Nevada : Safety by City
- Battle Mountain
- Blue Diamond
- Boulder City
- Burning Man in Black Rock City
- Carson City
- Incline Village
- Las Vegas
- Moapa Valley
- Mount Charleston
- North Las Vegas
- Virginia City
- West Wendover
North Las Vegas, Nevada, is a city of more than a quarter million people just north of downtown Las Vegas.
It was officially incorporated in 1946 and has a rich history dating back to the early 1900s.
In the early days, the area was mostly agricultural, with farms and ranches providing food for the growing population of Las Vegas.
During World War II, the city experienced a population boom due to the construction of the Basic Magnesium Plant, which produced magnesium for the war effort.
The plant was later converted into a rocket fuel plant for the Apollo space program.
In the 1950s and 1960s, North Las Vegas became a hub for the aviation industry with the construction of Nellis Air Force Base and the opening of the North Las Vegas Airport.
Nellis Air Force Base is one of the more formidable bases in the country, providing training for the military elite.
You’ll see some of the exercise in the skies above North Las Vegas from time to time.
As the Las Vegas Valley population surged in the 90s and into the 2000s, North Las Vegas grew to the northern edge of the valley.
What was once considered a dangerous part of town became a place for lower housing costs and a better quality of life.
In some ways, North Las Vegas is almost two towns.
One for an underserved population and another for newcomers to the valley.
On both accounts, it’s more of a dense residential neighborhood than a place to put on your travel itinerary.
Warnings & Dangers in North Las Vegas
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here, mostly because of the violent crime that is rising. The real concern here, warranting the medium risk, is that 44% of violent crimes happen against strangers.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Just about every major street in North Las Vegas has a route along the RTC bus system map. Taxis and rideshares are available quickly, 24/7. Rental cars are also an option. Every option comes with pros and cons, but North Las Vegas isn't the safest place to wait for a bus. The other options have a low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Between 2017 and 2022, the city averaged 14 pickpockets or purse snatchings each year. In 2022, the raw number was 28. That's a medium risk for the potential and the reality. This isn't a part of town where you should ever let your guard down.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Flash flooding and summer thunderstorms are the biggest risks, with extreme heat being common in the summer. Wildfires are a general risk in Nevada, but there's not much risk that North Las Vegas would be evacuated unless the rest of the valley needed to be. Air quality from wildfires can impact those with allergies and respiratory issues. You do need to stay weather aware here, so treat it with a medium risk, mostly so you'll be prepared for the unique conditions of the desert.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
31% of all robberies between 2017 and 2022 were highway robberies, meaning they happened on a public sidewalk, street, or parking lot. That's a high enough percentage to give it a medium risk.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
With Nellis Air Force base here and the nearby city of Las Vegas, there's a medium risk. Both are hard targets. However, there's also a lot of security well aware of those risks. The best thing you can do is report any suspicious activity to the local police.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Most scams here are against people who live in the region or the casinos. Fraudsters here will always be looking for a crime of opportunity. Just walk away from anyone promising a deal, cheap tickets, or a deep discount on items like jewelry or name-brand bags.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Women should treat this city as a medium risk too. As a woman who lived here, I wouldn't drive anywhere in North Las Vegas south of Cheyenne at night. If you're visiting a North Las Vegas casino, even in a large group, always ask for a security escort to your car.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Years of Water Quality Reports show no violations and full compliance, but there's a bigger issue with the water here. Tight water restrictions and conservation efforts have been in place for years. Homeowners can only water lawns on certain days of the week. Guests are asked to reduce water use, like turning off the faucet while they brush their teeth or cutting their 15-minute shows to 10 minutes.
Safest Places to Visit in North Las Vegas
To be honest, there are not a lot of things to do for a tourist in North Las Vegas.
Even the travel guides for North Las Vegas push you to the more common tourist attractions outside the city.
Visit Las Vegas is the main tourism website, and the city of North Las Vegas website has information about parks and recreation areas.
Just south of the North Las Vegas boundary, you’ll find two of the best and safest places to visit in an otherwise not-so-safe area.
In the legends of Las Vegas, there’s little knowledge beyond the fact that it was once a Mob-run city.
In fact, the city was founded by Mormons who named it Las Vegas, which meant “The Meadows,” for a water supply they found.
That location is now preserved in the heart of the metro area at the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park.
At the museum, you’ll find a visitor’s center with historic information and artifacts, a site of the first ranch house, and historic wagons around the reconstructed fort.
Next door is the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, with pre-historic stories from around the world and special sections dedicated to geology, archeology, and anthropology of the Mojave Desert.
Just south of there, off Las Vegas Boulevard, is the Neon Museum.
What was once referred to as the Neon Boneyard before it was made public is now a place where you can walk among the neon lights that once lit the desert sky but were too precious to destroy.
For family trips, the DISCOVERY Children’s Museum is four miles southeast of North Las Vegas.
Summit up 12 levels of unique activities, play in Water World or take time in Toddler Town.
There’s something for every child’s imagination and interests.
Check the schedule at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the northeast edge of North Las Vegas.
Racing experiences where you can drive on a real NASCAR track are available.
Camping and RV sites are available at LVMS.
For the dusty side of road racing, check out the Nellis Dunes on BLM property, where ATV enthusiasts ride 900 acres of land.
The Thunderbird Museum is open for tours on Nellis Air Force Base, which showcases the history of precision flying going back nearly 70 years.
You will need a Nellis AFB access pass to see this, and you can learn more about that by calling (702)652-7200.
Craig Ranch Regional Park is a 170-acre park with an amphitheater, skate park, dog park, and community garden within.
Look for local events during your visit.
