“We’re absolutely seeing an increase in crime at hotels,” Philip Farina, CEO of Enterprising Securities, a San Antonio company that designs security programs for hotels, tells USA Today. Security industry veterans say that the hard economic times are especially driving up incidents of theft, including those perpetrated by hotel staff. Hard times are prompting cuts in security at some hotels. As a result, guests must take more responsibility for their own safety by being more vigilant when they arrive and after checking in.
“The current (economic) downturn is associated with significant cuts in security,” says Dave Wiggins, former president of the California Tourism Safety & Security Association. At the same time, he says, hotel employees are working fewer hours and making less money, which “may be pushing some otherwise honest people toward dishonest behaviors.” Many in the hotel industry dispute that hotels are any less safe now, especially after security was beefed up following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Joe McInerney, president of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, says there is no evidence crime is on the rise. Nobody knows how much crime is committed in hotels vs. elsewhere. Police don’t keep statistics on that, and no hotel companies responded to USA Today’s requests for crime data. Hotel security experts such as Farina estimate that at least one crime may occur daily in a big-city hotel. Most are thefts.