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Las Vegas seen as dangerous even as crime drops

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Updated: 2/23/2013 12:43 pm
By HANNAH DREIER
The Associated Press
LAS VEGAS -- Known as Disneyland for grown-ups, Las Vegas brands itself as a place where tourists can enjoy a sense of edginess with no real danger.

But a series of violent crimes amid the throngs of tourists is threatening Sin City's reputation as a place to let your guard down with no fear of consequences.

A car-to-car shooting and fiery crash that killed two bystanders and an aspiring rapper Thursday followed an elevator stabbing and a movie theater parking lot shooting.

Though crime is falling on the Strip that houses the city's major casinos, tourism officials worry that vacationers and convention planners could begin to steer clear because of a perception of mayhem.

They say that with violent crime, as with so much else in Vegas, perception may outweigh reality.

Following Thursday's mayhem on the Strip, Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie promised Las Vegas was a save place to visit and called the shooting and accident that killed three and injured four an abnormality. He promised the shooters in a black Range Rover Sport who are still being hunted would be found the prosecuted to the fullest extent.

Crime is falling on the main tourist corridor, but browsing through news reports from the past months, you might think the statistics were deceiving. Here's a look at some of the recent crimes and court cases that have grabbed headlines:

-- Dec. 21, 2012: A casino card dealer is accused of using razor blades to slash a co-worker's face at a blackjack table at the Bellagio casino-resort.

--Jan. 1, 2013: A 20-year-old man is accused of firing a gunshot into the floor of a crowded Circus Circus during a New Year's Eve argument.

--Jan. 1, 2013: A sergeant in Saudi Arabia's air force is accused of pulling a 13 year-old boy into a hotel room at Circus Circus and sexually assaulted him.

--Feb. 11, 2013: A University of California, Berkeley, law student pleads not guilty in what prosecutors allege was the torture death and beheading of an exotic bird at a resort.

--Feb. 6, 2013: An overnight shooting in a parking structure outside a movie theater left two teens with major injuries and also hurt a third teen.

-- Feb. 14, 2013: A former high school football coach and teacher from Florida was sentenced to three months in jail after being convicted for accidentally killing a Utah man with a single punch at a casino.

-- Feb. 16, 2013: Two men were booked on suspicion of attempted murder after allegedly stabbing a guest in the elevator of The Hotel at Mandalay Bay on the Las Vegas Strip.

AP-WF-02-23-13 1503GMT




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