The dark and criminal side of Las Vegas

Las Vegas is not just a world-famous gambling metropolis. Behind the fascinating glitter facade there is also a lot of suffering and misery. It is a shadowy world of criminals, alcoholics and drug addicts that nobody would rather talk about. After all, any dark side of this dazzling metropolis could be bad for business.

criminal side of Las Vegas

But crime has been very high in the largest city in the US state of Nevada for years. Las Vegas not only connect many people in Germany with glowing slot machines, entertainment shows and adventurous vacation trips. Las Vegas (unfortunately) has a lot more to offer. Las Vegas continues to have one of the highest per capita crime rates of any US city. The risk of falling victim to a violent crime or theft is particularly high here. You rarely read about it in the media.

Las Vegas Strip seems safe

The legendary Las Vegas Strip is the epitome of Las Vegas with its countless neon lights and luxurious casino hotels. Hardly any other street in the world has more lighting. With numerous surveillance cameras and hundreds of security guards, politics ensures a high feeling of security among guests and locals. But appearances are deceptive. Anyone who looks behind the facade of the dazzling gambling metropolis is quickly confronted with the rampant crime. To do this, however, you have to move away from the representative strip and go to the small side streets. Not only is the drug trade dominating here, but bloody fights, robberies and vandalism also occur almost every day.

One might think that there have been significantly fewer crimes in Las Vegas in recent years due to the corona pandemic, but the opposite seems to be the case. In October we reported about the supposed end of a gambling era in Las Vegas due to the lack of tourists.

1,100 knife fights last year

Las Vegas has had a crime problem for years. In 2018, for example, 541.1 people per 100,000 inhabitants were statistically victims of a violent crime. Most recently, in the past year 2020, a significant increase in crime was again observed. For example, last year there were 5% more shootings, 17% more knife fights (1,100) and around a third (35%) more physical injuries. The authorities responded by significantly increasing the number of police patrols. The operators of the casino resorts also introduced some bag checks. Compared to major German cities, there are significantly more and above all more serious crimes in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas is the largest city in the US state of Nevada and currently has around 651,000 inhabitants. The world-famous Las Vegas Strip with its many casino hotels is particularly popular with tourists. About 42 million people visited the city in 2019. Last year there were only a fraction of them due to the corona pandemic.

Hundreds of tourists die in Las Vegas every year

According to rumors, several hundred tourists from all over the world are said to die in the dazzling gambling metropolis every year. According to the Las Vegas coroner, there is an average of 1,100 deaths per year. At first glance, this number may sound impressive. However, if you consider that Las Vegas is visited by up to 40 million tourists annually in “normal” times, it is almost logical that at least a small proportion of these people also die during their stay.

What is surprising, however, are the rumors about the causes of death. According to the coroner, who is not named, two thirds (67%) of annual deaths are attributable to tragic accidents. Another 15% committed suicide in the metropolis of millions. Almost one in ten dead (11%) was the victim of a violent crime. According to the information, the majority of the deaths occur in the city’s hotel rooms. There are an estimated 150,000 of them.

In the past it should not have happened infrequently that a guest who died in a hotel room was moved to another location. If a dead person is found in a hotel room, this room may not be rented for 14 days, so that the hotel incurs a loss of income.

Drugs and alcohol are also included

The US Department of Health has ranked Nevada among the states with the highest drug use for many years. Above all in the back streets there are many drug addicts and drug dealers, between whom there are often bloody arguments. Several years ago it was criticized that almost every tenth inhabitant of Las Vegas is addicted to drugs or alcohol. In Las Vegas alone there are said to be around 25 withdrawal centers.


Las Vegas is not called “Sin City” (= city of sin) for a reason. The city’s main source of income was and is gambling, which is ubiquitous in Las Vegas. In total there should be almost 140,000 slot machines and more than 4,000 gaming tables. Aside from the dazzling strip, serious crimes such as knife stabbing, break-ins or robberies often occur in the back streets. In addition, around 1,100 tourists are said to perish in the city every year – the majority of them in an accident. Las Vegas is not just a city of adventure and entertainment. The desert metropolis also has some dark stories to tell.

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