Protection on hotel property will always be a problem. I worked for several years in hotel security and know quite a bit about the dangers that can befall unsuspecting guests. A 40-year-old woman was assaulted when she was in her mini van in the parking lot of the Marriott Hotel and Spa in Stamford, Connecticut. The woman was raped at gun point in front of her two children, both of whom were below seven years of age at the time. The rapist, 55 year old Gary Fricker, has since been found guilty, and is currently serving a 20-year sentence.
Security still is a taboo in the global hotel industry. Not only is it a topic that might give some guests the jitters, but it’s one many hoteliers fear is akin to Pandora’s box—once it’s opened, all the problems will be released.
Hoteliers need to do a better job by talking about security openly and regularly at staff and association meetings. Hotel executives should insist their GMs make security a priority.
- Someone staying in a hotel room for the weekend cannot install a security system or surveillance cameras.
- No matter where you are at some point in time it is possible that someone might try to break in to your space. This possibility exists whether you are home or in a first class hotel. While some areas do have higher crime rates than other areas, no area is immune to crime. Even though you don’t own the space, there are several invaluable methods you can use to lessen the chance of someone breaking in.
- First, keep your doors and windows locked at all times. Most hotels don’t have doormen any longer, and even those who do can’t guarantee your safety. The truth is, there is no way for you to know who is in the building. What if you are attacked by a guest, or by someone who lives on your floor? It’s always safest to keep your doors and windows shut and locked, no matter how safe you feel in a hotel.
- Second, be aware of potential security threats. Know who to call in case of any emergency that might occur while you’re in the hotel room, from a break-in to a water leak. Even if you only plan to stay there a few weeks, you never know what could happen, and it’s best to know how to deal with these issues before you’re panicking.
- No matter where you live, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Make a mental note of people who seem to be loitering outside the building. Never let anyone inside a secure building, even if they are fumbling around as if looking for their set of keys. If someone is knocking directly on your door, do not assume that they have a good reason to be doing so, and never let them into your personal space unless you are sure that they have a valid reason for coming inside.
- Finally, protect yourself and your room with a personal alarm. Many of these portable alarms can also function as door or window alarms, emitting a loud alarm to scare away anyone who attempts to enter without your knowledge. This is a great option when traveling; its very small size enables it to fit easily in your luggage, or even in your pocket, where you can use it to scare off would-be purse snatchers and others who might try to harm you on your travels. Personal alarms are a great choice for those who plan to move soon, since they are so easy to take with you when you go.