Las Vegas is one of the most popular nightlife destinations for people of all ages. While its nickname is Sin City, it’s also known to tourists as the ultimate playground and one of the world’s entertainment capitals.
From incredible museums, shows, and interactive activities to world-renowned restaurants and hotels, Vegas has it all, no matter your age. As a city that operates 24 hours a day and seven days a week, Vegas has developed its own contained culture on the Sunset Strip, where tourists have access to everything they could need and never have to leave it.
Outside the Strip, there’s also downtown Vegas, the most popular area being Fremont Street, where casinos and affordable rooms are the central attraction.
However, with so many people visiting from all over the world, plenty of alcohol that is readily available, and a lot of money being exchanged, is Las Vegas safe? Here’s our take.
Is Las Vegas Safe to Visit in 2023?
Yes. Las Vegas is safe to visit, provided you exercise common sense and stay in tourist areas, like the Strip and, to a lesser degree, Fremont Street downtown.
Safety has dramatically increased in Las Vegas as stores, casinos, and entertainment centers have continued to use the most advanced high-tech security and monitoring systems to dissuade theft, robbery, and violence inside and outside their buildings.
There has been a loosening and then elimination of COVID-19 mask restrictions and health advisories as of February 2022. There are also currently no specific travel advisories for the state of Nevada.
Still, Canada’s advisory for visiting the United States gave it a low-risk rating and advised tourists to undergo the expected level of precautions.
While some aspects of violent crime in Las Vegas decreased in 2021 from past years, tourists should be aware that crime in the area is roughly 30 incidences per 1000 residents. This level of crime is almost twice the national average and places Las Vegas as a place to exercise caution when visiting.
While theft is one of the most common crimes on the Strip and in the more tourist-frequented areas, other areas that are of concern in Las Vegas include the possibility for:
- Armed robbery
- Motor vehicle theft
- Extreme heat in the summer
- General violent crime
Due to the amount of money that moves around in Las Vegas, financial crimes like scams, fake lotteries, never giving promised prizes, and violent crimes related to robbery are the most significant issues.
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Crime in Las Vegas
The most common crime in Las Vegas is theft of property. Whether it’s classified as robbery or motor vehicle theft, it makes up 84% of the crimes reported to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 2021.
It’s a crime that is usually quick to complete, and often victims don’t realize until later in the day that they have been the victim targeted.
As one of the world’s entertainment capitals, Las Vegas has all the ingredients necessary to make tourists easy marks for thieves or more violent crimes. Alcohol, drugs, the adrenaline from gambling, and a lack of sleep mean you may not be on top of your game or thinking clearly.
Thanks to a large amount of alcohol consumed, people often let down their defenses or act in ways they would consider reckless if they were sober in Las Vegas.
If you are distracted and inebriated, it allows people to come in and take your money, vehicles, and jewelry with little effort.
The promise of large sums of money through gambling and gaming often gives people more money and excitement than they’re used to. The bells and seeming generosity of casinos can lead you to flaunt how much you have, which others can steal.
Thieves in Vegas are fearless in coming up to a tourist and either chatting your money away or offering to sell you something. This tactic is common, especially at night near nightclubs, where they have no intention of following through with their promise.
Many criminals that work in Las Vegas aren’t stealing because they live below the poverty line. They’re doing so because Vegas is a good hunting ground to get money or belongings quickly that they can then take to one of the many pawn shops to turn around for cash.
Because robbery in various forms is a widespread crime in Las Vegas, the most important tip for staying safe is to stick to crowded tourist areas whenever possible.
These areas have the most security and the best video coverage and have been designed to be safe. Criminals often look for the easiest target and focus on inebriated individuals, people who are alone, and people who appear to be lost.
When you’re moving through crowds on the Strip or Fremont Street, keep your purse close, and if you’re worried that someone has stolen your possessions, wait to check your pockets or wallet until after you’ve moved to a more secure location to avoid drawing further attention to you.
Recently, with the pandemic forcing thieves to become more desperate, hotel room robberies have become more frequent. Criminals check the doors to see if they’re locked, especially after receiving room service, and may enter after the occupants are asleep.
Driving or taking a cab can reduce the risk of being pickpocketed but no matter how you move from place to place, always be aware of your surroundings, and when indoors, note where cameras and exits are in casinos and hotels.
Alcohol and drug use is again one of the culprits in the high level of assault present in Las Vegas. Much like when it earned its name Sin City in the 1930s, people still visit the Strip to escape their problems at home and to indulge in activities they would never have there.
