Visitors to the Fremont Street Experience will have to pass through metal detectors, bag checks and be subject to age requirements to enter the Las Vegas pedestrian mall in a new stage to curb rising violence .
Metal detectors, bag checks, a curfew for unaccompanied minors and 18-20 year olds and increased law enforcement presence will be used on weekends until further notice, officials say from Fremont Street Experience. The security measures come in response to the rise in aggravated assaults and a recent homicide at the downtown tourist site.
“The safety and security of our guests, employees and tenants has been and always will be our priority,” said Andrew Simon, president and CEO of Fremont Street Experience, in an emailed statement. ” Everything else is secondary. The incidents of the past week cannot and will not be tolerated. Our tourism, our jobs and our security will not be threatened by these actions. »
More violent crimes reported this year
Public safety officials have noticed an increase in violent crime in and around the five-block neighborhood, where visitors often gather to visit casinos, attend concerts, drink and admire the canopied video screen .
Metro Captain Hector Cintron, who leads downtown command for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said there have been 45 serious assaults reported so far in 2022, up from 27 so far l ‘last year. Five of them were firearm related and most of the others were related to injuries sustained in combat. And, there have been 20 thefts reported so far this year, compared to 14 this time in 2021.
Police are measuring crime related to the Fremont Street experience within the east-west boundaries of Eighth to Main streets and the north-south boundaries of US 95 to Bridger Avenue to include foot traffic to and from the attraction, Cintron said.
“We haven’t identified exactly what the difference is between last year and this year for specific individuals,” Cintron said. “We just seem to have a slight increase in violent crime there.”
Surveillance intensified this week, when shots were fired during a scuffle early Monday. And, a June 19 gunfight in the mall ended with a 16-year-old shooting and killing a man and injuring a bystander.
The Review-Journal looked at department data on reported crime investigations closer to the Fremont Street experience, including businesses leading to the pedestrian mall and one block east of the entrance from the mall, to Sixth Street, where visitors can continue walking to many other popular restaurants and bars.
This data shows that reported aggravated assaults and robberies are up so far this year compared to 2021. Metro investigated seven reported robberies in the first half of 2021 and four in the second half; he investigated from 11 to June of this year. The department has also investigated 34 serious assaults reported so far this year, up from 39 in 2021.
“Fremont Street Experience really does have thousands of people, especially on Friday and Saturday nights,” Cintron said. “The stages there have very large crowds around them. Alcohol consumption contributes to the loss of people’s ability to think rationally at any given time. And the majority of those calls stemmed from an altercation or a verbal exchange that could lead to a fight and that’s where we had that.
Metro launched an escalated incident plan Thursday night, Cintron said. This included more officers on site between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and more interaction between the Gang Unit, Homeland Saturation Team, and flex teams from other Area Commands.
Other Crime Deterrent
Earlier this week, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said she and Fremont Street stakeholders were considering increased safety measures at the attraction, including a potential curfew for anyone under 21 years old.
The city already has a curfew for anyone under 18. Minors cannot be accompanied between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. the next day from Sunday to Thursday and from midnight to 5 a.m. the next day on Fridays and Saturdays. City officials have confirmed that the curfew also applies to the Fremont Street Experience. The proposed expanded curfew would affect 18- to 20-year-olds and possibly have different hours, spokesman Jace Radke said.
Fremont Street officials support the expanded idea of the curfew as a city ordinance, which likely won’t apply to a minor with a parent or guardian or someone working legally at the attraction. Simon said the organization believes the proposal “will be essential in our efforts moving forward”.
In the meantime, Fremont Enhanced Security will not allow guests under 21 without a parent or guardian after 8 p.m. during special weekend events, Simon said.
It may be several weeks before a new city curfew takes effect, if at all. Goodman has asked the city attorney to review the idea, and a proposal must go through the city council before being approved.
Simon also noted that the attraction uses 300 cameras for surveillance within five blocks for security. FSE security guards carry HD cameras, he said, and the entity installed the “multimillion-dollar” Shotpoint system, a gunshot detection system, under the canopy in 2020.
To feel safe
Officials say the goal of an increased police presence is to have more officers available to respond to crowds or violence, and to make visitors feel safe downtown. Area business owners have been involved in safety planning. Derek Stevens, who runs three downtown casinos, said in a statement that he fully supports the coordinated action plan.
“There is no doubt that we will clean up Fremont Street,” Stevens, CEO of Circa, The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate, said in a statement.
Veronica Roque works at a kiosk selling bags and other paraphernalia to visitors to Fremont Street. She said she supported a greater law enforcement presence at night.
“I like it here, but sometimes it’s a bit dangerous,” Roque said, referring to recent gun violence and beggars. “I see a lot of security here all the time. Always when I ask for security, they are there with me. I have a number to call if anything happens, so I don’t have much to complain about.
Others worry about how officers might react or be perceived. Chase, a graphic designer at a Fremont Street kiosk who declined to share his last name, said he expects some people to feel uncomfortable with the police, even though he would personally feel safer. He said he supports solutions that address crowd control such as metal detectors and barriers.
Still, he worries that a sanitized Fremont street will lose its appeal because some visitors like the rowdy nature.
“I saw a fight just outside the gift shop here,” he said. “Someone choked someone and left them there. Then I saw tourists walking by, filming. I’m no better sitting here, but I don’t make a whole thing out of it on social media who thinks, ‘Oh, look what I saw in Las Vegas.’ »