Shootings On Las Vegas Strip Prompt Safety Concerns - 8 News NOW

Jonathan Humbert, Reporter

Shootings On Las Vegas Strip Prompt Safety Concerns

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In the wake of the violent weekend, tourists say they want more police presence on the Strip. And the sheriff is also telling Eyewitness News he wants more officers on the beat. In the wake of the violent weekend, tourists say they want more police presence on the Strip. And the sheriff is also telling Eyewitness News he wants more officers on the beat.
Metro officer involved shooting Saturday night on Las Vegas Blvd, near Harmon. Metro officer involved shooting Saturday night on Las Vegas Blvd, near Harmon.

In the wake of the violent weekend, tourists say they want more police presence on the Strip. And the sheriff is also telling Eyewitness News he wants more officers on the beat. So why won't it happen? Like so many things, it comes down to money.

Tourists want to see serious, sustained presence that reminds people not to get out of line. But Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie says the money isn't there to get it done.

The dark night and the bright lights -- an intoxicating mix for many tourists in Las Vegas. And two weekend shootings bookend an already violent summer on the Strip.

Erin Jacobson lives in Chicago. This is her first time in Las Vegas. "Maybe they need more security on the street," she said.

For all the fun to be had, once she heard the news of the shootings, Jacobson realized this is a big city with big city problems.

"I was pretty shocked. I wouldn't expect it. You know, it's a nice hotel," she said.

But Jacobson picked up on something noticeably missing from her vacation. "Actually, I have not seen any officers. I can't say I've seen any."

And the head of Metro agrees. "Our resources are not to the level that I'm comfortable with the presence we have on Las Vegas Boulevard," said Sheriff Doug Gillespie.

Sheriff Gillespie says Metro does the best with what it has. He says a quarter cent sales tax bump helped pay for more officers, but Gillespie still feels there is an officer shortage.

"No, we need more. Right now, we're running about 1.7 per 1,000 permanent residents. And our goal is to get to two," he said.

But that's city-wide. Gillespie didn't have specific numbers about patrols and officers on Las Vegas Boulevard.

And while Jacobson still feels safe, she knows a few more eyes on the Strip wouldn't hurt all the fun. "If they were able to see something escalating, they could stop it."

Gillespie says there are about 80 officers set to graduate soon. But those officers will be stationed all around the city -- not just on the Strip.

Email your comments to Reporter Jonathan Humbert.

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