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Intruder in Hotel Room - What is an appropriate response?

Intruder in Hotel Room - What is an appropriate response?

Old Feb 14, 07, 10:06 pm
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Intruder in Hotel Room - What is an appropriate response?

So, I'm not sure if this is the right forum but since it is a safety/security issue, I thought I would try here first.

One of my girlfriends who is in Orlando on business just called me to report a scary incident that happened to her at the Orlando Hard Rock hotel.

Apparently, she went to bed last night at around midnight. She was awakened at around 4:00 a.m. by an intruder in her room who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood over his head. She screamed and he ran out of the room. She tried to follow him but by the time she reached the door, he had ran down the hall and she didn't see him. She called the front desk and they sent up security - it took 20 min. for security to come to her room. She made the front desk clerk stay on the phone for the duration because she was so freaked out.

The security officer that came to her room said that no key cards had been used to open her room since she entered her room earlier in the evening and she said that she had noticed earlier that the door did not close on its own and required some force on her part to make sure the door was fully closed. She felt like they were blaming her.

They did move her to the concierge level which requires a key in the elevator to access the floor. She doesn't expect to get a lot of sleep tonight as she is still freaked out by the experience.

She really doesn't think the hotel took the complaint seriously - neither do I. The police were not called and they basically blamed her.

My understanding is that hotel doors should close on their own - I believe this is part of building codes.

I'm going to help her write a letter to the hotel chain regarding this incident - what do you think should be done beyond this? Do you think the GM of the hotel should get a chance to respond first before it is elevated?

Any advice would be appreciated. As a woman who travels frequently for business, this is my worst nightmare.

Thanks,

--Sioux
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Old Feb 14, 07, 11:11 pm
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Yep, definitely a security issue. I would have shot the intruder dead, therefore making him very easy to locate. Not sure if a concealed weapons permit is a valid option for your friend, and regardless it won't help the current situation, but it does provide a feeling of security in case that were to happen again.
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Old Feb 14, 07, 11:18 pm
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I would think police should have been called (and security should have been there in less than 20 mins), but, you know, that might make the newspaper and that is NOT good PR.
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Old Feb 14, 07, 11:22 pm
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Originally Posted by J-M View Post
Yep, definitely a security issue. I would have shot the intruder dead, therefore making him very easy to locate. Not sure if a concealed weapons permit is a valid option for your friend, and regardless it won't help the current situation, but it does provide a feeling of security in case that were to happen again.
Let's not turn this is into a gun issue.

Is there a bypass key for the lock? If so, the lock could have been picked. Paper could have been wadded up into the catch to make the latch only partially catch. From there, it is easy to use a piece of flexible plastic to work the catch back? Was it a room with a locked internal door to another room. What about a balcony?

Your big thing is to find out how many incidents. Also you might wish to file a police report. Hotels want to keep this internal.
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Old Feb 14, 07, 11:28 pm
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My sympathy to your friend -- it must have been a horrible experience.

Since no one has said it, though, I will:

ALWAYS turn the dead bolt and put on the security chain when you're in a hotel room. It should become a reflex. At minimum, it will keep out the guest who was issued the wrong key, or the over-zealous maid. It will, however, ensure that what happened to your friend doesn't happen again.

This is a habit for me -- enter the room, put down the bag, lock the door and put on the security chain.
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Old Feb 14, 07, 11:33 pm
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Originally Posted by J-M View Post
Yep, definitely a security issue. I would have shot the intruder dead, therefore making him very easy to locate. Not sure if a concealed weapons permit is a valid option for your friend, and regardless it won't help the current situation, but it does provide a feeling of security in case that were to happen again.
J-M, I have nothing against guns (I've got a shotgun and a pistol at home), but I'm curious. There are so many incidents of the hotel issuing a new guest a room that is already occupied, don't you think it might be better to ask questions first and shoot later? I've been glad for my shotgun at least once when someone tried to break into our home (I didn't need to fire it, but keeping it trained on our bedroom door while waiting for the police sure made me feel a whole heck of a lot better about the situation). That time, I was prepared to shoot through the door if the knob turned -- no one had a key to our house, except me and my wife and we were both accounted for. However, in a hotel, likely as not, it was just some room clerk screwing up (though probably not in the case of the OP's friend). You wouldn't really shoot some poor business person who had the double misfortune of arriving late and being given the wrong room, would you?
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Old Feb 15, 07, 1:55 am
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Not too late to call the police. I wouldn't take their claim that no one used a card to enter her room all night. They may be covering for someone - a former or current employee for example. As previously stated, it is bad PR to admit they have a problem like that. I'd request the hotel GM (not assistant manager) show you the print out, and tell you what they are doing about it. If it is not a satisfactory answer, call the police to make a report. At least it becomes a part of the record if it should happen to someone else, perhaps with a less acceptable outcome.
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Old Feb 15, 07, 6:00 am
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Irrespective of any other decisions, she should file a police report immediately.
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Old Feb 15, 07, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by J-M View Post
Yep, definitely a security issue. I would have shot the intruder dead, therefore making him very easy to locate. Not sure if a concealed weapons permit is a valid option for your friend, and regardless it won't help the current situation, but it does provide a feeling of security in case that were to happen again.
Ouch. I'm glad I wasn't coming into your room last year when Mercure gave me a key card to an already occupied room in Berlin.

