How safe is Las Vegas...

Discussion in 'Travel' started by sanjay_chugh|1, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. Last night we reserved an impromptu trip to Las Vegas for next week for 5 nights.
    I was wondering how safe it is in Las Vegas to take my Camera and I m trying to figure out what I should take.
    I am a Canon guy with a Canon 7D, 17-55 f2.8 EFS, 10-22 EFS, 70-200 f.28 IS
    We will do a Grand Canyon trip and the rest of the time will be in Las Vegas I suppose.
    Is it safe to be carrying about my equipment in Las Vegas? In the day? afternoon? evening?
    I only got my 70-200 f2.8 last Christmas and would love to take it but I am thinking it may not be something to bring to a Las Vegas trip.

    Any tips?
    Thanks for any advice you can offer.
    -- Sanjay
  2. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Las Vegas is ridiculously safe in almost any place visitors will go. There isn't really much walking going on though, so it's hard to be anywhere that security cameras won't be watching.
  3. The areas where tourists go are crawling with cops. Take normal precautions against pickpockets etc., but if you're in or near a resort, hotel or casino (especially casinos, where there's a large security staff both on patrol and in the back room watching camera feeds) you're not in any sort of high mugging risk area.
  4. The one place where you won't find security cameras is in your room, which has a certain benefit to it, but there's a down side, too. We've had a rash of hotel thieves in the city of late, getting some local headline space in the paper. A room on the strip will typically have a safe in it that you can assign a lock code. Put your valuables in it when you aren't in the room and you'll be OK.If you bring a tablet or laptop that won't fit in the room safe, ask at the concierge desk in the lobby about a place to leave it while you are out.
    Carrying camera gear will not put you at risk at all. My son asked me to do a set of black & white shots of the strip that he and his wife want to use to decorate part of their house, so I've spent a lot of time down there with my gear. You'll see lots of others with camera gear, and I've not heard of any problems. Vegas is careful about that sort of thing.
    Have fun. Don't try to take photos of the table games - the casinos don't like that, for reasons that escape me, and they'll stop you and will insist you delete any such shots. I've not been stopped from shooting anything else in a casino. A ride on the Deuce, the London-style open top double-decker buses that run up and down the strip, offer a good viewpoint from that upper deck. Night shots are good from the roof of the self-parking decks at Bellagio and Treasure Island. Plan to shoot almost everything without a tripod - you rarely will have enough room to set up a tripod without causing a problem. I use a monopod all the time.
  5. Agree, very safe place.
    I was scared when I got caught by surprise by the "card snappers". There are hundreds of them on the streets trying to give you discount tickets to topless bars and other similar places. They snap the tickets with there fingers making a loud sound to get your attention. Just ignore them, and even if they seem to be blocking the way, just keep going, they will magically part like the Red Sea before you. They know they can be arrested if they touch you.
    Shooting night shots with a tripod can be tricky, it is very busy until almost morning. But, I did manage to find spots to take some good night shots when it was busy.
    You probably won't use the 70-200 at Vegas. But, at the Grand Canyon, it will be useful.
  6. On the other hand, here is a long list of crimes in Las Vegas:
  7. Oh, but JDM, the CSI are such experts at everything and they solve every crime in minutes ;=))
  8. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I've not been stopped from shooting anything else in a casino.​

    I would recommend not photographing the attractive women in slinky clothing who stand in the aisles in the high roller aisles.
  9. "Oh, but JDM, the CSI are such experts at everything and they solve every crime in minutes ;=))"
    And that includes commercials!
    "I would recommend not photographing the attractive women in slinky clothing who stand in the aisles in the high roller aisles."
    The wisdom of not photographing someone else's slinky woman is not confined to Las Vegas.
  10. Vegas is like every other city in the US - except it has legalized casinos - Stay on the main streets, don't go into dark alleys with a guy selling you a rollex, and don't try to take photos of the slots, high rollers, or table games.
    At a local casino, I was told - no cameras allowed - period - had to take mine back to the room, but that's at a tribal casino, not Vegas. My guess is that they think that if you have photos of something, you can try to get an edge on them.
  11. I was there last year for a conference. Speaking honestly, and from an Aussie who lives in Oz and Singapore, and regularly spends time in the US, I would not be taking a big DSLR. Take a point and shoot. You will otherwise be preoccupied, worried about getting mugged. Keep the DSLR for the Grand Canyon.
    US cities are no more dangerous than any other big cities, and yes, there are cops everywhere, more so at night. I will warn you however, watch that you don't carry around a lot of money and find somewhere else to put your wallet than your back pants pocket.
    You want dangerous? Visit Bogota, Columbia. My partner was on a business trip there. She and her colleague checked into a big international hotel. At midday, he went over the road to get some money out of the ATM. He was shot, then and there. The muggers even took his shoes and belt. The company closed the Columbia office. So in comparison, Vegas is completely safe.
  12. Multiple answers to this question b/c Las Vegas is such a unique place. Like being anyplace that is a tourist destination in the US, it's crawling with cops and security in all of this "high tourist" areas (like the Strip, all the shows, etc.). So your chances of being mugged b/c you've got camera gear on--negligible I'd say. But b/c Las Vegas has so many tourists (most with cash), you've got hotel theft (especially outside of the big hotels or those connected with casinos) and pick pockets.
    Now...b/c it's Vegas, you'll also have restrictions on shooting. Shooting in casinos--lots of limits. Shooting in your hotel room? Again, depends upon the hotel but some have developed a specific look or commissioned particular art or wall paper and indicate that it's trade marked or protected (so photographers who go to Las Vegas, rent a suite and use it for shoots with models often have to be picky about what hotel they use).
  13. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The wisdom of not photographing someone else's slinky woman is not confined to Las Vegas.​

