Proud To Call Vegas Home – Vegas Strong [video]


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Whenever I am asked by a guest about the safety of the Las Vegas Strip, I always tell them that the Las Vegas Strip is probably the safest tourist corridor in America if not the world.  Last night we saw why.  Last night and into today, we saw law enforcement, private security, and first responders all fell into proper place very rapidly and it was all very organized. It’s because they and the rest of the city have been preparing for this day since September 11, 2001. It’s also why something like this has not happened before.  We were prepared and that saved lives.

Yes, there was loss of life. That could have been avoided.  However, if we had not such an open communication and organization between all the agencies and security operations on the Las Vegas Strip, it could have been much worse and much more chaotic.

Think about it: Twenty-one thousand people in a small confined spaced just a click away from a very busy international airport.

Kudos to Our Sheriff and Metro

The way everything fell into place so quickly, the way our Sheriff took control, kept the news briefings accurate, professional and did not offer any speculation or allow any conjectures by the media.  He was on point and kept it focused on what they knew not what they think.  He gave credit to other agencies and individuals when they were involved.  While also defending and shielding those in the investigation from media and tourist “lookie lou’s”.  Letting them do their jobs without any grandstanding.  The crime scene was secured and that isn’t easy when everything is so close together and you have so many other things happening in that small space.

Vegas could not and would not stop being Vegas. Lives had to go on, people had to move and look after the living.  That’s what Vegas is famous for.  Trying to help people forget about reality and live a few days in an imaginary land of lights, sounds, and experiences.

A Large Community Becomes a Small Community

Las Vegas is a valley with over 2 million people who live work and call this valley home.  It’s not always the best place and it’s not an easy place to live in.  Today was amazing to watch how total strangers, neighbors, and people from foreign lands, came out to show their support.  To offer up everything and anything that would help those left behind, struggling or just unsure of what happened or where their loved ones are.  We became that small town that we once were. People helping people like we have never really seen before.

Everything fell into place and was quickly running like a well well-oiled machine. Why? Because we have been preparing for this day since September 11, 2001.  All the agencies involved, all the security people from the private casinos and other associations have been breaking down barriers and cross communicating with each other like never before.

Unlike similar tragedies in other cities and countries, there was no confusion on who was speaking on the record, who was getting the spotlight or who was doing what.  We were prepared.

Why Now?

Social media was all aflutter with armchair detectives trying to figure out this could have happened and what new laws we will need to prevent this in the future, as well as their continued disbelief that it took this long for something like this to happen.  When you think about it, it should have happened years early. Las Vegas is an international tourist destination, it’s on everyone’s radar for many different reasons.

The reason it took sixteen years t happen and why many lives were saved was because of an unprecedented amount of cooperation and communication between so many different entities that have been jointly rehearsing for such an incident, that today we were ready.  And that saved many lives.  That preparedness is what has kept tourist in Las Vegas so safe for the past 16 years.  Because it hadn’t happened means they were doing their job.

Las Vegas Massacre

 

A Fine Line

Security in Las Vegas walks a very fine line.  They work diligently and behind the scenes in so many different ways to make sure the tourist is safe when they are in Las Vegas. Yet they need to keep as low of a profile as possible as to not make the tourist feel they are being watched over by big brother and taking the thrill out of coming to a place known as a mirage in the desert.  How do you do that effectively and efficiently?  That is the line they must walk daily.

Final Thoughts

Many people were looking at this as if it were the local Holiday Inn with one security camera and a rent a cop patrolling the parking lot. This is Vegas.  The security technology here is the top of the line, military grade. The best people in the business are always coming here to work and to learn from others who do work here…

I don’t care what you think about what may have happened or how it may have happened. It happened in one of the safest tourist districts in the land.  let them do their investigations and stop blaming gun laws and thinking a few more metal detectors at the doors will stop a madman.  It won’t.

In Las Vegas, you are safe.  Had this happened in any other place, I believe the death toll would have been triple if not higher.  You are safe here. Vegas is safe and open for business.  When we finally see the timeline for the events that unfolded, you will be surprised at just how fast the threat was isolated and contained. How fast everyone got what they needed to do their jobs and how nobody was wanting to stand out and be THE hero of the day. Lives were saved because we as a community came together and said this will not define us and will not stop us from living our lives.

 

 

Why You Are Safe on the Las Vegas Strip

Recently we had a lady plow her car through a pack of tourists on the Las Vegas Strip, killing one and sending many  to the hospital (link).  As always, that starts the discussion boards chattering with fear mongers asking about just how safe is the Las Vegas Strip for tourists? Especially right before a major holiday?

