I-Team: The Nightly Carnival Above the Las Vegas Strip - 8 News NOW

I-Team: The Nightly Carnival Above the Las Vegas Strip

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LAS VEGAS -- The pedestrian walkways are meant to make it easier to maneuver on the Las Vegas Strip but what people are learning is that the walkways are a no man's land of sorts between the casinos and police.

They've become a prime target for drug sales, robberies, questionable food sales and serious violence.

I-Team: Does What Happen Here, Hurt Here?

Despite the walkways blending into the casinos with a stylized look, the casinos don't own them and don't have to secure them. Instead they are like the sidewalk where nearly anything goes. And as the I-Team found out, it often does.

If Las Vegas sometimes feels, sounds and smells like a carnival then consider the walkways the circus sideshow. It's an escalator ride to another world, maybe even back in time, with three card Monte played openly until our news crew shows up. "No camera, No camera" yells the man dealing cards.

When dusk turns to night, club promoters hawk their wares, beggars become choosers, and the musicians continue to play. The view from the street though tells the tale.

Poor viewing angles and high glass hide most of the action up above. That's why Tony Williams stays down on the street.

"I want to do my own thing now and make some money doing this," said Tony Williams, a street performer.

The police patrol mainly on the ground, so it's risk and reward on the sidewalks.

"Police mess with me when it's crowded over here," he adds.

Metro Sergeant Tom Jenkins says the walkways are a unique challenge. "You can go up there right now and buy any kind of drug you want. Probably get anything you want up there on the bridges," said Jenkins.

His Homeland Security team fans out as the walkways continue to plague their nights. A recent stream of stabbing's and fights posted online have brought attention to the vulnerability of the walkways. Same for this brutal and random assault caught on surveillance.

"They can see us coming. It's a high point," said Jenkins who says the vendors and criminals work in conjunction to outsmart the cops. "They're lookouts for the guys that are doing crimes."

And not everything may be all it seems.

"We don't know where the food product's coming from or where the water's coming from," said Glenn Savage, Southern Nevada Health District.

He warns that while some of the $1 waters come right from the store, the dealers aren't licensed, approved or potentially safe.

"There could be bacteria, viruses already in those containers," said Savage.

So as the kings of the walkways turn their backs to hide -- making obscene gestures to the news camera -- the carnival continues.

Police have a tough challenge. As they shoo away troublemakers on one pedestrian bridge, they just turn up on another one.

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