Las Vegas started off as a city run by the mafia, right on the outskirts of a nuclear testing facility. In its early days, it was a trip. During the 1950s, “Atomic City,” as was once known, was the place to go if you wanted to do something sordid, gamble away money, or watch nuclear explosions go off in the desert.
Considering the city’s unusual start, it’s no surprise that it still retains a fairly seedy reputation, especially among people who venture into the gritty side of life. Vegas has bars, nightclubs, strip clubs, and even legalized prostitution right outside of the city’s borders. Knowing that, it’s safe to say crime won’t really ever leave.
Of course, there are neighborhoods where you get naughty through the use of booze and dancers, and then there are neighborhoods where you just shouldn’t go near. If you’re wondering what to make of Atomic City, this guide will tell you what to expect.
Table of Contents
- Is Las Vegas Safe?
- What Are The Worst Neighborhoods In Las Vegas Like?
- 10. Cultural Corridor
- 9. Downtown East
- 8. Desert Shores
- 7. Twin Lakes
- 6. Michael Way
- 5. Charleston Heights
- 4. East Las Vegas
- 3. Sunrise
- 2. Buffalo
- 1. Rancho Charleston
- Crime Rates In Las Vegas Neighborhoods For 2020
- Related Questions
- Are Las Vegas casinos safe for tourists?
- What should I avoid when touring Las Vegas at night?
- Is Las Vegas safe for women to travel alone?
- Is it safe to jaywalk in Las Vegas?
- Is prostitution legal in Las Vegas?
Is Las Vegas Safe?
As much as Las Vegas has improved as a result of tourism, it’s still not a safe city. Crime is on the downswing, but this city still has a long way to go. Due to the “vice” industries that call Vegas home, it’s a hotspot for addiction.
In recent years, people have uncovered underground “cities” of people living in the tunnels. Many of these people have addictions and are deemed a danger by local police forces. Police can only do so much to curb these issues, as they don’t really have a place to put all the vagabonds who come here.
If you want to go away from the Strip, you need to know where you’re going.
What Are The Worst Neighborhoods In Las Vegas Like?
Though it’s very rare that we say that a city is generally unsafe, Las Vegas frankly fits the bill. This is truly a rough town, though many parts of the glitzy city might make you think otherwise. In the lesser-traveled areas, Las Vegas is known for hard drug use as well as underground tunnels where addicts live.
Trying to pinpoint the most dangerous neighborhoods in Las Vegas isn’t easy. So, we decided to take a look at the places with the highest crime rates, with violent crimes being put closer to the top of the list.
10. Cultural Corridor
- Violent Crime: 965
- Property Crime: 4,525
Cultural Corridor was home to the Reed Whipple Cultural Center that closed down in 2011, but it still remains a fascinating place to go if you love pinatas or a trip to the Neon Museum. Just watch out while you’re here, since it’s also one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Las Vegas.
The problems with the Cultural Corridor neighborhood come in both violent and non-violent flavors. Assaults due to drunken fights are quite common, as are thefts. Vehicular thefts, in particular, are rumored to be high up there.
If you choose to go around this area, make sure that you don’t get in a bar fight. They tend to be somewhat common here.
9. Downtown East
- Violent Crime: 968
- Property Crime: 4,541
Most people who have a friend who lives in Las Vegas might have heard of Downtown East. This area is mostly residential, though you can still occasionally find tourist hotspots in certain areas. While the rents here might be higher than in other areas, most people still wouldn’t want to move here.
Who could blame them? It’s one of the most unsafe neighborhoods in Las Vegas. With a violent crime rate of 968 per 100,000 people, assaults are a fairly commonplace issue here. You’re 1.5 times more likely to be a victim of violent crime here than in a typical neighborhood.
Part of the reason is because of the high homeless population nearby. This alone contributes to the high theft rate nearby.
8. Desert Shores
- Violent Crime: 1,202
- Property Crime: 5,584
With a total crime rate over 163 percent above the national average, it’s easy to see why police advise travelers to stay away from things around this area. Violent crimes like murder, rape, and assault are twice as common here than in a typical neighborhood elsewhere.
This area has manmade lakes, a picnic park, and is known for being fairly closed off as a community. So, why would this end up on the list? It’s hard to tell. However, it seems like many residents have issues that make them prone to violence.
Well, it seems like crime has seen a downswing in recent years. Even so, you have a 1 in 15 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Desert Shores.
7. Twin Lakes
- Violent Crime: 1,269
- Property Crime: 8,035
With property crimes over 265 percent above the national average, it’s safe to say that Twin Lakes has a serious theft problem. Even if you’re just looking at the violent crime, the rate still remains about a 233 percent increase over a national suburban average.
The area is close to Wildefire Ranch, the Neon Museum in the neighborhood next over to it, as well as a handful of restaurants. Unfortunately, this area also seems to have a problem with rampant coyotes, rampant theft, vandalism, as well as a serious gang issue.
Should you go to Twin Lakes, we strongly encourage you to stay home at night. Oh? And if you can, avoid the schools here.
6. Michael Way
- Violent Crime: 1,475
- Property Crime: 7,576
Michael Way isn’t exactly the type of area that tourists associate with Las Vegas. In fact, it’s not even that recognized as part of Las Vegas unless you’re a Nevada native. Maybe it should stay that way. After all, Michael Way is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Las Vegas for a reason.
