Las Vegas police blame spike in crime on cheap hotel deals amid pandemic

James Crump
The Las Vegas Strip and skyline including various hotels and casinos are seen at night in Las Vegas, Nevad ((SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images))
The Las Vegas Strip and skyline including various hotels and casinos are seen at night in Las Vegas, Nevad ((SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images))

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo has suggested that an increase in violent crime in Las Vegas could be because of cheap hotel deals, which he claims are attracting visitors interested in “creating chaos”.

The Las Vegas strip has seen an increase in violent crimes over the last few months, as hotel prices have decreased on average by $10 (£7.73) from last year, due to a fall in bookings amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Although the average price decrease is only $10, the Daily Mail reported that multiple hotels are offering rooms for less than $100 (£77.29) a night, while hotels just off the strip have rooms for less than $50 (£38.65), in order to attract more visitors to the area.

Las Vegas authorities have said that the strip, which includes more than 20 resorts, has seen an increase in violent crimes, including stabbings and shootings, since hotels and casinos reopened at cheaper prices in June.

Earlier this month, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police confirmed that nearly 1,500 people were arrested in August and September in the city's Convention Centre area alone.

Police captain Dori Koren claimed that the crime surge coincided with an increase in “gang members from other states” visiting the area.

In August, Mr Lomabrdo told reporters that the initial surge of violence could be linked to visitors who were unable to go to nightclubs, as they remained closed due to coronavirus restrictions, according to the Mail.

He also suggested that cheaper hotels could have been behind the increase, and claimed that “the type of customer that is showing up… they're more interested in creating chaos than entertaining themselves or engaging themselves.”

In late September, the department announced that it had seized at least 60 weapons, while making more than 1,000 arrests for violent crime in Las Vegas since 1 August.

Late last month, Mr Lomabardo once again blamed visitors from out-of town, and added: “It's just a lot of people in a small condensed area and you infuse their desire to have a great time and infuse things like alcohol and drugs and it's a bad combination.”

Mr Koren said that 400 of the 1,100 arrests were on felony charges, and revealed that the suspects visited Las Vegas from California, Florida and multiple other states.

He added: “We're making sure that every person that commits these crimes is caught and held accountable.”

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