Fremont Street Experience Bumps Up Security on Weekends

Following a couple of shootings on Fremont Street Experience, the tourist destination is taking steps to quell concerns about safety.

Basically, Fremont Street Experience is expanding its First Friday security to all weekends for the foreseeable future.

Visitors to Fremont Street Experience on weekends will have to do the whole metal detector and bag check rigamarole, a word we’re pretty sure hasn’t been used since 1986.

Fremont Street Experience is our home away from home. If jackweeds could stop trying to ruin it, that’d be great.

There will also be a stepped-up security presence, beyond the Fremont Street Experience security force. You know, actual law enforcement.

There are typically six Metro officers and three undercover officers on Fremont on a typical night, we are told, but we saw many more than that following last week’s shooting (July 4, 2022). In that incident, one person was injured. There was a fatality and injury in the previous shooting (June 9, 2022).

The security measures will include a curfew for minors. There’s already one in place for certain times, but this will presumably expand the ages of the curfew from 18 and younger to those younger than 21.

Guests younger than 21 won’t be allowed on Fremont Street without a parent or guardian. It’s unclear when this new curfew will be implemented.

Fremont Street Experience (where we used to work in digital marketing) hasn’t issued an official news release about the changes yet, nor are answers to our myriad questions forthcoming so far.

Whenever we don’t understand something, we tend to be snarky. It’s just our way.

Beyond the fact it’s weird to only do these security measures on weekends (definitely a budget-driven decision), we’re curious about how innumerable entrances to Fremont Street Experience (such as through the casinos and retail stores and restaurants) will be monitored.

It’s unclear where the access points to Fremont Street Experience will be, but in the past the checkpoints have been in the most visible spots, such as between the Fremont Street East district and Fremont Street Experience proper.

Details about the security upgrades were first shared by a popular Twitter account, Las Vegas Locally.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal confirmed the news, and failed to provide attribution for the story. Or, as we refer to it, “official editorial policy.” The Las Vegas Review-Journal is a world-class confirmer of stories first reported on Twitter, trust us.

Authorities seem at a loss to explain the recent incidents, but we explained the reasons in-depth in a recent article, “Here’s Why Tipping is Down, Gambling’s Up and People Are Acting Like Jerks.” The quick version: It’s fallout from the pandemic. Read more.

There hasn’t really been an explosion of crime on Fremont Street. There are a lot of people, and there’s a small fraction of those people who are idiots. It’s irksome the rest of us have to go through security because of their dumbassery, but that’s a reality of our world today.

Ultimately, Fremont Street Experience is in a no-win situation.

If they write these incidents off as isolated boneheadery (as we do), they’ll take the heat for changing perceptions of downtown (and what could be a decline in visitation resulting from that change in perception).

If they clamp down a lot, the cost would be prohibitive and guests are sure to be annoyed and not visit.

So, Fremont Street Experience is trying to find some middle ground.

It’s security theater, but that’s often enough to deter trouble-makers.

It’s why Circa checks I.D.s. Circa is a 21-plus casino, but their security procedure also prevents any number of other problems because thugs don’t like to show identification.

Fremont Street draws a lot of people. Some are miscreants. Good luck finding a place with this many people that’s miscreant-free.

A complicating factor with security on Fremont Street Experience is it’s a public street.

That’s an ongoing challenge, but it’s also part of what makes FSE such a glorious shitshow.

Private promenades, like The Park and Linq promenade, can curate buskers and more easily control access to their venues.

Another challenge is staff security at Fremont Street Experience isn’t particularly well-compensated, so there’s a lot of turnover and experienced security officers are hard to come by.

A security officer at Fremont Street Experience earns about $14 an hour. By comparison, we recently heard the ABC Store on Fremont Street posted a “Now Hiring” sign with an hourly wage of $15.50. FSE security often gets poached by casinos because they pay slightly better, and those security guards don’t have to deal with nearly as much nonsense as FSE guards do. You have no idea, trust us. FSE might seem like a party, but wow, the level of WTF is off-the-charts and FSE security guards don’t have the same tools law enforcement does, which doesn’t give them much authority when dealing with people intent on causing problems.

Yes, this is a T-shirt we made. Yes, this photo was taken on Fremont Street. Yes, you are jelly.

While the recent security changes are largely symbolic, symbolism is needed at the moment.

We’ve been watching FSE for years, and have reported a number of incidents, but the fallout feels different this time.

We’re hearing chatter from many more people concerned about safety, many saying they won’t visit downtown until the situation is rectified. We aren’t entirely sure these one-off crimes are fixable, as they often escalate so quickly, a platoon of National Guardspersons couldn’t prevent them.

Still, a heavier police presence can’t hurt. Well-trained law enforcement can identify and squash problems before they become problems.

Anticipate more po-po at FSE.

Gang activity is always a problem on First Friday, so having the Gangs Vice Bureau more involved could help a lot.

We have personally never felt unsafe at Fremont Street Experience. Crime can happen anywhere.

Our “paper of record” is reporting “aggravated assaults and robberies are up this year,” but if you dig down, it’s overblown. The increases are from seven to 11 robberies, and 34 to 39 aggravated assaults.

Not exactly an epidemic of crime, despite the whimsical narrative.

Just do what you always do. Be aware of your surroundings, and be nice to the people you encounter on Fremont Street. The recent incidents were the result of testosterone-fueled chest-bumping. Liquor, of course, flows freely on Fremont, so that often adds fuel to the fire when conflicts arise.

You can be carefree while remaining vigilant, and there’s no reason to deprive yourself of your happy place because of some jerks behaving badly.

Fremont Street Experience is absolutely our happy place, and we would never let such childish goofballery ruin our good time or deter us from hanging out with thousands of revelers having the time of their lives.

If you see a line at the metal detector checkpoint, just walk a block north or south and go through a casino. That’s where most of the fun is, anyway.