Police State: DHS Pegs Las Vegas Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR) to Level 1 

las vegas

Las Vegas Is the Only City in America With a SEAR 1 Level Rating

In a sign of growing and necessary police state tactics employed in America, Las Vegas has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as having a SEAR 1 level threat for New Year’s Eve (NYE) celebrations on the strip. SEAR stands for Special Event Assessment Rating. That’s an extraordinary designation for one of America’s pre-eminent party cities. Vegas revelers can’t feel too comfortable.


So, what exactly does a SEAR 1 level indicate? It indicates the possibility of terrorism or criminal activity, according to the DHS. According to Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo, “SEAR 1 would indicate that there’s a known threat or a possible threat to the Las Vegas community.” (Source: “DHS: Las Vegas Strip has highest NYE terror threat level in nation,”NBC News Las Vegas, December 27, 2017.)


The SEAR 1 level has actually been in place since mid-October. It was changed by the DHS two weeks after Stephen Paddock opened fire on concertgoers from a room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, killing 58 people. One wonders why the terror assessment would remain that elevated if it really was just a ‘lone wolf’ attack, but that’s a conversation for another day. The fact remains, the DHS believes that the Las Vegas strip is at high risk of experiencing another terror incident.

In response, a number of security contingencies will be in place. The federal government will deploy helicopters for surveillance, special intelligence officers will scour social media for emerging threats, and additional medical supplies will be available. Snipers will also be dispatched on several casino rooftops.

Sadly, these protocols need to be in place to guarantee the public’s safety. It’s unclear whether these over-the-top security measures will dissuade partygoers from attending NYE celebrations, but it certainly won’t help. Las Vegas used to be a place where you could have fun without a care in the world. That all changed on October 1, and Las Vegas is still experiencing the fallout from America’s deadliest mass-killing event.

Also keep in mind that Las Vegas is high on the international terrorist hit-list. ISIS twice doubled down by claiming credit for the Las Vegas shooting, and it has issued multiple threats in the past. It’s not hard to see why. To the dedicated Islamist, Las Vegas represents the symbolic apex of everything that is wrong with America: unlimited graft, sin, gambling, prostitution, and alcohol. To strike down this ‘evil’ is to strike down at the epicenter of ‘ungodly’ America.

Hopefully, America’s enemies won’t be as successful this New Year’s Eve as Stephen Paddock was three months ago.

How Rare Is a SEAR Level 1 Rating?

The designation of a SEAR Level 1 rating is rare overall. As of mid-June, fewer than 10 events nationwide this year have been categorized as SEAR 1, according to Patrick McMurray, Massachusetts’ undersecretary for homeland security. (Source: “Boston on alert ahead of Tall Ships festival after feds designate event as high security risk,” The Washington Times, June 14, 2017.)

Granted, McMurray’s comments were made in the summertime, but they still underscore the rarity of the events. SEAR 1 level ratings are usually designated for specific high-profile events like the Super Bowl, Rose Bowl parade, Boston Marathon, or Boston’s Tall Ships festival. Rarely are they bestowed on city cross-section, as is the case this year.

In fact, Las Vegas is the only city in America which has a SEAR 1 level rating for NYE celebrations. Not even New York City, with its world-famous Time Square ball-dropping ceremony can say this.


Still reeling from the horror of the October 1 Mandalay Bay shooting, Las Vegas faces another test. It needs to emerge from NYE celebrations unscathed in order to instill confidence that the public can be protected against the likes of Stephen Paddock and others wishing them harm.

But some might argue that the costs are prohibitively high. Part of Las Vegas’s charm was its carefree persona and anything-goes attitude. While that still might be largely in place, so is the police state presence which threatens to alter the strip’s unconscious dynamic.

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