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Times they are a changing

Leeds, United...
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Times they are a changing

Just got back from Vegas and whilst here are some things that stay the same, there are also other parts changing. Am a regular visitor but my last trip before this was Jan 2012 and in just over a year things have changed in Vegas. Whilst there hasn't been many changes to the hotels/casinos (apart from the IP going under the Quad refurb and Bills closing for their refurb) we found a lot more tramps and beggars everywhere - before the main concentration of these was down on Fremont but now the strip is full of them. Its very sad about the situation these people have found themselves in and some of those in real help can't be distinguished from those who want to scam a few dollars out of the tourists. Some are obvious, like the idiot wearing the dirtiest sesame street emo costume with a sign saying "want beer money" or those wearing a ragged and dirty elvis costume charging $10 to have a photo taken with him. Others are clearly struggling with drug and drink problems. Every year the situation is more prevalent and even the taxi drivers we had during our trip were cursing these people for bringing the city down. Prositution is illegal but the card slappers in the streets were constantly standing in our way wanting us to take a card whilst the cops sat nearby just chatting. I used to ignore them but now I stand still and just say "seriously?!" I still love Vegas and will always be an annual visitor but the situation of vagrants and down-trodden needs to be addressed by the city - if there are any facilities for these people then they are clearly not being used. It's not that by seeing these people that I feel affronted and that they don't deserve help but surely there is enough money in the city to fund some help and get them off the streets and homed/clean. One of the taxi drivers we had was going off on one about them saying they should all be taken into the desert with a load of drugs/drink and let them top themselves so clearly the locals have had enough - I can see why first time visitors to Vegas may get a certain impression that its not a safe place to wander and whilst I have never felt unsafe (and I have been known to walk off strip and downtown) I wonder how long it will be before I do......

Liverpool, UK
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1. Re: Times they are a changing

"Every year the situation is more prevalent and even the taxi drivers we had during our trip were cursing these people for bringing the city down."

Ironic that taxi drivers complain when we see so many posts about taxi drivers long hauling passengers - I've never had somebody having a hard time try to rip me off.

In the current economic climate you'll see " tramps and beggars " in every major city in the world.

The porn card slappers are not promoting prostition services which are illegal as far as I'm aware but legal escort/dance services so little the police can do in terms of simply handing out the cards.

LONDON
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2. Re: Times they are a changing

Hi,

I can imagine that it must have put a dampener on your trip, by the sound of your post. However the truth of the matter is, that while we all want to escape reality while we are on our well deserved breaks, reality stays real. That includes the beggars, thieves, ect.

As Tom says, the economy is getting worse and many more get caught in one way or another. It is sad to see this affecting so many. I live and work in central London. It amazes me the level of shock that many still seem to have, when they see people sleeping rough, in 'tourist hot spots'. They would clearly agree with the cab driver you spoke to, by the looks on their faces.

From my point of view, you never know the next set of cards that life could deal you, so it really is a case of " but for the grace of god go I" and if people aren't bothering me, just get on with it.

Leeds, United...
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3. Re: Times they are a changing

Thanks for your replies - it didn't really put a dampener on my trip but just added a whole lot of guilt at the massive class differences in Vegas that I only ever found on my trips to Eastern bloc countries. I suppose it is because its a "tourist" city that the extent of down and outs seem to be higher than elsewhere and is more obvious. I understand that they are in every city and that most just haven't been able to make ends meet and have turned to a last resort of begging. However there are many who seem to be able to afford motorised carts to dodge the tourists whilst shaking their cups without even asking the question "can you spare any change?" You know there are scammers as well as those that truly need the help and the numbers on the street has doubled since my last visit. As for the card slappers - the cards are clearly for promoting prositutes, not just merely escorts - have you seen the pictures on them? Even the high vis jackets these carders are wearing state "girls straight to your door". The locals we spoke to did say that 70% of the male tourists in the city will hire a hooker. This doesn't bother me, I don't care what the hookers or their customers get up to - at one point the card slapping was a running joke with us. I just would prefer to walk at least down one block without having to avoid 10 of these people and why on earth they think me, as a girl, would want a prossie I never know!

LONDON
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4. Re: Times they are a changing

Hi,

the 1st and last time I went to Vegas was in 2006. We saw card slappers and they didn't seem that aggressive. That definitely seems to have changed then. It is always a shame when people who are not genuine, try to cash in on the misery of others. Do you feel you would think twice before returning? It would be a pity if it did, as you always hope the stereotypes of vegas, are those propagated by those that have never been there. But when those stereotypes become truth, because of unsavory characters, such as those scammers, it's such a shame. Hopefully, the authorities will take the scammers in hand.

