Several years ago, a Nebraska 1 national brand name hotel sustained more than $100,000 in damages when a telephone prankster, posing as a hotel employee, persuaded a guest to set off the sprinkler system. The guest, who was told that an employee had accidentally broken a gas line and that an explosion was inevitable if the sprinkler system was not activated, complied with the prankster’s instructions. The result was that approximately 5,000 gallons of water flooded the hotel, damaging several guest rooms and the hotel’s only meeting space, which took weeks to repair, and resulted in a loss of revenue due to the loss of use of these facilities.
Although this unusual act of vandalism involved a phone call rather than a physical act by the vandal, vandalism in general is a risk that all hotels face and must take steps to avoid or minimize. Installing and maintaining reasonable prevention techniques will not only minimize the risk of vandalism, but other crimes as well. A single criminal act can seriously damage the hotel, so emphasizing prevention can promote the safety of its clientele and minimize the risk of loss to hotel property and to its reputation.
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