HONOLULU (KHON2) — A night of fun turned into a moment he’ll never forget for Hilo native, Kaiwa Nahooikaika. Las Vegas Metropolitan police said Nahooikaika was stabbed in the head, torso and leg while gambling at the Circus Circus Resort and Casino.
“I was just trying to get away from this guy and trying to get to safety,” said Nahooikaika. “When I got away I tried looking for a security.”
Las Vegas police said it’s incidents like this that prompted them to beef up patrol once casinos reopened after COVID shutdowns.
“We have a large police presence on the strip all the time because we know that any given time there can be thousands and up to hundreds of thousands of people visiting,” said Misael Parra of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “So we just want everybody to feel safe.”
According to LVMPD, aggravated assaults are up in the strip area by 22% and up nearly 45% in the downtown area compared to this time last year.
“We’d rather people let us know about something that looks kind of suspicious and then it turns out to be nothing, then for them to not report something and then it turns out to be something that could have been prevented,” said Parra.
LVMPD said thieves look for victims in busy places with distractions like gaming and shopping areas. For that reason, each casino and resort has layers of security.
“You have the security department which is out there on the floor and they’re usually uniformed, although they also have plainclothes investigators,” said David Schwartz, a gaming historian from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. “You also have surveillance and they’re the ones who watches the camera.”
Some hotels are also changing their policies for visitors and checking ID’s at entrances.
“So Circa committed to being a property for people 21 and over unless you’re a guest. So that’s why they do that and the El Cortez, which is also downtown, is going to start doing that too,” Schwartz added. “So that may be a trend.”
For both residents and visitors, Vegas police are asking the public to report any suspicious behavior. Nahooikaika is urging the community to be careful and learn from his experience.
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“All I would say is be careful when you go to Las Vegas. Don’t be alone and make sure you have someone with you and I would watch my back wherever you go,” Nahooikaika said.