Las Vegas Police on High Alert for New Year’s Eve Despite Smaller Crowds

Posted on: December 30, 2020, 11:55h. 

Last updated on: December 30, 2020, 12:12h.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) says that while New Year’s Eve festivities are greatly toned down in Southern Nevada this year, its police presence will be as active as ever.

Las Vegas police New Year's Eve
Las Vegas will be much different this New Year’s Eve, but not in terms of police on the Strip and downtown. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Law enforcement gathered with the media yesterday to explain the police department’s preparations for the upcoming ringing in of 2021. And while Las Vegas is expecting a crowd of only 200,000 people for New Year’s Eve — far fewer than last year’s 330,000-person gathering — Metro is taking its usual steps to assure a safe Strip and downtown.

People are going to come and it’s our job to keep them as safe as possible,” explained LVMPD Deputy Chief Kelly McMahill.

The Christmas Day bombing in Nashville, which law agencies believe was carried out by a single man who sought more physical destruction than loss of life, is added reason for Metro to stay on high alert regardless of less people.

“We’re very aware of what happened in Nashville. While it seems to be one man that acted by himself, we never chance anything,” McMahill added. “We are doing several protective sweeps in the days leading up to New Year’s, as well as that night on the Strip and downtown.”

Strip Safety Protocols

As is typically the case for New Year’s Eve, strollers, luggage, carts, large bags, and glass items are all prohibited on the Strip, per a Clark County ordinance.

Freeway off-ramps to the Strip will begin closing at 5 pm. Intersecting roads with the Strip will be barricaded with large security vehicles at 6:30 pm. The Strip will be closed from Mandalay Bay to Spring Mountain Road starting at 7:30 pm. That’s a smaller section than normal.

Metro says it will have 1,400 officers on patrol and ready to respond to incidents.

The only planned live fireworks show in the Las Vegas Valley will occur downtown at the Plaza Hotel. The Fremont Street Experience is charging a $25 admission fee, which the organization says is to cover security costs. There will be no live entertainment, and visitors will be required to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

New Year Welcomed

The celebration to end 2020 and ring in 2021 might not come with the fanfare of a typical New Year’s in Las Vegas. The traditional fireworks show lighting up the Strip is off, and casinos remain limited to 25 percent capacity inside.

Officials say vigilance today results in a celebration unlike any other in 2021.

We’re going to throw the biggest party the world has ever seen next year,” said Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft.

“For this year, we want to support our economy. We want to make sure everybody is able to celebrate in their own way. But for this year, do it with your close group of friends and family,” Naft added.