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How to reduce your risk of being robbed

Whether it’s Berlin, Dublin, Sydney, or Los Angeles, city hotels around the world are viewed as “easy targets” for robberies. Hotels are now more likely to become victims of robbery then are fuel stations, for instance.

There are a few common factors in city hotel robberies world-wide that we have analysed:

1. Robbers disappear into busy streets and large crowds.

2. It is more likely hotels will experience a robbery at night then during daytime.

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3. Males are the usual perpetrators.

4. Robbers carry knifes or guns to put victims under pressure.

5. Robbers have knowledge of the building.

6. They usually know the level of staff on duty.

7. They are aware of cash handling procedures.

Fuel stations have learned over the past few years to deal with attempted robberies by implementing Risk Control Systems (RCS) effectively. A lot has changed in this industry especially in the design of the workplace and in the cash handling procedures. Now fuel stations have become less attractive to rob with the number of armed robberies dropping dramatically.

The risk has shifted to hotels

Robbers have looked for easier targets, such as the hotel industry, with the number of robbery incidents increasing. This trend is expected to continue until hotels put preventative mechanisms in place.

?City hotels have a special attraction to thieves for a number of reasons. Hotels are easy to stake out?. Criminals know that hotels operate with sizeable amounts of cash. The open design of the hotel is inviting, and provides easy access. The low staff level at night makes the hotel vulnerable. Particularly 2, 3 even 4-star hotels often operate with just 1 or 2 staff at night.

Hotels are encouraged to review their risk matrix taking into account the typical behavioural pattern. Ensure the following preventive measures are in place to reduce your risk:

  • Have more then one staff member on duty at reception (particularly at night) or lock the doors at night.
  • Staff should be alert to suspicious behaviour (educate staff).
  • Ensure all keys and staff passes are returned when a staff member terminates their employment.
  • Prepare employees mentally for what to do during a robbery (life comes before material values).
  • If a staff member leaves under difficult circumstances, consider changing all cash handling and security procedures. However, it is always wise to keep a minimum stock of cash at reception to satisfy the robber.
  • Keep in mind that if an employee is captured, wounded or killed during the robbery attempt, hotel guests who are asleep (in a hotel with just one employee on duty) may not be warned in time in the event a fire is deliberately lit in the hotel by the thief to cover his tracks. Hotels should consider a “plan B” in the event of an emergency like this.

Hotels are advised to implement security trainings and prepare frontline staff to handle a robbery. To be on the safe side, treat this information as if your hotel is going to be the next victim and start reviewing your procedures immediately. It is worth the effort when it could save a life and protect your company image.

Before implementing any security systems, contact your local police or hotel security consultant to seek advice. They should be able to provide you with a local crime atlas and give you information on the crime history within your area. Put Risk Control Systems in place after fully assessing and understanding the risks.

About the author

Founder and Managing Director of Sky Touch Consulting, Stefan Vito Hiller, has over 20 years experience in the hotel industry including five years experience in the security field. He has worked for leading hotel brands in Munich, Frankfurt, Bremen, Berlin, Cork, Edinburgh and Doha in the Middle East.

When working for a leading global security company in Germany, Stefan developed their hotel and tourism security segment. In this position, he conducted overt and covert security audits, provided security training and developed innovative security solutions.

Stefan now consults to hotels to implement innovative and affordable strategies to raise their level of security to meet growing global demands.

Tags: Security

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