The Answer:  The Las Vegas Strip is always one of the safest tourist corridors in the nation. The problem is that Las Vegas, especially the Strip is always getting media coverage because of its popularity and its history.  You also have millions of tourist in a small area documenting their every move online; “Look, an Elvis sighting” – “Oh, a buffet” and other amusing photos and updates occur every second of the day here.  So when something tragic happens in Las Vegas, in the tourist corridor, it usually  goes viral on social media.

When you think about the Las Vegas Strip and compare it to other tourist corridors, what other tourist area has thousands of people walking it every hour of every day, literally carrying thousands of dollars of cash on them?  It’s Vegas.   As tourist and professional gamblers go from one casino to the next, loaded with cash and other valuables,  you would think they would be sitting targets for thieves and bandits. But they are not.   They walk the Strip in relative safety because they know it’s well protected.

Las vegas is safe

See All The Cameras?

How Protected?

To be honest, when I think about the people walking the strip loaded with cash, I also remind myself that they are also most likely packing some heat.  We have a very liberal conceal carry law here and with that much money floating around, people naturally protect themselves.  So I think knowing that also puts the fear of God or 72 virgins into the minds of some would-be thieves.

Stand on almost any corner on the Strip.  Look up. See the blinking on the light pole? Look closer. See the cameras?  Walk onto any casino property and consider yourself on camera anytime except the bathrooms and your hotel room.   The Bellagio, it is said, has over 8,000 cameras installed on property. These places don’t have just ordinary security cameras.  Nothing is ordinary in Las Vegas.  Pull your car up front of a hotel valet and some of the cameras under the porte-cochere can probably read the school name off your class ring!

Las Vegas security is enhanced because with 40 million tourists coming here annually, we are the testing grounds for declassified military surveillance equipment before it is released to the general public. Not to mention the many retired government police and Military security people who work for the hotel’s security departments are well-trained in what to look for and how to make threats vanish instantly.  If you are the maker of surveillance equipment, where else would you want to burn in and test your most cutting edge technology but a place that is live 24 hours a day with action and activity??

Cameras and sensors are just one part of the security. The bike patrols and people walking around are the other.  From my years as a chauffeur and for general research for this website, I have been told that most of the security force on the Strip is under cover.  You do not even see them.  Do something stupid on the Strip and suddenly you will find yourself being chased by a bike patrol that came from nowhere and will chase you into the hotel.

Have you ever been at a Black Jack table, next to a person being rude, obnoxious or just too fidgety for your own good?  Security noticed.  One minute he is there, the next minute he is gone.  Because of all the noises and distractions, you never noticed he was suddenly removed through a back panel or false wall.

Personal Opinion? I would rather be busted by Metro Police than from Hotel Security. Just too many stories out there about backrooms without cameras that have some very slippery floors!

The incident last night happened right near a posted collection of metro officers and hotel security people.  So they had the scene contained in minutes.  Last summer there was a pool fire at the Cosmopolitan that was quickly put out because the fire department is right underneath the hotel.   We are prepared for it.

Paris Las Vegas Accident Scene

Scene of the accident last night

What’s To Worry? 

Now I am not saying to be lazy about your personal protection.  Las Vegas police are not your nanny.  Keep your guard up, be aware of your surroundings, don’t be too stupid, it’s a busy town.  Just don’t go into panic mode because you saw something on the news about Las Vegas, an accident on the Strip and someone being killed.  It’s not an everyday occurrence, it’s just magnified because of the significance of the location.

What I do warn my tour guests about besides the porn peddlers and the timeshare hustlers, is people pickpocketing. That’s what you have to watch out for.  They usually work in teams and can open your backpack as you are walking and remove just about everything out of it before you realize they were there.  Why are they not caught?  Usually, because they work in pairs. A man and a woman.  If you saw a man walking the strip while digging into a woman’s backpack, you would think they were a couple. So you ignore them. I have seen it happen and I have done it myself to prove my point to my tour group.

So we may make fun of the tourists wearing those ugly black fanny packs on, but as long as they are worn up front, they are being pretty smart about it. If you carry a backpack or case, put a lock on it when you are out and about.  Anything that would stall a thief from getting into it.  The worst are the people who put their bags, purses and coats over the back of the chairs when they sit down to gamble.  That’s just screaming for someone to rob you.

As a Vegas local who spends a lot of his time on the Las Vegas Strip, I can tell you not to freak out every time you see the news about Las Vegas.  Anything Las Vegas related is great for news ratings.  With as many tourists as we have in that small four miles of roadway, it’s a very safe area. Just be aware, be smart and enjoy your Vegas vacation.

Your Thoughts??