Las Vegas Sun

November 13, 2018

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Security beefed up on Strip for New Year’s Eve

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Steve Marcus

Metro Police officers are shown on the Las Vegas Strip on New Year’s Eve festivities Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016.

New Year’s Eve could be rockin’ more than ever just days from now, officials said.

Between 300,000-350,000 tourists are expected for the weekend, per the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority, and Clark County has increased funds for security, following similar growth trends seen during last month’s Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Marathon.

Security resources

On Dec. 7, the Nevada Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee approved a $346,100 expenditure — an increase from the $122,250 initially proposed — to cover costs of added security provided by more than 350 Nevada National Guard personnel.

This includes 30 guardsmen at McCarran International Airport and at least 20 armed vehicles spread across the Strip and downtown Las Vegas. Citing the Oct. 1 shooting in a letter to state authorities, Clark County Emergency Manager John Steinbeck called New Year’s Eve the county’s “greatest security concern.”

“Existing inter-local and mutual aid agreements are not sufficient to support anticipated public safety needs,” Steinbeck said in a request for funding to the state.

Metro Police spokesman Aden Ocampo-Gomez also hinted at an increased police presence similar to the security bump at the marathon, which had almost double the usual number of officers. For that event, the ramped-up presence included Metro’s new $9.6 million Airbus H145 helicopter for patrol, and several snipers placed across key locations on the Strip.

Police will have a press conference announcing basic plans and structure this week, Ocampo-Gomez said, although they will not divulge specific details “for obvious reasons.”

“We don’t want a potential attacker to know our plans or exactly where we’ll be,” he said.

The festivities

New York-based pyrotechnic firm Fireworks by Grucci will position 700-750 loaded mortar tubes, 45-60 shot boxes and dozens of other firework props on the rooftops of seven Strip casinos — MGM Grand, Aria, Planet Hollywood, Treasure Island, the Venetian, Stratosphere and Caesars Palace. More than 150 fireworks per second will be blasted for a span of 8-9 minutes during what’s being called “America’s Party 2018.”

Partygoers can download the mobile Fireworks by Grucci app, which provides the synchronized soundtrack to the fireworks show.

Most Las Vegas nightclubs and concert venues have New Year’s Eve parties planned, too.

Maroon 5, Foo Fighters, 21 Savage, Post Malone and Gucci Mane are among the performers scheduled to appear at venues on the Strip and across the valley.

With so many visitors expected for one of the world’s largest New Year’s Eve parties, Metro advises that attendees take caution and plan ahead.

People driving to the Strip or downtown should arrive early, park outside the road closures and walk to make it easier to get out when the celebration is finished, Ocampo-Gomez said. With ride-sharing options such as Uber and Lyft, and taxi services, as well as Regional Transportation Commission buses available, the Metro spokesman advised against driving at all if possible.

“It makes sense to just leave the cars at home,” Ocampo-Gomez said. “It’s safer for everyone.”

The Regional Transportation Commission is offering free rides on all 39 of its fixed routes, which includes express service between park-and-ride facilities and downtown Las Vegas. The free service routes will run from 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day. But the Strip festivities will create “extensive detours” on routes that go to and around Las Vegas Boulevard, said RTC spokesman Brad Seidel.

Strip-goers under 18 won’t be allowed to stay in the area after 9 p.m. unless they’re accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. And strollers, backpacks and glass bottles are banned from the Strip on New Year’s Eve, Ocampo-Gomez said. All bags must be 12 inches by 12 inches by 6 inches or smaller.