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High Stakes of Child Safety

NCJ Number
Security Management Volume: 43 Issue: 10 Dated: October 1999 Pages: 52-57
Ann Longmore-Etheridge
Date Published
October 1999
5 pages
This article describes the security procedures many gambling casinos are using to protect children from harm and exploitation while they are on casino property.
Since hotel-casinos have focused on providing family-friendly vacations, security measures at these facilities have had to take into account preventive measures to keep children from becoming crime victims. Anthony Nichter, who wrote the security officers' training program for the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, reports that the new mantra for casino security is "assertive intervention." Officers are taught the behavioral cues of pedophiles and other child predators, as well as the general signs of child abuse and neglect; for example, if an arcade officer sees a child wandering around, the officer will approach the child and ask if the child is a guest of the hotel and where his/her parents are. If the answers elicited are unsatisfactory, the officer takes the child into custody and initiates a search for the parents. If an officer sees a child alone in the arcade day after day, Las Vegas Metro Police and the child welfare department may be notified. Also, officers observe all lone adults who enter an arcade, and if these individuals initiate conversations with children, the security officer intervenes to determine the status of the person's relationship with the child. If the person's actions prove to be suspicious, they may be removed from the premises. Other efforts to protect children on casino premises include the provision of a secure nursery for children while parents are gambling and the patrolling of casino restrooms. Youth are observed by security officers to ensure that they do not engage in underage drinking and gambling.


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