When travelers arrive on The Strip this Thanksgiving, they likely will spot Las Vegas Metro police out in force patrolling Las Vegas Boulevard. (Of course, that is assuming that Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) does not shutter non-essential businesses before the holiday.)
On Thursday, a Metro police spokesperson told Casino.org the department is continuing with its Operation Persistent Pressure on Thanksgiving. That is the initiative developed recently by Metro officers, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, and security specialists throughout the region. It increases police presence in select areas, such as The Strip.
“This operation has proven effective over the past many weeks, and we think it will help with the holiday weekend,” the statement says. More uniformed patrol officers will be added to the area. Specialized units will also be activated.
But local police ask the public to be on guard for potential risks and do their part, too. “We remind our community members to remain vigilant and follow best practices for staying safe,” the Metro spokesperson said.
Officers Remain Home After COVID Exposure
But the Metro police department has another challenge this year. Many Metro officers have been forced to stay home in isolation from possible exposure to coronavirus.
“We have been able to fill the gaps without too much strain thus far,” the Metro spokesperson explained when asked what the department might face on Thanksgiving.
In addition, when asked about what casinos may face this holiday week, Tommy J. Burns, a former Henderson, Nevada police chief said he believes the holiday on The Strip will be similar to most weekends. Henderson more recently has been a security head for Harrah’s Entertainment and now is a security consultant.
I believe they are expecting a slow Thanksgiving,” Burns told Casino.org. “But the same steps that police and security are taking each weekend now will apply to the Thanksgiving weekend.”
But Burns believes Thanksgiving weekend should be no more violent or crowded than other weekends.
Surveillance Inside Casinos
Players on casino floors also can expect to see agents from the Nevada Gaming Control Board [GCB] on duty this holiday week.
[The] board continues to be acutely focused on preserving the safety and health of all casino visitors and staff,” said Michael Lawton, a senior research analyst at the GCB.
“The board has conducted approximately 15,000 inspections in the past several months, with some 200 instances resulting in fines and/or enforcement action …,” Lawton revealed to Casino.org this week. “The board will continue its vigilance in enforcing the health and safety policies.”
For instance, regulators insist that visitors and employees at casinos must wear face masks. Other guidelines were put in place by individual casinos.
Also, this week the city of Las Vegas business license staff will continue to enforce “all the safety requirements put in place by the governor,” according to Jace Radke, a spokesman for Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s office, to Casino.org. “These include wearing of face coverings and social distancing.”
That leads to safer trips to Las Vegas this Thanksgiving week. It remains a destination for many tourists.
“The combination of Las Vegas resorts offering the most stringent COVID health and safety measures, coupled with popular attractions and offerings, help to make Las Vegas a desirable travel location for those who can and want to get away,” said Lori Nelson-Kraft, senior vice president of communications for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), to Casino.org.
Violent Crime, Coronavirus Threaten Visitors
“We are always mindful of health and safety concerns during this pandemic,” the police spokesperson adds. “We continuously remind our officers to do their best at mitigating health issues, while working on the front lines of both crime and this pandemic.”
In recent months, several gaming properties along The Strip, and elsewhere in Las Vegas, were the scenes of shootings and other violent incidents — inside or near their properties. Much of the uptick was blamed on gangs.
The number of COVID-19 cases also is escalating in Nevada. As of Thursday, the state saw a total of 127,875 coronavirus cases, including a currently recovering Gov. Steve Sisolak. There have been 1,953 deaths.
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