Hotels on High Alert

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Sep 29, 2009 4:27:00 PM

Last week, counter terrorism officials issued security bulletins to police across the country warning hotels, stadiums and entertainment complexes about terrorist interest.  While the feds claim they are unaware of any planned attacks, the Al Qaeda training manual lists these types of properties as targets.

Are hotels prepared? 

Last month, The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University issued a report titled Safety and Security in U.S. Hotels that examined the physical attributes or features that signal safety and security in hotels.  The report reviewed safety and security measures in 5,487 U.S. hotels segmented by price and geographical locations.  Based on the number of safety and security amenities a particular hotel possessed, they were scored on a scale of 0-100. A score of 100 would signify the hotel had all security and safety features included in the survey implemented.  The average score obtained was 70.  The report concluded, "On balance, luxury and upscale hotels, airport and urban hotels, large properties, and new hotels are most likely to maintain a high level of safety and security amenities...old, small, and budget motels are the properties most challenged in providing those safety and security features that we studied." 

Terrorists and Lawsuits

Should we worry? While it's no surprise that smaller budget hotels lack in the security arena, security is and shall remain a high priority for this industry.  Between fear of terrorist attacks and negligent security lawsuits, hotels need to be prepared and have appropriate security and safety measures in place to protect their employees, guests, and selves as best they can, regardless of their size.  A woman who was raped in a Marriott parking lot 3 years ago filed a lawsuit against the hotel claiming the event was foreseeable because the perpetrator was lingering around the hotel for days prior to the attack and security personnel didn't respond.  Under these circumstances, hotels need to prove there was adequate security on the property at the time of the attack and that the event was not foreseeable. 

Securitas Mobile works with hotels of all sizes providing parking lot patrols to help deter theft, vandalism and safety related incidents.  Many budget hotels have our patrol officers periodically check in with hotel lobby staff, patrol guest room floors, address noise disturbances and enforce safety regulations. To discuss our full range of services or have a free security assessment of your property, email

Tags: Security Trend Alert

Scamming with Skimmers - ATM Fraud on the Rise

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Sep 9, 2009 2:56:00 PM

Skimming, a method of obtaining ATM and debit card information and PINs, is growing at an alarming rate.  While the amount of losses is not publicized by banks, the U.S. Secret Service estimates that annual losses from ATM skimming total about $1 billion each year, or $350,000 per day. 

Skimmers attach skimming devices over the card reader of ATM machines.  When a customer swipes their ATM or debit card, an electronic scanner captures the information from the magnetic strip.  A hidden camera, often disguised as a pamphlet holder, is positioned next to the ATM to video the PIN as it is entered.  Some skimming devices interfere with the completion of transactions and result in error messages indicating the transaction wasn't completed.  Even more alarming, some skimming devices will access account information, allow individuals to withdraw funds, and the customer will never know anything happened until their account is suddenly drained.

According to an ABC News report, bank ATMs are more vulnerable to this type of fraud than stand alone ATMs.   Bank ATMs are targeted more often because they have higher traffic, which results in more accounts for the skimmers in a shorter amount of time.  Also, bank ATMs are usually located in poorly lit areas without anyone around instead of being positioned near employees who might see a skimming device being placed on an ATM in a store or restaurant. 

Consumers are not held responsible for transactions they did not initiate.  This means the banks are absorbing the cost associated with skimming.  In an effort to decrease their losses, some banks have security periodically check their ATM locations to prevent this type of fraudulent behavior.

Securitas Mobile Security Services for Financial Institutions

  • ATM checks (identification of skimming devices)
  • Alarm Response
  • Openings/Closings
  • Interior and exterior inspections

Tags: Security Trend Alert

Top Threats to Healthcare & Social Assistance

Posted by Angela Bertolo on Sep 1, 2009 2:03:00 PM

Based on Securitas USA's 2008 Survey of Fortune 1000 companies, Workplace Violence Prevention/Response was the security threat of greatest concern in the Healthcare and Social Assistance industry, with Property Crime 2nd and Shootings 3rd.

 Top 10 Security Threats to Healthcare & Social Assistance

  1. Workplace violence prevention/response
  2. Property crime (e.g., external theft, vandalism)
  3. Environmental/Social: Shootings (malls, churches, schools, workplaces)
  4. Environmental/Social: Pandemic
  5. General employee theft
  6. Cyber/Communication Security: Hardware theft
  7. Substance Abuse (drugs/alcohol in the workplace)
  8. Environmental/Social: Avian flu
  9. Cyber/Communication Security: Internet/Intranet security
  10. Employee selection/screening

Click here to download the full report which includes,

  • Threat rankings within industry secotrs
  • Security management issues
  • Organizational structure & strategy
  • Budget funding
  • Methodology & sample distrbution
  • Emerging Trends

security threat

Tags: Security Trend Alert, Announcements