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Gregory Perenich
16 March 2022

How Safe is Your Hotel Room?

Your bags are packed. A movie is playing in the car. You are on your way to the vacation that your family has talked about for months. As soon as you arrive at the hotel, all the stress is gone. You are ready to relax. The last thing you are worried about is being a victim of assault, robbery, or worse, murder.

When people go on vacation, they want to leave their everyday stresses at home. When you’re on vacation, you’re more subjected to crime. While on vacation, we develop a false sense of trust with the hotel and resort’s security. For many staying at hotels or resorts, your safety relies on an electronic room key, chain lock, and a college-aged hotel receptionist who is busy making sure people have enough pillows and towels. In contrast, when you are home, you can provide your own alarm system, guard dog, or floodlights; but when staying at a hotel, this forces you to rely on security services provided. While most vacations are fun, unfortunately, due to a hotel’s negligent security, some vacation-goers become victims of assault, battery, sexual assault, and some do not make it home.

In a study composed of police data from 2006 through 2010 in Miami-Dade County, there were nearly 1000 hotel-related incidents. 59% of the hotel-related incidents reported involved car break-ins: 32% related to theft: and 9% to burglary. Many hotel-related incidents occurred between 6 pm and midnight. While most hotel-related incidents occurred in the parking lots, nearly 20% occurred inside the hotel room, putting hotel guests in even more danger.[1]

No one anticipates these atrocious crimes while on vacation. It is vital to be aware of the security measures provided by the hotel. While enjoying your vacation, you should pay particular attention to where you walk, especially if you’re alone. It is important to not stray towards poorly lit areas and to try to stay with groups of people.

When staying at a hotel, it is wise you request to occupy a floor that requires key card access to keep out strangers not associated with the hotel. It is essential to protect your key and room information as much as possible. You never want your room key or room number to get into the hands of someone capable of assault or theft. Although you may not have much security while in your hotel room, there are measures you can take to maximize your safety. If someone knocks or tries to open the hotel room door claiming that they are hotel staff, do not immediately let them in. Call the front desk to make sure that the person at your door is, in fact, a staff member. It is not uncommon for criminals to claim that they are hotel staff, enter the room, and begin to assault, rob, or even batter you.

A hotel must take adequate security measures to protect guests if they know or have reason to know that someone may commit a crime on their property. In Florida, hotels must maintain their property and warn their guests of potential dangers out of their control. A hotel that provides adequate security measures generally has security cameras, security guards, alarms, limited key card access, multiple door locks, and ample lighting in hallways. If your hotel does not have these security measures, you should be concerned and may want to seek a more secure residence for your vacation.

The lawyers and team members at Perenich Law want you and your family to have a safe and fun vacation. No one should go on vacation and be the victim of a crime, especially when your hotel could have done something to prevent it. If you are injured by a third party or a hotel staff while on vacation, the hotel can be held liable for failing to provide the proper security measures. You have the right to receive monetary compensation if you have been injured by a third party when your hotel should have provided adequate security measures.

Terence A. Perenich, Esquire

[1] Ho, Taiping, et al. “Hotel Crimes: An Unexplored Victimization in the Hospitality Industry.” Security Journal, vol. 30, no. 4, 2017, pp. 1097-1111., doi: 10.1057/sj.2016.11.