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Hotels must provide safety for their guests and customers. In Ohio, as in many other states, hotels and innkeepers have a duty to protect their patrons from foreseeable third-party criminal acts and other such conduct. What that means is that when the hotel staff knows or should know that there is suspicious criminal misconduct occurring on their property, they have a duty to protect their customers and guests.
This is the concept of foreseeability. A complicated legal term that, when applied to hotels or innkeepers, really poses the question: Could the managers who control the facility and staff have done more to prevent an incident from occurring?
Hotels have a variety of different standards in their industry with regards to security. Most importantly, they must provide some sort of security to prevent third-party criminal acts from occurring on their property. This can be done by private security guards, off-duty police officers, undercover security, visual surveillance in the form of video cameras, after-hour key card access points, visual monitoring of hallways, and more.
Certain hotels, however, voluntarily provide even greater security - or at least that is what they claim. Casinos, for instance, are arguably some of the most high-tech, security-focused properties in the world - especially in the United States. Casino security, especially in casinos with hotel operations, maintain a variety of mechanisms to prevent incidents from occurring. But where is the focus?
Anyone who has stepped foot into a hotel casino knows that the “eyes in the sky” or video surveillance cameras are everywhere. But is the focus on potential injury or harm to the guests, or is it focused on maintaining profitability and making sure there is no cheating on the gaming floor?
Maintaining emergency response plans, and ensuring room/guest safety, may not be as high of a priority for hotels with profitable casinos located on their property. But this is something that always needs to be investigated further.
With the recent events in Las Vegas, we have to ask ourselves: How did this man not only get this amount of weaponry into the hotel, but how was he able to “set up shop” in this hotel suite? Dozens of weapons, drills, and hammers in a Las Vegas casino? It doesn’t add up. Simply pointing the finger won’t do anything to prevent this from happening again. Instead, investigation and discovery into what occurred, what mechanisms could have been in place, are what is needed to prevent other recurrences in the hotel industry.
We grieve for those who were injured and the family members of those who lost their lives. We hope to fight for mechanisms that allow this to never happen again.
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