Gangs, Out-of-Town Visitors Contribute to Las Vegas Strip Violence: Police

Posted on: October 7, 2020, 01:24h. 

Last updated on: October 7, 2020, 02:39h.

Police are blaming much of the recent local increase in violence on the Las Vegas Strip and other areas on out-of-town visitors and gang members. In response, city and county law authorities have beefed up police presence on the Strip and other tourist areas.

Las Vegas Strip
Police officers investigate a recent violent incident on the Las Vegas Strip. An increase in shootings on the Strip has led to beefed-up police patrols. (Image: KLAS-TV)

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Dori Koren said this week “a good portion” of the violence is coming from people who don’t live in Nevada. He also said authorities are noting an increase in gang members who are not from the Silver State, according to news accounts.

At a Clark County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Koren spoke about recent violence in Las Vegas.

We are noticing an increase in gang members from other states. We’re noticing an increase in robberies, stabbings, shootings that are happening from individuals from out of state,” Koren said, according to KSNV-TV.

Several recent shootings and fights on or near the Strip have led to a beefed-up police presence in what police are calling Operation Persistent Pressure. The combined city-county police department, known locally as Metro, also has put into place a program called Operation Top Gun. The firearms initiative has resulted in police confiscating 63 illegal guns in August on the Strip and nearby areas, according to news accounts.

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said religious and youth leaders he has spoken with are concerned about out-of-town people “coming into the community, wreaking a lot of havoc, and then hopping back on a plane.”

“After the smoke clears, we’re left with the carnage,” he said.

Additional Security

At least one hotel-casino company is stepping up security at its Las Vegas properties. Wynn Resorts is adding a K-9 team and other security measures at Wynn Las Vegas and the Encore hotel-casinos on the Strip. Beginning this week, guards will scan visitors for metal objects and search handheld bags.

A large fight in early September at the Encore resulted in an estimated $15,000 in damage. A company spokesman said Wynn Resorts would raise room rates and add additional security measures. The company filed a lawsuit against 20 unknown people in the melee at the Encore.

Most of Nevada’s largest casinos are on the Las Vegas Strip, which is outside Las Vegas city limits. The Strip includes about 20 resorts in a three-mile stretch from the Sahara hotel-casino at the northern end to Mandalay Bay at the southern end. Mandalay Bay is near McCarran International Airport.

Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered casinos statewide to close in March as COVID-19 rates spiked. He allowed them to reopen June 4.

Recent Violence

At the County Commission meeting, Koren said most of the shooting suspects involved in recent gun incidents on the Strip have been caught or identified, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

One recent arrest occurred following a late-night shooting on Sept. 27 on the sidewalk between the LINQ and Flamingo hotel-casinos.

The incident began when five to 10 men started fighting, authorities said. One man pulled out a handgun and fired a shot that struck the victim in the torso. The victim was hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

After the shooting, the Flamingo was locked down for about three hours as police searched for a suspect. Several hours later, authorities arrested two 19-year-old men in California, about 95 miles southwest of Las Vegas.