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Hotel Guest Security

International Security Conference And Exposition at Javits: keeping safe

Elinor Garely, eTN  Nov 19, 2009

Always on the lookout for new ideas and cutting-edge technology that will make traveling and hotel visits safer, I was anxious to get to the ISC (International Security Conference and Exposition) recently held at the Javits Convention Center in NY.

Guests need to feel safe
Following right on the heels of our need for air, water, and food is our need for safety and security. At the recent ISC show, I found updated initiatives from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and state-of-the-art security technology that will (hopefully) be installed at the next hotel visited.

Maryann Goldman, a special agent and InfraGard coordinator with the FBI, discussed the agency commitment to soft target protection through a renewed realization: the community and private sector security have important roles to play if we are to live in a safe society. Hoteliers along with travel and tourism security personnel, working through InfraGard, can obtain valuable information and be among the first to receive:

• threat advisories,
• alerts and warnings,
• training on counterterrorism,
• counterintelligence and cyber-crime updates, and
• notice of situations that impact on the nation and US assets.

Unfortunately, at this time, there is no way for travel consumers to get into the “inner circle” – without a heavy-duty FBI investigation.

Joe Tadrick from DHS discussed the importance of integrating all hotel personnel into the security function (including housekeepers and maintenance staffers). From improved technology surveillance to the use of dogs to patrol property perimeters, the best way to keep assets safe is to prevent the bad guys from gaining access. It was suggested that the recent Mumbai hotel terrorism event may have been averted if background checks on hotel personnel had been thoroughly executed, and the back-of-the-house surveillance was adequate.

New products: truth or dare
Smiths Detection has introduced a new dual detector system (Ionscan 500 DT) that identifies explosive substances and narcotics from a single sample. During a brief trade show demonstration my US$10 bill was put through the system, and came up clean while the “test dollar” – showed evidence of cocaine. No longer is guessing involved regarding whether a guest has been near or involved in illegal activities: just check their currency and in 5-8 seconds the large touch-screen color displays the good/bad news.

“Broken window”
For hotels located in less than safe locations and the management team believes in the “broken window” scenario as a way to prevent crime, the Amseco Merlin Graffiti Detector should make it to the Christmas wish list. Merlin identifies and characterizes the graffiti event as it is happening and texts up to 10 users. It can be attached to an existing alarm system or siren, allowing immediate event detection and notification permitting very little time for the perpetrator to get away from the scene.

Going forward: break routines
Hotel guests, airline passengers, and everyone moving from the security and safety of their own neighborhoods to new locations should keep vigilant. The bad guys are constantly looking for opportunities to invade perimeters. Both the FBI and DHS recommend that travel patterns to/from work, to/from airport/hotels be varied: change the time, the day of week, and the route! By using this simple scheme, individuals can lower their vulnerability and decrease their chances for being America’s Next Top Victim.

International Security Conference And Exposition at Javits: keeping safe
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