Known as “Sin City” because of all the shenanigans that happen, it’s almost a guarantee that some aspects of Las Vegas can lead to safety issues.
As an epicenter for all your gambling desires and endless alcohol consumption, there are many opportunities for a troublesome behavior shift. But in general, is Las Vegas safe?
To help you better understand the city and its level of security, we have outlined the following travel tips and safety concerns for you as you plan your upcoming adventure. Continue reading to understand why the phrase “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” applies to the city in question.
Is Las Vegas Safe to Visit in 2022?
Compared to other cities of similar size and substance, Las Vegas is a safe place to visit. While many activities can cause increase the probability of dangerous situations occurring, there are also many systems in place that help to alleviate the severity of these instances.
However, certain elements can become problematic and that you need to watch out for when visiting the city. These acts range from petty theft to severe circumstances of human trafficking.
As one of the most common items of concern, because Las Vegas has a high tourism rate, many pickpocketers try to take advantage of travelers. This crime often happens in downtown Las Vegas due to the surplus of tourists and the crowded sidewalks and attractions.
Additionally, Las Vegas is a city that has legalized prostitution. You will also have drug sales in the areas where this service is typically offered. Because of this, there are sections of the city that you will want to avoid during your visit to provide the safest experience.
Alcohol is consumed in large quantities in Las Vegas. The city is the hub for many life celebrations, including birthdays, graduations, and bachelor/bachelorette parties.
Because of this, you will sometimes witness or be a part of disorderly or violent behavior. At times, there can be more severe events that take place. As a result of increased alcohol consumption, among many other elements, physical and sexual assault frequently occur.
These situations can arise during the celebrations listed above, or strangers can single visitors out and force activities upon them. Kidnapping can also happen, an act that primarily targets females and children.
Las Vegas is home to many different gangs. While some are local to the area, others were formed in other states and have branched off to Nevada.
An offshoot of the problems surrounding these groups is the rise in human trafficking in the state. Human trafficking and prostitution can intertwine in some situations. Not all workers are doing so willingly.
Even with the different situations that have happened in the city, the many tourists that visit each year have primarily done so without issue and have gone home with many memories made.
Crime in Las Vegas
Anywhere that tourists are, criminals will follow. This fact pertains to every city, state, and country. Las Vegas is no exception. The difference with Las Vegas is that it hosts over 32 million visitors each year, making it a sea of people not familiar with the area or their surroundings.
When you add in the mass amounts of drinking that come with a stay in Vegas, many people aren’t thinking as clearly as they typically would.
While an individual may have previously been hypervigilant about what is happening around them, alcohol will reduce that ability. Situations like this are what criminals look for when picking their victims.
Unfortunately, those who aren’t as focused as they should be are at an elevated risk. The criminal activity can consist of robbery, assault, rape, or kidnapping, among other heinous crimes.
Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods
Any city will inevitably have neighborhoods that are less safe than others. These are where you may find drug sales and use more frequently or gang activity taking place. Las Vegas is no exception and has several neighborhoods you should avoid as a tourist.
It’s worth noting that just because a location doesn’t appear on this list doesn’t mean it’s 100% safe. It would be best if you were on the lookout for suspicious activity when you’re out and about, no matter where you are.
Knowing which neighborhoods to avoid can best be done by speaking to the front desk staff at the hotel where you’re staying. The employees are local to the area and can give you insight into the best and worst places within the city.
With that being said, here are a few neighborhoods in Las Vegas that you should avoid as a tourist:
- East Las Vegas
- Meadows Village
- West Las Vegas
- Naked City
- Downtown Las Vegas
If you visit these neighborhoods, be sure you aren’t alone and have a fully charged cell phone and copies of your identifying information close to your person.
Out of all 50 states, Nevada is the only one that has legalized prostitution. Las Vegas has a massive number of sex workers downtown that will readily approach you while walking down the sidewalk.
Not only is this dangerous to those seeking services, but those performing them are left to fend for themselves in risky conditions. While you will see these individuals out during the day, the scene changes dramatically once nightfall hits.
This period is also when many festivities occur in the cities, with shows letting out and nightlife activities beginning. Because of that, the downtown areas are more populated, and the sidewalks are more congested.
Unless being out on the town at night excites you, it’s best to remain indoors after sunset. For those traveling alone or who have children along on the trip, it’s even more critical to stay in for the night.
Thankfully, Las Vegas has a considerable amount of activity, no matter the hour, so you won’t have to worry about missing out on critical events at night.
One of the most significant issues in Las Vegas is the amount of drinking that takes place. In a typical town, having a large amount of the population that ends the day intoxicated isn’t that big of an issue.
However, problems can ensue when you’re in a city with millions of visitors a year, most of which come with clear intentions to drink.
In addition to the many entertainment options available at night that include alcohol, it’s legal in Las Vegas to drink in public. Therefore, you’ll see people walking down the street with an open container of alcohol.
