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Strip unrest over Labor Day weekend shines light on safety questions

Updated September 10, 2020 - 8:17 am

The unrest on the Las Vegas Strip over Labor Day weekend could have long-term consequences.

“To be honest, I don’t want to go back,” said Akemy Lara, who visited Las Vegas over Labor Day weekend from California.

She witnessed and recorded a fight that broke out inside Encore during her stay. The video she uploaded to YouTube has more than 41,500 views.

“I love Vegas, OK? I go to Vegas probably three to five times a year because I love Vegas. But with this incident that just happened, I just don’t feel safe anymore.”

On Tuesday, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said violent visitors “will not be tolerated” after its downtown area command arrested 28 people people and issued 27 citations on the Friday of Labor Day weekend.

Capt. Patricia Spencer, head of the downtown area command, did not offer figures for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but county jail records indicate that battery and assault arrests took place throughout the three-day weekend.

Clark County Detention Center booking logs from the weekend show that there were five battery arrests and zero assault arrests Friday; 10 battery arrests and seven assault arrests Saturday; nine battery arrests and six assault arrests Sunday; and eight battery arrests and five assault arrests Monday.

One assault arrest from Friday matched with an assault call at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas that night, Metropolitan Police Department dispatch logs show.

Wynn Resorts Ltd. spokesman Michael Weaver said Tuesday that the company is increasing its room rates and investment in its security workforce and procedures after a fight broke out at Encore over the weekend. The company has no record of injuries from the incident.

Weaver said the changes are being made to ensure Wynn’s two Las Vegas properties, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, “maintain the guest experience standards for which (they) are known.”

Changes include more security throughout the resort and additional uniformed Metropolitan police officers. The properties will also scan all hotel room keys at elevator entrances so that only registered guests are admitted to the hotel towers.

“An otherwise calm holiday weekend was marred by a disruption created by non-hotel guests in the Encore casino,” Weaver said. “Security officers and others currently prevent groups of unrelated guests from gathering to ensure appropriate physical distancing; with their increased presence, Wynn security will allow no exceptions.”

According to Hotels.com, room rates at Wynn Resorts started at $197 for a stay Saturday, Aug. 22. Rates jumped to $349 on Aug. 29, then to $499 the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Room rates this Saturday start at $319, according to the company’s website.

Wynn CEO Matt Maddox told investors last month that the company is focusing on promotions and casino revenue, as nongaming revenue was down about two-thirds in the second quarter.

“We’re doing everything we can to get heads in beds,” Maddox said, adding that the company didn’t plan to “cut (its) way to better margins” at the risk of hurting its brand, culture and company.

Contact Alexis Ford at aford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0335. Follow @alexisdford on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Sabrina Schnur and Bailey Schulz contributed to this report.

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