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The Big Gamble: Keeping Casino Crime & Traffic in Check

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — Cameras inside casinos are watching your every move, but to keep customers safe at Cincinnati’s new inverted, downtown casino opening this spring, police say eyes will be watching outside too.

“We have plenty of crime cameras in the downtown area,” Cincinnati Police Captain Kimberly Frey said. “There will be crime cameras in and around the casino.”

Frey says the casino has hired about a 100 person security force and will pay for off-duty officers to staff around the casino. It’s all an effort to ensure that the new casino doesn’t bring a spike in crime.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, uses both state and local resources to keep crime in check.

“We do have State Police who are at the property 24/7 as well as the Pittsburgh Police who support us in high traffic periods of time,” The Rivers General Manager Craig Clark said.

Frey says if downtown casinos go as planned, they create the wrong neighborhood vibes for crime.

“Whenever you bring a lot of people down there and you have a lot of activity¬†going on, it’s not a place where criminals are going to want to be or want to stay so they are going to leave those areas, especially when you have a presence,” she said.

She says that’s why planning is key. If people feel safe, they fill the area, but does that mean they clog local roads?

“Are there growing pains? Of course,” Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce President Tony Sheridan said. “You know they are big enterprises, and there will be adjustment periods.”

Sheridan says local roads and highways were actually improved when Mohegan moved in. He also notes that on the days when destination casinos attract capacity crowds, it isn’t all bad news.

“You ask any of these small vendors or businesses about traffic, and they’ll say without traffic we’re dead,” he said.

A rural casino, Mohegan Sun has a number of parking garages.

Cincinnati has one, and in Pittsburgh they share parking spaces with a nearby stadium so that customers have options on how to get to their gambling destination. They encourage all customers to use public transportation.

“In an urban setting, transportation is always the key,” Clark said. “You have to have high volumes of people coming in to your facility for many different celebrations.”

But what about crime? Pittsburgh Police stats show that while call volume is up around the casino, many of the calls are for traffic or alcohol related issues.

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