You’ll also observe individuals selling beer and alcoholic drinks out of coolers on the sidewalk. Because of the massive amount of intoxication that takes place on a nightly basis, there’s a severe uptick in physical and sexual assaults as the hours tick down on the clock.
With an elevated alcohol level, people lose their ability to pay attention to their surroundings. Moreover, many individuals act impulsively and engage in violent or undesirable behaviors.
Thankfully, there is an overwhelming police presence in Las Vegas. This fact is especially true in the downtown area where much of the nightlife occurs.
While the increase in protection provides a certain level of security, there are many more civilians than police officers. Therefore, they can’t provide adequate oversight for all individuals.
It may be surprising to learn that Las Vegas is home to more than 20,000 gang members. This number is based on having over 300 different gangs in just Sin City alone.
With the high number of rival gangs, the level of violence is higher than in other big cities. The amount of residential and downtown areas that gangs have overtaken is continually expanding.
While there are entire departments within the Las Vegas Police Department dedicated to gang activity and crime, the number of situations that come up daily is more than they can handle.
In knowing this information, avoiding some of the city’s less desirable areas listed above is critical. While you may not be the target of a gang-related crime, it’s possible to fall victim accidentally or be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Things to Consider
Planning a trip to Las Vegas can be stressful, given all the components that need to be considered. Below, we list the top items to remember before your trip.
- Staying in a resort on the strip is a safer option for lodging than hotels on the outskirts of town.
- Traveling in a group is safer than going out alone.
- Unless you’re visiting Las Vegas specifically for the nightlife activities, it’s best to avoid downtown after sunset.
- Be mindful of your surroundings at all times.
- Steer clear of the undesirable neighborhoods and ask hotel staff which areas you should avoid during your time in the city.
- Keep your personal items close to your body by using a front-facing fanny pack or an under-clothing belt.
- Be sure that you have a fully charged cell phone that’s easily accessible and with all necessary emergency numbers ready for use in case they’re needed.
Following all safety precautions will help you have a memorable Las Vegas experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
There’s a significant amount of research that comes with any trip. To help you plan, we have compiled the top inquiries about safety in Las Vegas.
Is the Las Vegas strip safe?
The Las Vegas strip is one of the most dangerous areas in the city due to the massive amount of people that parade through the street each day. Pickpocketers flock to this area due to the high level of tourists that aren’t familiar with the site.
Additionally, the frequent consumption of alcohol on the strip leads to visitors paying less attention to their surroundings, and the chances of being a victim increase.
While one of the main attractions of the strip is the nightlife, keeping your alcohol intake to a limited amount will provide a higher level of safety for you and the rest of your group for the remainder of the evening.
Which areas in Vegas should you avoid?
When you’re visiting Las Vegas, there are several neighborhoods you should avoid or exercise extreme caution when visiting. These areas include:
- East Las Vegas
- Meadows Village
- West Las Vegas
- Naked City
- Downtown Las Vegas
Although these areas often have an elevated level of criminal activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t visit them. Downtown Las Vegas is one place that has the majority of the city’s attractions that you likely won’t want to miss.
Many visitors enjoy these areas routinely without issue by staying mindful of the activities around them and protecting their personal items.
Can you walk the strip in Las Vegas?
Yes, the strip in Las Vegas is entirely walkable with adequate sidewalks and safe intersections for crossing. You will want to pay considerable attention to the area when walking at night due to the more dangerous activity taking place at that time.
Many taxis service the area if you feel safer in a car. Additionally, all of the city has a significant Uber and Lyft presence.
Is Reno safer than Las Vegas?
Although Reno is less than 30 miles from Las Vegas, the level of crime is considerably less than its neighbor. Unfortunately, the city comes in at a higher crime rate than much of the United States, but it’s still a safer option than Las Vegas if you’re looking to stay long-term in Nevada.
One element of Reno that visitors don’t particularly enjoy is that the city doesn’t have as many attractions as Las Vegas.
Reno is a good option if you’re looking for a quieter experience that is slightly safer than Vegas. However, Las Vegas is likely more suitable if you’re more interested in glitz, glamour, and a lot of nightlife activity.
Is Vegas worth going to?
There are many unique and fun activities to participate in during a Vegas vacation. The experience is fun for people to join in at some point in their lives.
While most of the attractions are focused on the adult crowd, many fun activities and events exist in Las Vegas for the youngest tourists as well.
Although safety can be a concern, it shouldn’t deter you from visiting Las Vegas. Taking appropriate precautions can afford you an experience that is both fun and memorable but also safe.
So, Is Las Vegas Safe to Visit?
While there are concerns about traveling to Las Vegas, it’s still a vacation that you can enjoy safely. Although crime is more prevalent in Sin City and things like drinking alcohol in public and prostitution are legal, there are ways to enjoy the city without subjecting yourself and your family to those situations.
As with any location, it’s vital to exercise appropriate precautions to keep yourself safe. Implementing these techniques will help you have an enjoyable experience in Las Vegas. Happy travels!