Of course, those people end up creating more problems in Nevada. Nevada has a sexual assault rate that is the fifth-highest in the United States, and it can occur anywhere, although nightclubs and bars are prime locations.
Criminals slip drugs into drinks, make false promises or offer to get you into exclusive events if you join them for a drink or pay a small fee.
While women are the most likely to be targeted, all genders can experience sexual assault. You should only accept drinks from people you know, stay in groups to look after each other, and move clubs if a specific person doesn’t want to leave you alone.
Never leave your drink unattended outside; if possible, order drinks from bars and vendors that include a lid and straw to protect it further.
If, for some reason, you start to feel strange such as lightheaded or very unsteady on your feet even though you have just started drinking, alert a bartender or security personnel to help you.
Avoiding Bad Areas
In some parts of downtown Vegas, people may ask you for money or offer to sell you something in exchange for cash. You can respond politely with “I’m a local,” and often, this is enough for them to move on or leave you alone.
The less touristy you look, the less likely you will be a target. Day or night, try to avoid any dark place or anywhere with only a few people present.
Never stray more than a block to either side of Fremont Street downtown, and don’t go north of Highway 95 on the strip unless you’re in a vehicle. It’s advisable to avoid West Las Vegas due to its high level of drug and gang activity located northwest of the Strip.
Many locals and other tourists will recommend the Stratosphere; it’s a big tower at the end of the strip, which is a safe area primarily free of problems.
Anything further north can be an issue and dangerous if you’re on foot. Naked City, the area behind the Stratosphere, has many people who live far below the poverty line, meaning there is a high chance of theft, assault, or carjacking.
Other areas that may pose a significant risk because of a high crime and unemployment rate are:
- Charleston Heights
- East Las Vegas
- Some areas outside Fremont Street downtown
While not every area will be dangerous 100% of the time, and there are plenty of reasons to want to visit new places, it’s essential to know the risks and take the necessary steps to keep yourself safe.
Things to Consider
When you visit Las Vegas, it’s vital to have a few pointers to keep yourself safe.
- It’s prudent to travel by car, taxi, or public transit at night rather than walking.
- Move in groups whenever possible.
- Research your hotel ahead of time and look for reviews regarding how safe people feel in the hotel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Las Vegas being safe.
What is the safest part of Vegas?
The Strip is one of the safest parts of Vegas. Even at night, the Strip is brightly lit and full of people, both tourists and locals alike.
With so many people there to witness them, committing a crime, even a non-violent one, is less appealing. With so many people putting money into the Las Vegas economy, the Strip demands a higher police presence.
Is the Las Vegas Strip safe during the day?
Yes, provided you use common sense and exercise caution while visiting. Stay in areas with large amounts of people, and don’t lets others convince you to go to a location off the beaten path by yourself.
Also, avoid advertising how much money you’re carrying and keep expensive jewelry out of sight to avoid becoming a target for pickpockets.
What should you not wear in Vegas?
Depending on what you’re doing, you’ll want to avoid certain clothes to ensure you can get in. For casinos, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars, it’s best to avoid flip-flops, sandals, and other casual footwear.
Formal events like expensive shows and many popular nightclubs will generally have an advertised dress code. Still, avoiding sportswear like sneakers, baseball caps, visors, jerseys, shorts, tank tops, and baseball caps is safe.
Is Las Vegas Downtown safe?
Although the Strip is well-lit and populated, downtown Las Vegas is more dangerous after dark. The city recently added more security and more frequent patrols by local police to address the problem, and violent crime has been less frequent than in 2021.
For general safety, areas outside Fremont Street, the central street downtown, can be dangerous areas to be by yourself after the sun goes down. For the best chance of safety, stick to Fremont Street if you want to head downtown after dark.
Why is Vegas called Sin City?
Las Vegas earned its nickname Sin City in the 1930s thanks to a large amount of criminal activity like prostitution and shady business practices like money laundering that used to happen there alongside its association with the Mob. Vegas was where many people believed that anyone who wanted to could commit any sinful activity.
What is the safest part of Vegas?
Aside from the Strip and Fremont Street, tourists can visit Summerlin and The Lakes. They’re less known to tourists but still have plenty to do, and most locals would prefer to keep to themselves.
Book Your Trip to Las Vegas Today!
Las Vegas is a safe and fun place to visit for the whole family. It has plenty to see and do for people of all ages. Provided you are careful and exercise common sense while you’re there, you shouldn’t have any problems.
And if you do, there are security personnel and police which you can approach for help. It’s a destination best enjoyed in a group, but don’t let the free-flowing alcohol and gambling take your eye away from your wallet.
So what are you waiting for — book your trip to Las Vegas today!