggravated assaults by 30%. We have not seen an impact to visitation nor have our resort partners. We’re all fiercely protective of our destination and committed to ensuring that Las Vegas continues to be a destination where visitors can come, enjoy all we have to offer and feel safe.”
The Cosmopolitan hotel-casino in Las Vegas has implemented several new security features, which started Friday. Every Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., the hotel will allow entry only to those with reservations in the hotel or at a restaurant or to rewards members. All guests will be checked with metal detectors, according to a statement from the hotel.
Specific doors are now designated for entry and exit and the doors will be monitored by Metropolitan Police Department officers. All bags will be checked and glass or “oversized alcoholic beverages” cannot be brought into the facility, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
“The Cosmopolitan holds itself to the highest standard in creating a safe and welcoming environment for all of its guests and employees,” the hotel said in a statement.
Earlier this year, there was a stabbing near The Cosmopolitan and a shooting across the street from the hotel.