Derby, United...
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576 posts
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5. Re: Times they are a changing

I find it difficult seeing street homeless and like you state the difficulty in distinguishing who is genuinely in need as opposed to the scammers. Sadly this problem is getting worse everywhere.

It saddens me to see the guys with the signs "I'll take verbal abuse for $'s" as to whether they are genuine who knows, I just hope not.

We were approached numerous times downtown for money but all were very courteous, we declined every time as I never give money however did buy a few hot drinks and went and got some food too.

They say we are all but 3 pay cheques away ....as happy traveller "states but for the grace of god go I "

The porn slippers can be annoying we didn't see that many last time it reminded me of the timeshare sellers in Tenerife in the 90's when we went in february last year lol. I like to walk without being hassled.

Mentioned in this post
Tenerife
Tenerife
Canary Islands, Spain
Pierre, South Dakota
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517 posts
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6. Re: Times they are a changing

Card slappers aggressive? Not hardly. They offer, you can take or decline as you see fit. I've never had ANY sort of issue with them being aggressive in the slightest. I don't know that I've ever had one so much as speak to me, let alone act aggressive or impede my walking. Its funny you mention stereotype....you are actually promoting an untrue one by stating you were in vegas once, the slappers weren't aggressive, but seem to be now. I was Vegas the first time in 2006, and have been back at least once a year since. I have seen NO CHANGE in their behavior, other than fewer cards littering the streets around their locations. As for their content, and what "services" the girls provide....the cards say girls to your room, not sex on demand. Whats implied, and whats actually stated may be two different things, but the police cannot arrest someone for promoting prostitution for handing out cards advertising private nude dance or massage, neither of which is illegal. Whatever the arrangement the customer and girl come to beyond that is their business, but is NOT openly advertised, hence the difficulty in stopping it. You can't arrest someone because you think they may be promoting a business which MIGHT provide a front for prostitution. In this country, guilt has be PROVEN. That requires catching people in the act or open solicitation, not passing out cards for a nude massage

ENGLAND
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4 reviews
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7. Re: Times they are a changing

Its definitely gotten worse over the past few years.

I went to Vegas nine times from 2003 through 2008, and things did not change much regarding the beggars.

But when I returned in 2012 there had been quite a change.

There were now loads of these clowns dressing up in costumes all over the place.

Credit to some of them for effort, but a lot of them just throw on a few rags and expect tourists to pay them to have their photos taken with them.

Granted I have had my photo taken with the hangover guy, but he does look like him, and anyone who wears just underpants on a cold January evening ion Vegas, deserves a couple of bucks imo...lol.

As for the beggars. I have always been fairly generous with them, and have given some of them a few bucks over the years.

But what I found hard to take on my last trip, was that a few of them were sitting there listening to their mp3 player, smoking cigs and drinking alcohol from a can or bottle.

Hard to feel sorry for someone who is claiming to be homeless and skint, when they can clearly afford fags and beer.

Truth is, yes there are a lot of people who are homeless through no fault of their own, but without doubt some of them are just to frigging lazy to get of their arses and look for a job like the rest of us have to do.

As for those idiots blocking all the bridges hitting bongo drums or playing the same note over and over. Get out of my way.

Your just making a noise, and blocking the path.

Not to bothered about the porn slappers.

They dont touch you, and after a while its easy to just ignore them.

The way it been going the past few weeks, we tourists will have more to worry about than beggars and slappers. We will have to be careful we dont get shot or blown up as we take a taxi from one place to another...lol.

birm
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8. Re: Times they are a changing

"...but surely there is enough money in the city to fund some help and get them off the streets and homed/clean."

What makes you think so?

Upstate New York
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9. Re: Times they are a changing

I just returned a few days ago. I found it to be somewhat worse in terms of people approaching me. I did not find the porn slappers to be any more plentiful nor more aggressive. They've never said a word to me. I found the time share people the most annoying and aggressive. I used to enjoy roaming the strip more than I do now. Friends used to return from a stay at Wynn and say they never left the property. I could see that.

Isle of Wight...
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10. Re: Times they are a changing

I went for a walk with my wife and daughter around Central London last weekend and they were still a bit shocked by the amount of homeless/beggers going through bins etc. I am used to it and I dont even notice them anymore.

That said, they are not particularly dangerous, a few may have mental health issues but thats it, they do not have guns.

The street gangs in London are still teenager type affairs and stick to their respective estates and are not seen by tourists in the centre of town.

August will be my first trip to Las Vegas and I intend to be back in my hotel by midnight and if Im up late, to be up late in my own hotel.

Thats the same as if I was in London or Rome or any other city.

As Im now long past being 20yrs old, I dont feel the need to be out every night wandering around at 4am.