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Holes In Hotel Security, Security Management


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"Holes in Hotel Security" article from the April 2010 issue of Security Management Magazine, Featuring Philip Farina

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Holes In Hotel Security, Security Management

  1. 1. B Y Intelligence L A U R A S P A D A N U T A Holes in Hotel Security L Experts are calling for a renewed emphasis on training for personnel working in the hospitality industry in light of a high-profile stalking case. LAST YEAR’S case of an ESPN A request for adjoining herty says that Marriott has cluded that recommendation reporter who was surrepti- rooms is a red flag, although it also updated room inspection in communications it sent out tiously filmed by a stalker doesn’t necessarily mean that procedures to enhance guest following the Andrews case. through hotel room peepholes something nefarious is going privacy. Marriott was particu- McInerney and Farina both was fraught with security im- on, says Farina. “It should be larly affected by this case be- say they have already seen a plications for the hotel indus- something that goes off in that cause several of the tapings are number of hotels review and try. In the case, Michael David person who is taking that believed to have occurred in a revise their policies in light of Barrett called hotels at which reservation who says, ‘Okay, Nashville Marriott. the Andrews case. he believed reporter Erin An- we need to find out a little bit It’s not just the desk clerks Andrews released her own drews had booked a room; he more of what’s going on here.’” who need training. Every hotel hotel security recommenda- requested the room adjacent to Farina says hotel policies staffer must have security on tions via her attorney, Marshall hers, and his request was should direct staff to contact his or her mind. For example, Grossman, following Barrett’s granted in various instances. the initial guest to confirm cleaning crews should be in- guilty plea. They include in- He then tampered with the that he or she approves of the structed to look out for any- stalling cameras on every floor, peepholes on her room doors adjacent-room request. Mar- thing or anyone that appears improving employee training, so that he could videotape riott International has recently suspicious, and they should seeking guest consent before through them. He most likely modified its guest check-in check peepholes daily to catch assigning adjacent rooms, un- used a cell phone to do the tap- policies so that a guest must any that may have been tam- derstanding red flags, and im- ing. He has since pled guilty to provide consent for any adja- pered with. The American proving peepholes. interstate stalking and was cent-room request from an- Hotel & Lodging Association’s Both Farina and McInerney sentenced to 30 months in other individual, says Marriott president, Joseph McInerney, point out that having cameras prison. spokesperson Jeff Flaherty. Fla- says that his organization in- in every hallway essentially re- The most alarming guest se- curity lapse in this case wasn’t the peepholes or lack of secu- rity technology, says hotel se- curity consultant Philip Fa- rina, CPP, but rather the behavior of the hotel employ- ees who freely gave Barrett the information he requested. Ho- tels should have policies against giving out private client information, which would reduce the likelihood that a stranger could reserve a room next to someone as Bar- rett did. Employees should be trained in the importance of complying with those policies, notes Farina. 16 APRIL 2010 I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y G O R D O N S T U D E R
  2. 2. Intelligence quires that there be someone Whatever hotels do to beef watching all of those cameras. up security and to protect Otherwise, the video will only guest privacy, however, travel- work as a forensic aid and not ers have to realize that they as a preventive tool. That said, bear primary responsibility for McInerney notes that some of their own safety. Travelers the larger hotels already have should be aware that there are cameras in every hallway. many products on the market Farina also advises hotels to these days, some of which train staff members to follow were originally developed for the ten-five rule, which entails law enforcement, that make it smiling at or making eye con- easy to use the peephole to see tact with someone 10 feet into a room. Guests may want away, and reaching out a hand to cover the peephole when for a handshake or saying they don’t need to see who’s at hello and talking to them at the door. five feet. “People who are com- There are other ways for mitting illegal acts, they don’t people to look into a room, want to be recognized,” he ex- such as sliding tiny cameras plains. “They don’t want some- under the door crack or one to pay attention to them drilling small holes in the for any length of time.” Farina walls. The only defense is a adds that this not only deters heightened sense of aware- criminals, it’s also good for ness, say experts, which is why customer service because it travelers must remain atten- conveys to guests that hotel tive to anything suspicious in employees care. their surroundings. DHS Loses Guns DHS IS NOT ADEQUATELY fulfilling its management and oversight duty to ensure that its personnel suffi- ciently safeguard and control firearms, according to a report from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General. A reported 289 firearms were lost or stolen between fiscal years 2006 and 2008. Many of the losses occurred because the firearms were not properly secured, the report stated. The report cited some examples of inappropriate practices, such as a Customs and Border Protection officer leaving a firearm “unsecured in an idling vehi- cle in the parking lot of a convenience store.” The vehicle and firearm were stolen while the officer was in the store. The report recommended that DHS personnel de- velop policies and procedures for safeguarding firearms, such as lockboxes, and acceptance and transfer timelines. The other recommendation was that DHS assess firearm security needs for every of- ficer assigned a firearm and reaffirm to the officer the need to properly secure the firearm. Product info #9 18 APRIL 2010 W W W. A S I S O N L I N E . O R G