Are You Safe in Your Florida Hotel?
South Beach is famous for its perpetual sunshine, beautiful beaches, exquisite fashion and exciting nightlife. Tourists come from countries around the globe to this unique destination where models and entertainment stars are common fixtures.
However, for a Swiss woman visiting South Beach last year, her pleasant holiday quickly turned into a nightmare when she was assaulted, raped and robbed at her high-end boutique Ocean Drive hotel. According to the Miami New Times, the assailant followed the woman into the Breakwater Hotel and pretended to be staying on her same floor. When they stepped out of the elevator at her floor, the 230-pound man attacked. He raped her in her hotel room, beat her and stole her money, then fled.
Even when staying in a luxury hotel, guests should use caution to protect themselves from assault. The American Hotel & Lodging Association offers important tips for travelers, including:
- Do not invite strangers into your hotel room.
- Do not open your door to a stranger without verifying her or his identity.
- Call the front desk to inquire about anybody claiming to be a hotel employee.
- Do not disclose where you are staying or display your key to strangers.
- Notify the front desk immediately about a lost or stolen key.
- Shut your door securely and lock it every time you enter your room.
- Double-check windows and balcony door locks.
- Remain aware when entering your hotel, especially if it is late at night.
- Do not wear expensive jewelry or display wads of cash when out and about.
- Store money, jewelry, electronics, passports and other valuables in your hotel’s safe deposit box or in-room safe.
The blog Journey Woman adds tips for women, particularly those travelling alone, such as:
- Do not identify your gender when booking your room, but instead use your last name and first initial, rather than your first name.
- Request a room in a well-lighted area with heavier traffic and insist on being moved if you are placed in a room in an isolated area of the hotel.
- Pack a doorstopper to wedge into inward-opening doors.
- Avoid such solitary situations as deserted parking garages or parking lots.
Unfortunately, even if you act with great caution, you may still become the victim of a hotel crime. If you were assaulted in a South Florida hotel, contact a personal injury lawyer who can investigate whether the attack resulted from the establishment’s negligent security.