    There is no "someone else" for the women in the aisles near the high roller tables at places like the Wynn, until "someone else" decides to do "something" with their money.
  14. I saw a couple of guys shooting from the top level of the Rio's parking garage stopped by security. I don't know why. He didn't give them a reason other than you can't shoot here. I was shooting too but the rent-a-cop didn't notice me until after he shut them down and by that time I was done.
    I highly suggest Hoover Dam. It's pretty amazing and quite photogenic.
    I've never had problems or been worried about walking down the strip with or without my camera gear. Just like any place else, keep your valuables close.
  15. Daylight and evening hours are fairly safe on The Strip, in 'Old Las Vegas', and in most neighborhoods. In the early morning before the tourists come out (only photographers), I once had to discourage an aggressive bum from following me around. Once while jogging I went under an underpass and noticed some suspicious characters lurking in the shadows. Luckily, they just lurked and didn't engage.
    Stay in populated areas and be aware of your gear at all times, and you should be fine.
  16. I would be careful, but there are lots of people with DSLR cameras around Las Vegas. I walked around there for two days with my 5 D (with battery grip) and big white lens (70-200 f2.8 L IS). I did not get hassled by anyone. I am a short, pretty light guy. I don't look scary or anything, and I was traveling alone.
    If I can get away with it, I think you probably can too.
    Since then though, I have become more cautious. I don't know why. I have not ever been mugged or threatened in a big city. Maybe I just don't want to be. I don't have the big lens anymore, and I keep my camera hidden in my backpack now, until I want to use it (most of the time). It may be because I am a little braver these days, and I go into places I never used to be willing to go, so I am a little more cautious about what I do, when I'm in those places (as far as showing off my stuff).
  17. Can you run a 100 yards is 10 secs?
    If you fall for the old trick: "Let me take your photo with your camera", you may need to be that fast to get back your camera.
  18. Las Vegas is not any less safe than any large city anywhere. It depends on where in Las Vegas you will be, obviously. For what it's worth, I have never felt unsafe bringing a camera anywhere in any city, but then I have street smarts, and don't go in "bad" neighborhoods anymore, with or w/o a camera. If you pull out your camera in a casino and start shooting, expect to be told to leave at the minimum, and possibly be brought before casino security and be photographed and have your photo passed around to other casinos. Remember, the Las Vegas strip has the tightest security outside of an airport, and you are under surveillance in the hotels, in the casinos, in the restaurants, on the sidewalks, etc. Which is one of the many reasons why I hate Las Vegas.
    On the other hand, even though I've never been to Mexico, I doubt that I would feel safe in any border town there. That's my perspective having lived 50 miles from Juarez for over 4 years, and having spent time in El Paso, Tx, just inches from the border. Crime in Mexico is totally out of control.
  19. +1 for being very safe.
    I spent several days up and down the strip with 2 x 5Ds with a 24-70 on one and the 100-400 on the other. The 100-400 is a big lens and it got regular attention from the casino security guards. They couldn't have been more polite though enquiring about what I was intending to photograph with the lenses, reminding me that I couldn't photograph in the gaming halls and asking me gently to be careful not to give any other customers the impression that I might be photographing them. All very reasonable and a friendly approach.
  20. I guess I'm a cynic but so much of LV is a hokey imitation of something else. A P&S is really all you need to capture some holiday memories.
  21. LV is safe, very safe, as everyone has noted above----except--stay away from the tables; that's where you get your money ripped away from you! :)
  22. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I guess I'm a cynic but so much of LV is a hokey imitation of something else.​
    I disagree. See these, for example. Not great photos, but I would have a field day with these if I was shooting there, as with a number of other photographers I know.
  23. Hokey or not, there are lots of nice night shot opportunities.
  24. By USA standards it's safe, By Eurpean standards it's very safe, By New Zealand standards its unsafe. But in New Zealand you can leave your wallet on the table and come back an hour later to find someone looking after it until you return.
  25. Get insurance, get over it
    Some of the best photos I've seen of the real Las Vegas.

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