Bridge selfies now a crime in Las Vegas?

Stop to take a photograph on a bridge in Las Vegas and it could lead to six months in jail or $1000 fine is what we’re being told, but surely it’s not that simple?

As of Tuesday 16 January 2024, people are prohibited from “stopping, standing or engaging in an activity that causes another person to stop” on Strip pedestrian bridges.

This also includes up to six metres surrounding stairs, elevators and escalators, although doesn’t apply to people waiting to use any of them.

The statement from the Clark County commission stated that its “pedestrian flow zone ordinance” wasn’t aimed at stopping street performers or picture-takers, but rather to increase public safety and pedestrian flow across bridges.

The reason for the measure and how strictly it will be applied has come into question though. While some suggest its due to increased disorder or crime on the bridges, others believe it was brought about following the F1 event on the Las Vegas Strip which saw increased safety concerns over pedestrian flow.

UNLV criminal justice professor William Sousa conducted a report of disorder between 2018 – 2022 and stated that “while the bridges comprise less than 6% of the sidewalk system along Las Vegas Boulevard, 11% of disorder-related calls occurred on the overpasses.”

He goes to on say “a number of disorders are common on the Las Vegas Boulevard South/Resort District sidewalk system, including aggressive panhandlers, solicitation while intoxicated, aggressive street performers, illegal vendors, confidence games (i.e., three-card monte), and drug related activity. “

Meanwhile, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Undersheriff Andy Walsh said “For some time we have been concerned about crowd crush with the ever-growing number of tourists and large events that occur on Las Vegas Boulevard. We’ve seen large crowds on bridges during major events.”

As for how strictly it will be policed, Walsh said that ‘discretion’ would be used when enforcing the ordinance.

Although, not directly being stated, some statements do appear to claim that regular bridge users who stop to take a snap won’t be affected, and that authorities already know the people they want to target.

Eve Hanan, an associate professor at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, states “they (police) have in mind, and this commission, they have in mind who ought to be prosecuted under this,” Hanan told commissioners. “So it’s a law not meant for equal enforcement.”

There is some opposition to the measure, most notably from ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Nevada who say that it is against the First Amendment rights and they plan to appeal the decision and take it to litigation if necessary.

The plan is to install signs on the Strip to identify locations where stopping or standing is prohibited, so it is recommended to look out for them on your next visit and take caution. However, it is expected that the measure has been passed to give the LVPD powers to move certain people on rather than something they will apply to all.

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Lynsey Thompson
Lynsey Thompson
Lynsey Thompson is a UK journalist with a passion for all things Las Vegas and one half of the popular Las Vegas YouTube channel and Podcast Begas Vaby. A regular visitor to Las Vegas for the past decade, Lynsey has written gambling and iGaming content professionally for a number of years, as well as gambling news content.

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