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April 26, 2015

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After slayings, Metro shifts resources to Strip

Metro calls recent deaths in resort corridor an ‘anomaly’


Sam Morris

Tourists walk along the Las Vegas Strip in this April 28, 2011, file photo.

  2010 YTD 2011 YTD % change
Sexual assault 111 106 -4.5%
Robbery 164 120 -26.38%
Assault (gun) 15 8 -46.67%
Total violent crime 291 236 -18.9%
Source: Metro Police. Numbers are from Metro's Convention Center Area Command, which includes the Strip
Click to enlarge photo

Capt. Todd Fasulo of Metro's convention center area command on Wednesday discusses safety on the Las Vegas Strip in the wake of three recent deaths.

Metro Police called three recent slayings on the Strip “somewhat of an anomaly,” but are shifting resources to boost patrols in potentially volatile spots on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Those spots are often where there’s more pedestrian traffic in tight areas, which can lead to confrontations, said Capt. Todd Fasulo of Metro’s Convention Center area command.

“When you have the influx of alcohol, we have confrontations when you have close proximity with that many people,” he said. “That is a concern to the police department.”

The first recent slaying occurred June 25 when Andres Armando Elena, 21, of Las Vegas, died from a stab wound to the chest during a fight on the pedestrian walkway between New York-New York and the MGM Grand.

A second stabbing occurred Monday outside the Cosmopolitan, which left Javier Medrano-Padilla dead. Early Wednesday, Utah resident John Massie died from a punch suffered during an argument inside O’Sheas.

Police have made arrests in each case.

“We have a safe environment on the Strip,” Fasulo said. “There was no correlation to any violent organization working on the Strip. Each one was a separate act.”

Police said violent crime on the Strip has declined over the past three years.

Even so, Fasulo said police began discussions this week about how to better patrol the tourist-heavy area, both with uniform and covert officers. He declined to provide specific changes, but noted special emphasis will be placed on areas congested with pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

“We’re always looking to be a little more creative with the way we deploy (officers) and where we deploy them,” Fasulo said.

Tourists and locals enjoying the Strip will notice the presence of a new mobile command center — a large vehicle that looks similar to an RV — patrolling Las Vegas Boulevard. The vehicle made its debut last weekend, police said.

“It gives us some better eyes up and down the Strip,” Fasulo said.

Police emphasized these existing strategies to keep the Strip safe, which will continue:

• Safe Strip: A program that combines all resources within the department to provide a presence of both uniform and undercover officers.

• Surges: Additional police presence pulled from other areas for short periods of time to address spots potentially prone to violence.

• Homeland Saturation Team: Two police squads with a highly visible presence on Las Vegas Boulevard with a focus on homeland security, gang enforcement, security near casinos and communication with resort officials.

Fasulo said the department’s arguably most important strategy, however, is its relationship with resort security officials.

“We can’t be everywhere,” he said. “They know that and we know that. They become a force multiplier for us.”

The Las Vegas Security Chiefs Association meets every month to discuss ongoing issues, and Metro hosts bimonthly meetings with security chiefs for the same purpose, Fasulo said.

“The efforts that the agency is taking and we are making at Convention Center area command are making a difference on Las Vegas Boulevard, but we aren’t completely satisfied with that,” he said. “We continue to strive to reduce (crime) even more than it already is because we recognize just how important the Strip corridor is to not only our economy, but the community.”

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  1. The best patrols I've seen have been in Austin on 6th street. They use a combination of foot, bike, and horse. The horse patrols are especially effective for the parking lots because of the extra height.

    Horse patrols are also popular with the people on the street, yet can be very intimidating if need be.

    The bikes are very good in heavy traffic, and foot patrols let everyone know they are around. At the same time, Austin cops on 6th street are pretty cool, it takes a *lot* to get their attention. If you get busted by them, it's righteous.

  2. I can't imagine another, similar location like Las Vegas anywhere in the world that is as safe for the tourist as the Las Vegas Strip is...

    None of this stuff has been anything a tourist would have to worry about.

    The O'Shea's situation never woulda happened if booze & ego had not collided. Very unfortunate, but a complete anomaly, just as Metro has reported.

    Anybody who claims they're cancelling plans to Vegas because of "the killings" is either a liar or a foo', or both.

  3. To calculate the "true" percent change you'd have to factor in the YTD change in population too.

  4. ooops... As of 22:00 this evening Assault (Gun) is now 15, not 8.

  5. Looks like Metro needs to cover the mortuaries too.

  6. When the shimmering heat of the Mojave starts to cook people's brains, RIGHT ABOUT NOW, as a matter of fact...

    Tempers flair.
    Words are said.
    Fists fly.
    Guns are shot.
    Knives are thrust.

    It's as predictable as the GIANT ORANGE BALL rising over that yonder mountain called "Sunrise".

  7. gmag39
    I usually agree with a lot of your post but I will disagree with this one I am no liar nor a fool although I may not be the one injured or hurt or killed I just don't want to see or witness anyone Else's demise and would have to return to testify or be a target for agreeing to testify.
    I assume you made the post out of hast and was not intending to insult anyone and if you could do it over you would make it more subtle.

  8. It is too hot to be killing. It expends too much energy.

  9. At the cost of sounding redundant and naive ,the point is, I think, that couples reading about this slaughter are rethinking plans to visit the strip.
    Not everyone will cancel, a few more likely will come on account of the carnage, I bet.
    Armed for bear, or maybe a discreet blade or small handgun.
    When (if) word gets out that the strip is a killing field for disenchanted,as if it hasn't already, this hell will be a little hotter. Look at the trend, isolated incident, isolated incident, isolated incident et al. Solution, either do the Ted Nugent thing and arm yourselves, which I hate to say sounds convincing, avoid dangerous places, which sounds cowardly, or be in denial, which sounds (in)sane, can the strip ever be what it was? No way, Jose. Sorry to hear about the dead, the dying, and the injured in this new war zone called the vegas strip.

  10. The Vegas strip is ripe for not only gang related crime but terrorism as well. Let's look at the facts... sure the casinos have a lot of security, but it is mainly focused on stopping people from ripping off the casino or other tourists. The customer in a casino is treated like a KING OR QUEEN... they want your business. When was the last time anyone ever checked a backpack for explosives in a Vegas casino? Answer: NEVER!! Because 9 out of 10 people have backpacks, or shopping bags! You can't check them all! It's a tourist destination. Get on one of the tourist busses that go up and down the strip... everyone has a bag or backpack of some kind on them. This city by it's own nature is a terrorist dream come true. It's going to take a lot to stop an attack of any kind in Vegas.