I've noticed that quite a few European hotels don't have a secondary locking system from the inside. I find that to be an invaluable aid in keeping this from happening.
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Old Feb 15, 07, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by Telfes View Post
I would think police should have been called (and security should have been there in less than 20 mins), but, you know, that might make the newspaper and that is NOT good PR.
Your friend should've called the police.
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Old Feb 15, 07, 8:05 am
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I've often put my suitcase up against the door as well as locking, double locking the door. In a recent stay at a Miami Beach hotel my husband found the security lock to be broken to bits and put furniture to block the door, but still didn't sleep well.
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Old Feb 15, 07, 8:24 am
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Originally Posted by UCF_BUZZ View Post
Irrespective of any other decisions, she should file a police report immediately.
Totally agree with this.

As for the hotel - first, she should contact the GM this morning to report the incident. If they didn't take her seriously and hope she'll forget it, he/she may not even have been notified of the incident. She should tell the GM that she has notified the police, do THAT first - do not let her be dissuaded from contacting the police and filing a report. Then discuss the 20 minutes (OMG, that is just totally unacceptable) lag until security showed up and the issues with the door. As for the last, I'd hope the police will ask to check that out, as well.

I've been assigned rooms with bad locks either on a connecting or front door. In each instant, I immediately return to the front desk and insist on a new room being assigned. I usually travel alone and have a list of okay/not okay for any hotel room including a working lock, secure connecting door (i hate those rooms) and no door that opens direct to the outside.

Try to always remember to flip the second lock, chain, etc
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Old Feb 15, 07, 8:53 am
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Have your friend call the police right now and file a report. The hotel should have called them immediately- the fact that they didn't speaks volumes of bad about the hotel management. Once the police arrive the hotel had better start taking this seriously and stop blaming her.
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Old Feb 15, 07, 9:09 am
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What an astonishing (lack of) response on the part of the hotel - whether or not the door completely latched, what brought the intruder to her particular door?? Something drew him there - unless they have people who walk in off the street who check for unlocked doors every night, which I kinda think the hotel ought to notice, eventually. He might've been from another room down the hall, or an employee.

I haven't been to that particular hotel, but most I travel to have security cameras on every floor, public area, and, I suspect, on the elevators. I can only assume these cameras are recording.

First off, call the police, and ask if there have been other reports at this property, second, demand to see the security tapes. And 20 minutes to respond to an intruder report at 4:00 am?? Guess everyone was sleeping ...
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Old Feb 15, 07, 9:15 am
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Originally Posted by Sosiouxme View Post
Apparently, she went to bed last night at around midnight. She was awakened at around 4:00 a.m. by an intruder in her room who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood over his head. She screamed and he ran out of the room. She tried to follow him but by the time she reached the door, he had ran down the hall and she didn't see him. She called the front desk and they sent up security - it took 20 min. for security to come to her room. She made the front desk clerk stay on the phone for the duration because she was so freaked out.

The security officer that came to her room said that no key cards had been used to open her room since she entered her room earlier in the evening and she said that she had noticed earlier that the door did not close on its own and required some force on her part to make sure the door was fully closed. She felt like they were blaming her.
Not to make accusations but 20 minutes for security to show up? I could change out of a hooded sweatshirt and back into a security uniform in 20 minutes. I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't an inside job. Call the cops and the GM.
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