SECURITY IN HOTELS
Hotel is a service industry. Good service includes security. A hotel with the best service but poor security would expose guests to crime risks and compromise reputation and goodwill. Singapore has an excellent reputation among tourists of being secure and safe. Hoteliers are responsible for the protection of property and well-being of their guests. We should not lower our guard against crime or be lulled into complacency that crime is under control.
Crime Prevention Concept
A crime can occur in any place at anytime to anyone when the elements of opportunity, target and offender coincide. Hotels have to assess the risks and place a comprehensive security system in place. Security is an essential investment and not an optional expenditure.
Crime Prevention Advice for Hotels
Crimes can and do occur in both public and non-public areas. The risk of crime in both places must be assessed and preventive measures taken. As crime risks against person and property in non-public areas like guests rooms and corridors are higher, security measures need to be enhanced to commensurate with the risks.
Control of non-public areas
- Guests rooms located at quiet, isolated corners and near staircases or lifts are particularly vulnerable. Staircase exits should be installed with panic-bar bolt doors for one way exit only. The doors should also be installed with camera and alarm systems to monitor abuse.
- Lift doors exiting into non-public areas and corridors leading to guest rooms should be installed with close-circuit cameras to monitor any unauthorised/suspicious visitors.
- There should be an appropriate ratio of cameras and monitor screens for constant monitoring of entry control points into non-public areas, and swift detection of any unauthorised/suspicious visitors into these areas. These security equipment should be regularly maintained for maximum effectiveness and to produce good results. Recording tapes should be replaced regularly to produce good and sharp images.
- Any detection of unauthorised/suspicious visitors in non-public areas should be communicated forthwith to patrolling security staff who should respond immediately to confront and challenge the intruder. This would not only impress the guests but also dissuade trespassers too.
- To keep in check, unauthorised visitors into non-public areas, an access control system must be managed in areas such as staircases, escalators, entrances and exits leading to corridors and guest rooms. Adequate patrolling security staff and surveillance facilities should be placed in these areas.
- There should be a separate lifts to serve guests to public areas and guest rooms respectively. Lifts to public areas should be rendered inaccessible to non-public areas, and vice versa.
- Newly-arrived guests are unfamiliar with the surroundings, the staff and hotel routines. A short briefing on security tips should be given to them when they check-in. The briefing should include tips like:
- how to identify hotel staff in uniform;
- not to leave room doors unlocked;
- not to open room doors to callers who are not in hotel staff uniform;
- to move about in groups while leaving room for meals and outings;
- to keep valuables in room safe or hotel safe deposit boxes.
- Group tourists should also be allocated rooms together in groups in the same levels so that security staff can monitor the move to occupy the rooms.
Staff, especially those who are in direct contact with guests, should be in uniform and wear security passes with photograph and identification. Such prominent identification will facilitate familiarity with guests and enhance security and service.
Control of identification passes
Control of security passes is essential. Passes should be retrieved from staff who haved ceased to be employed by the hotel. Passes should also be renewed annually for accountability and prevent abuse.
Key security and control
- The easiest way to enter any room is through the door. It is essential to strengthen security of doors with solid timber and quality locking systems. Guest room doors should be installed with computerised electronic card key locking system for enhanced security.
- Guest room doors should be installed with computerised electronic card key locking system for enhanced security. Such a system would record identity of user, date and time of usage, and control time of usage.
- Master keys should be kept by the Manager. The keys should always be accounted for. Any loss, even temporary, must be reported to security management immediately. If a master key is damaged, it should be destroyed, witnessed by the management. Only an authorised locksmith or the manufacturer of the locks should be permitted to make duplicate keys.
- Front desk staff handing out the room keys should verify the name and address of the guest before issuing the keys. In this regard, hotels should issue a form of identification to their guests to facilitate transactions.
- Keys kept at the front desk should not be left unattended or accessible to anyone reaching over the desk. Keys left by guests intended for the drop box should be dropped into the box, which should be deep enough to prevent keys from being retrieved by unauthorised persons.
- Staff using master keys in the course of their work should attached them firmly to a key strap worn around their person. They should not be hung on a service or cleaning cart, or left unattended in the room while the staff is cleaning it.
- Keys not in use should be kept in a secure location and distributed only by authorised staff who must keep a record of movements of every key.
Other essential security measures
- Doors should be fitted with high security locks with dead-locking features. Moreover, a door viewer should be installed to provide an unobstructed view of 180 degrees for guests to check on callers.
- Security door latches would allow occupants to communicate and identify visitors without opening the door completely. All door locks should also be maintained and changed at least once in 2 years to maintain effectiveness. Locks are to be replaced or cylinders changed whenever corresponding keys are lost.
Protection and custody of guest’s property
- Guests should be encouraged to store valuables in room safes or safe deposit boxes in the hotel, which must never be left unlocked and unattended.
- The safe deposit room should be installed with cameras to record transactions and alarm systems against unauthorised entries.
- All security systems must be reviewed regularly by professionals and upgraded as well. This is to counter the challenge of changing crime trends and risks and be a step ahead of potential criminals. Once an effective security system is established, the staff can work with confidence and the guests can enjoy their stay in the hotel, reassured that the risk of crime occurring to them is minimised.