Rumors of human trafficking have been rife around this area, but it gets worse. Assaults, robberies, and thefts are astonishingly common. Living here means that you have a 1 in 12 chance of being a victim of crime. Those aren’t the kinds of odds that we’d like to gamble with.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly place to call home, this isn’t it. Schools here are terrible, as are job prospects.
5. Charleston Heights
- Violent Crime: 1,550
- Property Crime: 8,007
Admittedly, Charleston Heights has a lot of entertainment options that make it a fairly popular place for people to Airbnb during their stay in Vegas. Things like local psychic shops, casinos, arcades, and a performing arts center are bound to make people get a little bit curious about the place, right?
Curious as you might be, you still don’t want to live here full-time. The larger main streets are known for having gang graffiti, and the public school system here doesn’t help with that issue. Around 53 percent of residents claim they wouldn’t walk here alone at night.
It could be that they’re all about driving cars, which are very needed here. Or, it could be due to the 1 in 11 chance of being a crime victim. We can’t tell, but we’re willing to bet that the dark city streets have something to do with it.
4. East Las Vegas
- Violent Crime: 1,598
- Property Crime: 6,185
ELV, as you might abbreviate it, is a hotspot for crime—but not in the way that many other districts are. Here, it’s not property crimes that are considered to be a serious concern. Rather, it’s the fact that there is an out-of-control gang issue.
The violent crime rates are so high, they are almost triple the typical rate in Las Vegas. With a 320 percent violent crime rate above the national average, going out here at night is not suggested in the least bit.
The main reason for the uptick in crimes is linked to the new flood of homeless people who have made a habit of rummaging through garbage cans. However, new businesses have been helping this area get a little nicer. So all isn’t lost.
- Violent Crime: 1,629
- Property Crime: 7,157
Sunrise, also known as Sunrise Manor, might seem like a sunny place to live, but the crime rate definitely casts a shadow on the residents’ ability to enjoy life here. The violent crime rate is a whopping 328 percent higher than the national average, with almost every crime imaginable making its appearance on a police blotter.
This area’s crime rate is unusually high in all the worst areas. Vehicle theft, murder, and aggravated assault are far more likely to happen within Sunrise Manor’s borders than outside. Theft of all types is equally commonplace.
- Violent Crime: 2,036
- Property Crime: 10,155
In a part of Vegas that is almost entirely residential, Buffalo stands out as one of the most unlivable areas in the entire city. The crime rate is to blame, and it’s not showing any sign of slowing down, either.
With a property crime rate of over 10,000 per 100,000 residents, this area has one of the highest crime rates in Las Vegas. This leads people to have a 1 in 9 chance of being a victim, regardless of what section of the neighborhood they choose to live in.
Most people who live here note that it’s “not safe at all,” and urge people to avoid walking alone at night. Listen to the locals, folks! Buffalo isn’t the kind of place that anyone should try to go to for a quick stroll.
1. Rancho Charleston
- Violent Crime: 2,318
- Property Crime: 12,209
With a violent crime rate 500 percent higher than a typical United States neighborhood, Rancho Charleston has more in common with the violence of war-torn countries abroad than most parts of America. Simply put, everyone here has learned to live in fear of the crime.
It’s hard to pinpoint what causes the crime, but most people would agree that it’s a mix between the high drug addict population, the homelessness issue, and the gangs that have slowly made this area home.
Living here means you’ll have a 1 in 7 chance of being a victim of criminal activity. If you feel like taking your life into your own hands, here’s the place to do it. Just don’t say anyone didn’t warn you.
Crime Rates In Las Vegas Neighborhoods For 2020
|Rank||Name||Property Crime (Per 100,000)||Violent Crime (Per 100,000)|
|4||East Las Vegas||6,185||1,598|
Are Las Vegas casinos safe for tourists?
The Strip and the casinos near it are considered to be extremely safe for tourists. In fact, it’s considered to be one of the safest tourism destinations in America thanks to the investments made in hotel security.
What should I avoid when touring Las Vegas at night?
When it comes to being a tourist, you’ll hear every site say the exact same thing: NEVER VENTURE OFF THE STRIP AT NIGHT. As safe as Vegas is as a tourist destination, it is not a good place to wander around by yourself. Stick to tourist areas and you should be fine.
Is Las Vegas safe for women to travel alone?
As long as you don’t venture off the Strip at night, watch your drink, and keep an eye on where you go, Las Vegas should be a totally safe destination for single ladies. If safety is a concern, consider checking out female-friendly travel destinations around town.
Is it safe to jaywalk in Las Vegas?
While some cities might have jaywalking as a part of life, Las Vegas is the last place you want to do it. Due to the extremely busy streets with often-reckless drivers, jaywalking is exceptionally dangerous here.
You could get hit by a car if you choose to jaywalk. Moreover, it comes with a fine of $350 at a bare minimum—and trust us, police will find you here.
Is prostitution legal in Las Vegas?
Despite having the nickname of Sin City, prostitution is one vice that isn’t legal within city limits. Soliciting a prostitute is a crime that can land you in jail for up to six months or get you a $1,000 fine. You also will be forced to take an HIV test if you’re caught.
It’s important to realize that many police disguise themselves as undercovers for this purpose. Unless you want to make a really awkward phone call, you will avoid trying out Vegas “workin’ girls.”