The Hotel and leisure Industry is extremely important to Cumbria, creating employment opportunities and income generation for many communities. Thousands of visitors stay in accommodation within the county during their stay. Unfortunately, not all visitors are law abiding, and the hoteliers can be victims of crime. Proprietors are encouraged to take simple crime prevention measures to reduce the risks of crime as set out below:
Car Parks and Landscaping
- All car parks should be well lit and the residents should be encouraged to park in areas where there is good natural surveillance or within a CCTV system.
- Trees and bushes should be well trimmed to allow good natural surveillance and reduce the places where a perpetrator can hide.
- Good signage should be installed to clearly indicate to the public where they are allowed access to.
Entrance and Exits
- Minimise the number of entrances, one is preferable, although not always possible. Reducing the entrances allows owners, management and staff to monitor who is entering and leaving the premises.
- Ensure that entrances are easily viewed from behind the bar, reception or serving area, including emergency exits. CCTV should be used if this is not possible.
- Emergency exits should be alarmed so that staff will be immediately notified if the door is opened or tampered with. Signs to this effect should be placed on emergency doors
- The reception area should be open and staff should have a clear view of all persons within thereception.
- All reception desks should be constructed in such a manner that the tills, money boxes etc should be out with the reach of the public.
- If CCTV is in use within the reception area a camera should be pointed directly at the area where guests sign in thus this would give a good facial image of any persons at the desk.
- An internal alarm/automatic buzzer system should be installed on the main entrance door or reception area to alert staff of a person entering if the reception desk is unmanned.
- This office should be positioned away from access points and common areas, where it is more vulnerable.
- The office should be of solid construction, preferably solid wooden door with appropriate door security fitted (5 lever mortice).
- The office should be incorporated into an intruder alarm security system and where a CCTV system is present it should include coverage of the office area.
- A safe providing adequate capacity and overnight cover should be installed with a deposit facility. The correct size and category of the safe should be determined by an assessment of prospective takings and meet insurance requirements.
- Management and authorized staff should be the only persons who have access to the safe keys.
- It is appreciated that there are a number of keys are required for a typical hotel, however key security is very important. Safe keys, office keys and other security keys should be removed from the premises out with staff hours. It has been known that the security of a safe has been overcome by using a true key which in turn was located in an unlocked drawer; the key had a fob thereon indicating it was the safe key
- Provide a secure box for return of room keys to prevent them getting into the wrong hands
Make your possessions traceable. Consider investing in a property marking kit, use an ultra-violet ink pen or register your possessions at www.immobilise.com – the world’s largest FREE ownership register. (The police have a better opportunity of identifying the true ownership of stolen items if they have been marked in some manner)
CCTV and Intruder Alarm
It is recommended that a good CCTV system should be installed and should cover the following areas:
- Car park
- Main entrance and other entrances that are used by residents
- Reception area
- Main office
- Bar area
- A monitored intruder alarm should be installed. The alarm should have the capability of being zoned, ie the alarm can be programmed to cover certain vulnerable areas, thus removes the possibility of residents activating the alarm.
- Security mark your property, especially antiques and IT equipment
- Draw guests attention to property they may leave in their rooms or unattended elsewhere. Consider offering alternative security to them.
- Consider the installation of electronic entry systems to guest rooms. This will reduce the risks of guests becoming victims of crime, and you becoming the victim of unwanted guests!
Dealing with Fraud & Unwanted guests
- Adopting the aforementioned crime prevention measures will dramatically reduce the risks of victimization. However, criminals are constantly developing new scams. The most recent scam (March 2011) involved a suspect ringing a hotel pretending to be a resident. They called on their mobile telephone saying that the room phone is not working properly and asked to be transferred to another number. The other number is a premium rate number and cost the hotel £100.
- The best way to be advised of troublesome guests causing problems in an area, and / or, new scams, is to join Hotel and Guesthouse Watch
- Hotel and Guesthouse Watch is one of a number of community watch schemes supported by Cumbria Constabulary. It aims to circulate information regarding suspicious people and fraudulent activity amongst the hotel and guesthouse trade and offers targeted crime prevention advice.
Aims of Hotel and Guest House Watch
- Identify and minimise potential crime trends within the hotel environment
- Encourage the collection and dissemination of intelligence and information
- Promote a safe and crime free environment for visitors and staff
- Promote training and awareness in dealing with current crime and terrorism trends, both real and perceived
- Promote the identification of local issues and problems, to seek effective and lasting solutions and thereby reduce the fear of crime