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Casino Leaders Call For More Security On The Strip

CRISTINA SILVA

LAS VEGAS (AP) â¿¿ The Las Vegas Strip, with its fatal bar brawls, sticky sidewalks and pushy panhandlers, is in dire need of a public safety makeover, according to casino executives and government leaders who want to use surveillance cameras, an increased police presence and regular street cleanings to improve the image of Nevada's adult playground.

In all, eight executives representing Las Vegas' wealthiest casinos put forward 32 recommendations this week aimed at preserving the Strip for the millions of tourists who support Nevada's fragile economy. Government leaders called for the recommendations last year after a rash of alcohol-fueled killings and violent crimes raised public safety concerns.

"We spend millions of taxpayers' dollars on advertising, keeping the Strip clean, doing our best to become one of the world's biggest attractions because of the beautiful resorts that we have here," said Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly. "And when people do their homework and their research on Las Vegas, we put pretty pictures out there, and we don't want someone's vision of what they believe Las Vegas to be, this beautiful mirage in the desert, to turn into 'Nightmare on Elm Street.'"

More than 38.9 million tourists visited Las Vegas last year, and the dollars they spent are driving Nevada's long awaited economic recovery. The state has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12.7 percent, and most jobs are tied to the tourism industry in some way.

Under the policy plan, government officials would direct more police officers to the Strip, set up surveillance cameras to monitor suspicious activity, ban unlicensed vendors, and regularly power-wash the grime and alcohol left behind on Las Vegas' bustling tourist corridors after nights of uninhibited revelry. The most controversial proposal calls for restricting activities such as panhandling at certain times and locations along the Strip.

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