More than one billion travelers stay at U.S. hotels every year, according to ADT Security Services. Some fall victim to theft, burglary and assault and some hotel security veterans say these crimes may rise during the current recession as hotels cut employee hours and possibly security staff.
“When traveling, people tend to be more attractive to thieves looking for easy targets and hotel security is usually the last thing on travelers’ minds as they check in to a hotel,” says Jack Feingold, a vice president with ADT Security Services. “But security and safety should be a concern for anyone staying in a hotel this summer.”
ADT offers the following safety tips to reduce the risk of crime or injury during a hotel stay:
1. Avoid rooms with ground- or second-level windows. When possible, choose a room between the third and sixth floors. Rooms on these floors are high enough to discourage access from the street, yet are within reach of most fire-department ladders.
2. Remember always to close and lock your door. Make it a habit to use all locks, including the deadbolt and chain. If you choose to stay in a room that faces pools or beach areas, make sure your sliding doors and windows have sturdy locks.
3. Do not open your door to anyone who knocks unexpectedly. If someone unexpectedly knocks claiming to be a hotel staff member, call the front desk to confirm his or her status before opening the door. Also, teach children never to open the door without your permission.
4. Park in well-lit areas and as close to the hotel as possible. Many hotel thefts take place in parking lots and parking structures, so finding a well-lit area in which to park your car is essential. Women traveling alone should ask for an escort to their cars at night. If possible, use valet parking services. Valet service allows you to leave and pick up your car at the main entry, while also providing an added layer of security for your vehicle.
5. Take note of the hotel’s emergency evacuation plan. As soon as you enter your room, take time to look at the hotel’s emergency escape plan and make a mental note of the nearest emergency exit and how to get there.
6. If possible, choose a hotel with security cameras. Video surveillance cameras can provide an added layer of security to help prevent theft and discourage criminals. Hotel cameras should be placed in stairwells, pathways, exercise rooms, parking lots and any other public areas. Cameras not only help hotel staff track the safety of their visitors, but they are also helpful in identifying criminals if a crime does occur.