Metro Warning Street Performers of Illegal Acts - 8 News NOW

Metro Warning Street Performers of Illegal Acts

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LAS VEGAS -- After years of fighting unsafe conditions on the Las Vegas Strip, vulnerable tourists could be a little safer from street performers.

Two years ago, the I-Team exposed problems on the Strip, including explosive batteries, cords, hazardous crowds and even acrobatics.

A little more than a week ago, the Clark County Commission enacted an ordinance in effect banning "dangerous objects" on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Each night, Metro Police works to keep more than 100,000 people safe on the five mile stretch of the Strip.

As they battle alcohol, drugs and gangs, some of the most prevalent hazards can be in street performing acts as people are pushed into the road and taken dollar for dollar.

"I know it's a little chilly but we've got to make sure you don't have something on you you shouldn't have, other than your can of beer," Metro Police Lt. Jack Clements said to a pedestrian on the Strip.

Clements has spent more than 20 years patrolling the Las Vegas valley and several years monitoring the strip.

"It's a 24-hour town including 24-hour alcohol," he said.

A simple traffic stop means fighting off drunken hecklers, including profanity directed at Clements.

The profanity doesn't concern the lieutenant, he said, instead it's the performers and the tools they use to put on a show.

Tourists are asked to part with cash at the turn of every corner with a simple walk down the Strip.

According to county ordinance, naming a specific price point for services is illegal.

"If we're not around, they'll sell them," Clements said. "If we're not around, they'll hound people for the money."

But more dangerous can be street performers crowding the Strip's sidewalks.

Acrobats set up cones to designate their area of public sidewalk as they jump over unsuspecting tourists on the Strip.

Clements said many of these acts are unlicensed and uninsured, meaning if a tourist gets hurt, they have no recourse to get help.

Crowds form stagnant lines to watch the acrobatics, preventing people from walking down the Strip safely.

"Folks literally end up going into the road to get around these crowds," Clements said.

Other dangers are in the cords, generators and batteries, all recently banned by the county ordinance.

Clements said the batteries are prone to exploding, something many performers and tourists aren't aware of.

Performers only have weeks left before Metro officers will begin issuing tickets for dangerous objects.

For those who don't follow the new guidelines, they can receive hundreds of dollars in fines or even be arrested in a worst case scenario.

Although the county approved the ban a few months ago, the so-called dangerous objects ordinance didn't take effect until just days ago.

Right now, Metro is in a warning period.

It's about education first, making sure performers understand what they may and may not do.

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