If you’re a woman traveling alone, you probably feel a little bit safer in a major hotel chain than you do in some odd roadside motel – but you might not be.
There’s been a rash of assaults and rapes in hotel rooms all over the country, including at big-name brands like Holiday Inn and Hilton.
Rapists are using the hotels as hunting grounds
Hotels are supposed to have procedures in place to make sure that nobody gets keys to a room unless they’re registered to it, but those procedures often fail when hotel clerks get busy or make assumptions. In more than one instance, hotel clerks have turned over keys they shouldn’t have just at the asking, without checking. In one, hotel staff members helped a man take an unconscious woman back to her hotel room where he raped her because he told them he was her co-worker and taking care of her.
Essentially, rapists have discovered that it’s relatively easy to get into a woman’s hotel room by taking advantage of lapses in hotel security. They may even be capitalizing on the illusion that “bad things don’t happen in nice hotels.”
Hotels need to enforce their own safety procedures
It’s bad for business when customers start to think they might be in danger, so hotels don’t like to have a lot of obvious security measures in place – even when they’re needed. When a hotel doesn’t take adequate safety measures to protect its guests from obvious or known dangers (or doesn’t enforce the ones that are supposed to be in place), however, that may be an issue of “negligent security.” They can be held accountable for their failures.
For example, the woman mentioned above who woke up to her fake “co-worker” raping her won a $44 million lawsuit against Hilton Hotels for their part in what happened.
If you’ve been the victim of an assault in a hotel because the hotel’s staff allowed a criminal access to your room, it may be time to find out more about your right to hold the hotel accountable.