Places to Avoid in North Las Vegas
The places to avoid in North Las Vegas actually start in Las Vegas.
Downtown Las Vegas, which is not the strip.
It’s the Fremont Street Experience, which is seedy in its own right.
Between Washington Avenue and Craig Road, you’ll find the most dangerous neighborhoods, and aside from the handful of museums there, it’s a place to avoid.
It’s definitely a place to avoid at night.
The area east of North Las Vegas is to be avoided as well, including the surface streets and parks.
If you need to get gas, do so on the west side, northwest side, or south part of the metro area.
The Cannery, Aliante Casino Hotel Spa, and Santa Fe Station Hotel Casino are all safe places to visit.
Jerry’s Nugget is a Las Vegas icon, but it draws a tougher crowd than the others.
Safety Tips for Traveling to North Las Vegas
- While most of the Las Vegas region has law enforcement from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD, aka “Metro”), North Las Vegas has its own police force. You can find them on social media channels as North Las Police or NLVPD.
- It’s understandable that if you have information about a crime, you might not want to get involved. You can still call Crime Stoppers at (702) 385-5555 to report the information anonymously. Your information could help you earn a reward without having to testify in court or spend time on your vacation filing reports.
- If you see graffiti or people in the process of spraying graffiti, don’t say anything to them. Call the Graffiti Hotline at (702) 633-1871 to report it.
- If you are renting a car and staying in North Las Vegas, it’s a worthy investment to get a steering wheel lock. This will help prevent thieves who start the car from being able to drive. Also, if you park with your tires turned, it will make the car hard to tow.
- North Las Vegas is a diverse town, and most documents, signs, and attractions have information in English and Spanish. You can also ask for a Spanish-speaking tour guide or officer as needed.
- For those who plan on driving out of town on I-15, check the schedule at the LVMS. If it’s racing weekend, I-15 will be backed up for miles in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Some people even opt to pay extra for a helicopter ride to and from the raceway to avoid that traffic.
- Jerry’s Nugget is touted as one of the pieces of “Old Vegas” still standing, and the prime rib is said to be “World Famous.” This is not the same place as the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas. If you *really want to visit here, do so in the daytime. You should also know there are two strip clubs right across the street. (No judgment, just a fact).
- Do not drive through North Las Vegas to see if it’s “really that bad.” Its reputation is worse than its reality, but it is still not a place where you should haphazardly drive around. If you are spotted as a tourist, you’re just creating a potential crime of opportunity. I would also drive through this area with your doors locked at all times and enough space between you and the car in front of you to escape.
- If you see a police chase happening, get out of the way. It’s the law to pull over for emergency vehicles, but don’t try to get social media video or become a sudden “freelancer,” as you could end up in an accident.
- Make sure you have comprehensive car insurance here, as too many accidents happen with uninsured motorists who either hit and run or don’t care if they go to jail for a night for not having insurance. Protect yourself, despite the extra costs. People drive aggressively here, and the speed limit on the 15 through the strip corridor means nothing. The first I drove it, the average rate of speed was 90, and I was still being tailgated.
So... How Safe Is North Las Vegas Really?
North Las Vegas has a long-time reputation as being in the bad part of town.
Some of that reputation is true, but as the city grew to the north, the overall crime statistics went down.
Once you go north of Cheyenne or Craig, you’re getting into a much safer area.
In 2011, North Las Vegas had four homicides.
In 2022, the number was 26.
Over the past five years, the average number of homicides each year was almost 25.
Violent crime is 15% higher than the national average, although Las Vegas has a higher violent crime rate.
Las Vegas also has more than double the population of North Las Vegas and all the major tourist attractions.
Car theft was up 40% between 2021 and 2022, a trend that is happening in many large cities nationwide.
The raw data equals about five cars a day being stolen.
Theft is surprisingly 35% lower than the national average, but just more than half of those are related to car break-ins or car accessory thefts.
The thing about North Las Vegas is that the most dangerous parts are not a place you’ve going to stumble upon.
The highways and major roads go along each side of the city, but you won’t have to drive through a gang neighborhood to get to the casino of your choice.
I lived in Las Vegas for a decade, and I can only think of a handful of times I had a reason to go to North Las Vegas, and each was a media event at a casino.
Those casinos also have exemplary security, like any other location in the state.
In the Aliente neighborhood to the north, there’s little concern for your personal safety.
If you go looking for trouble, you’ll find it here.
If you stick to tourist areas and keep situational awareness using common sense, you’ll be fine.
How Does North Las Vegas Compare?
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- Visas - International visitors need a passport and visa or visa waiver to get through Customs and Border Patrol at the airport. Given how many international guests come through the airport here, you can expect a thorough vetting process before you can get to baggage claim.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted here. You'll be able to exchange currency at Travelex, located inside the International Terminal. Casinos will charge high fees for currency exchange or ATM withdrawals. You'll get the best value from your home bank.
- Weather - Bring comfortable walking shoes, as exploring the Las Vegas area can be hard on your feet. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats are helpful to block the blistering sun from spring through fall. Winters can be cold but will still be mild. Even when locals are wearing thick coats and boots, people who don't live in the desert will be comfortable in t-shirts and jeans with a light jacket.
- Airports - Harry Reid International Airport, formerly McCarran International Airport, is the major airport here. Be sure that you use Terminal 3 for international flights. The terminals here do not connect. It's just 20 minutes from North Las Vegas, but if you're driving during rush hour, double that time. The North Las Vegas airport does not have commercial flights.
- Travel Insurance - Comprehensive travel insurance is the best choice to cover all aspects of the flight, rental car, health insurance, and property loss.
North Las Vegas Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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