What are the most common hotel crimes? Not theft, UK police say

New data shows that “violence against another person” is by far the most common criminal offense reported in British hotels.

Statistics from eight police departments across the UK show there were 4,589 allegations of violence and 1,307 allegations of riots, which often involve intimidation or the threat of violence. – in hotels, motels and guest houses from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022

This is more than 3999 reports of theft, robbery and burglary.

There were 1,206 reports of arson and criminal damage, and 1,107 reports of rape and other sexual offenses. Several cases of modern slavery (three) and murder or attempted murder (three) were also recorded during this period.

The numbers came from freedom of information requests seen by CNBC to the top 10 police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Bristol and Scottish Police Services declined to release the data, according to a summary of the results provided by CNBC.

“Crime Magnets”

Brian Moore, COO of hotel security consultancy Global Secure Accreditation, told CNBC that hotels are “magnets for criminals.”

“You have big buildings full of people who are usually in a country or area they don’t know, so they’re like a fish out of water. There may be a language barrier and they are usually relaxed and not vigilant. “said Moore, a former high-ranking police officer who ran the London Olympics as Director General of the UK Border Force.

For example, travelers often leave their belongings in hotel bars and restaurants while they talk to people, he said.

“But given that these are public places, it’s no different than leaving something on the bus,” Moore said.

Asked about the numbers in the UK, Moore said: “I think most people would be surprised by the level of crime, as the UK is relatively safe. Hotels take pride in their safety, and many people think so.”

In cases of violence, alcohol is often the cause.

Brian Moore

COO, GS Accreditation

In his experience, most violent crimes are committed between people who know each other—although this may include people who met at a hotel—whereas “acquisitive crimes” such as fraud, theft, robbery, and burglary tend to committed against strangers.

“In cases of violence, alcohol is often the cause,” Moore added. “Hotels are places where people tend to drink excessively, often at a time when there are fewer staff and security. The staff may interrupt the meeting, but the drinking may continue in the rooms.”

How to stay safe

Hotels should ensure that only people with a legitimate need for them have access, Moore said.

Elevators and corridors of the rooms should be accessible only with an electronic card and have good video surveillance coverage. He notes that smaller hotels that may not be able to provide these things are not necessarily more dangerous if they can tell guests from non-guests.

Hotel guests should store valuables in in-room safes and exercise caution when using the hotel’s Wi-Fi.

Anupong boy | Moment | Getty Images

It’s harder to secure public spaces while maintaining a welcoming environment, Moore said. But an employee who approaches a suspicious person, even with a friendly word, can scare away a potential thief or scammer, he said.

Guests can improve security by doing the following:

  • make sure room doors have automatic closing mechanisms and double locks
  • bring or request a door wedge to add an extra layer of security
  • use the in-room safe and keep an eye on valuables in public areas
  • never say your room number out loud; this prevents someone from going up to the front desk and trying to get the key by pretending to know the guest.

Use of Wi-Fi in the hotel

Wi-Fi in hotels is a notorious target for scammers, said Lee Whiting, commercial director of Global Secure Accreditation.

Whiting said guests should avoid making transactions, entering passwords or revealing secure information while connected to it. He added that those using VPNs or virtual private networks should not be able to access sensitive material before logging in.

Hotel guests also need to make sure they are connecting to the hotel’s network and not to a fake network of the same name.

Whitening remembered testing software at various hotels to see if anyone would try to access his team’s laptops. According to him, in the most extreme case, the laptop was attacked 600 times in 24 hours.

business travelers

Whiting, the former head of travel at HSBC Bank, also told CNBC there is growing awareness that companies need to improve employee safety when it comes to business travel. He also said that companies could be liable if they fail to mitigate certain risks.

The non-governmental organization ISO, which is made up of 167 national standards bodies, recently released paper identify threats, risks, and prevention strategies that companies can use to manage travel.

“Historically, home inspections have not always been done properly,” Whiting said. “If a company sent a security checklist to a hotel, little was done to verify the answers they gave.”

But an employer must exercise caution when sending workers abroad or to another city, he said.

“Independent reviews need to be done.”

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