Why Hotels Are a ‘Soft Target’ for Shooters

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Before Stephen Paddock killed 59 people in Las Vegas on Sunday, police said he brought an arsenal of rifles past security and up to his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay hotel. That Paddock was able to take at least 17 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition up to a room starkly highlights the security priorities of hospitality companies, the New York Times reports.  Wishing to appear inviting to guests, many hotels focus on limiting theft, corralling unruly drunks and ferreting out people wandering the halls without a room, said Mac Segal of the executive protection firm AS Solution. U.S. and European hotels have been “much slower on the uptake” regarding the chances of violence, compared to the Middle East and Africa, he said.

Explosives scanners and X-ray machines — standard equipment at airport terminals — will continue to be scarce in hotels because of the enormous premium that customers place on their privacy, said Jim Stover of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., an insurance brokerage. “The hospitality industry hasn’t gotten its act together in terms of antiterrorism,” he said. “It’s not going to be pushed, it has to be pulled.” In countries where hotels have been targeted by attackers, such as Egypt, Indonesia, and Israel, security tactics are much more intense and often invasive. In India, where in 2008, terrorists bombed two hotels in downtown Mumbai and attacked other sites around the city, holding hostages and killing more than 100 people, major hotel chains began using explosive trace detectors and X-ray systems throughout the country. Jan Freitag of  STR, which tracks hotel data worldwide, said hotels are “a soft target — always have been and always will be.”

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