The questionable reputation of Las Vegas stems mostly from mob ties with casinos from over 50 years ago. Considering the Disneyfication of the strip and other efforts to make Sin City more family-friendly in most recent years, this reputation has become an outdated and unfair association in the eyes of many.
But like every major city, Las Vegas still has its own set of problems. Various issues continue to plague its streets and its people. Let’s take a look at the leading problems Las Vegans must come together to solve.
Substance abuse rates in Las Vegas are significantly higher than the national average. It’s a harsh reality that has gone mostly unchecked for too long. City leaders, community organizers, addiction experts, and volunteers must team up to find a solution.
Doing something about the addiction predicament in Las Vegas comes down to providing professional treatment options. What’s more, these options must be accessible by everyone. Visiting a Las Vegas addiction treatment center should be normalized for all people struggling with a substance use disorder or drug dependence. Until then, substance abuse will continue to plague our city.
Another widespread issue in the city of Las Vegas is its robust homeless population. This community in Las Vegas is apparent to locals and tourists alike. It’s easy to ignore the vast amounts of homeless people after seeing it for so long, but looking the other way won’t do anything except exacerbate the issue in the long run.
Cracking down on the homeless with a “war on the poor” is not the answer; you can’t threaten or deter people who have nothing to lose. A solution could involve an expansion of social services at the local and federal level. These programs will make it easier for homeless individuals to find work and gain access to affordable housing. Of course, something like this won’t entirely eradicate homelessness in Las Vegas. Still, it could undoubtedly help to lower the number of people on the streets.
As mentioned earlier, Las Vegas has come a long way from its mafia-controlled origins. Mob bosses used to run around town with free reign to knock over banks, break into jewelry stores, and commit all sorts of other crimes with no fear of the law. As depicted in the 1995 film Casino, those days are long gone.
With that said, it’s like crime vanished from Vegas when the gangsters left. If anything, it became open season for petty thievery, narcotics trafficking, and prostitution without fear of extortion. While Las Vegas crime rates are down in recent years, the city remains an alluring environment for criminals for many reasons. Law enforcement must stay on top of this promising trend to prevent a resurgence.
The mafia control of the casinos in Las Vegas wouldn’t have been possible without rampant government corruption at the local and state levels. Though the out-of-town gangsters were eventually forced to leave, corrupt politicians and government systems remain.
A nonprofit organization of investigative journalists, The Center for Public Integrity, graded Nevada’s corruption levels as an “F” in 2015. In other words, Nevada shows a concerning lack of government transparency, judicial accountability, and even internal auditing within government agencies.
The local press’s efforts to hold public officials more accountable have helped diminish the damage, but the fight is not over. Accountability must remain front and center. Like the potential return of crime, putting our guard down may only lead to an uptick in political corruption.
The air quality in Las Vegas is notoriously poor. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in better air due to fewer cars on the road, but this impact won’t last forever. Once things return to normal, a gray haze will return to Las Vegas’ skies.
Doing something about Las Vegas air pollution is crucial. However, two large solutions could include more electric vehicles on the road and funding to implement a mass transit system. Until then, Las Vegas freeways’ photos will continue to look indistinguishable from those of roads in Beijing.
Las Vegas thrives on its reputation as an adult-oriented destination with a dark history (don’t forget, it’s still “Sin City” to many). With that said, the city has taken great strides to be more family-friendly and safe. Like most cities, the path to better days is littered with obstacles to overcome. Fortunately, those residing in our beloved Las Vegas have every reason to believe we’ll get there eventually.