Beyond the neon, past the reach of “Lady Luck,” Las Vegas (search) has a burgeoning homeless population.

The number of homeless people is up 18 percent, which in turn has caused vagrancy crimes, trespassing, panhandling and sleeping and urinating in public to skyrocket.

The situation is at its worst downtown, where lesser casinos and attractions struggle in the shadow of “the Strip.”

So as part of a downtown cleanup effort, the city attorney is cracking down on homeless criminals because the old policy of arresting people, letting them back on the street and then re-arresting them for other offenses later was wasting money and resources.

Critics say incarcerating the homeless costs money too, and putting them in jail doesn’t solve anything. They say the new, tougher approach is trying to drive the homeless out of Vegas, making them someone else’s problem.

Click on the box at the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Trace Gallagher.