(Here is an excerpt from
some of Mr. Zehring's training curriculum)
COMBATING CRIME IN OVERNIGHT LODGING
WHOSE JOB IS IT TO FIGHT CRIME?
This question has a multitude of answers depending on whom you ask. The best
answer is found in combining resources. A partnership
with police and property managers will push crime out of the area.
lodging managers are sometimes quickly frustrated when trying to report
crime problems to the police. It appears the police are in too much of a hurry to
get to the next call or the next cup of coffee. It
just seems the police don’t show enough interest. If they cared, they
would arrest the troublemakers, right? Well, it’s not always that
the other hand, police officers are sometimes quickly frustrated when
trying to solve crime problems in overnight lodging because some managers
appear to be apathetic toward crime. It
appears that some managers intentionally rent to anyone, even criminals,
as long as they can pay the bill.
truth is, there are some managers and police officers that could do
a better job. But the majority of police officers and managers are
doing their level best. Working together in a cooperative effort, managers and police
can successfully reduce crime.
The Air Displacement Theory
a balloon is squeezed from one side, all of the air is displaced to the
other side. When the pressure is released, all of the air comes right
back. The police have this same effect on crime. The police can respond to a crime problem, apply
pressure, and temporarily displace the troublemakers, but as soon as the
police move on to the next problem area, (and they WILL have to), the
visualize management squeezing the topside of the balloon, maintenance
personnel squeezing the bottom side of the balloon, police officers
squeeze from one side and front desk personnel the other side. Do you know
what will happen? The balloon will burst.
Civil Laws vs. Criminal Laws
officers usually do not have sufficient training in the civil laws regarding
overnight lodging. Frequently, the police expect or even ask the
management to do things that they simply are not allowed to do. The reverse is
also true. Frequently managers ask the police to do things that they are
not allowed to do either. If neither the management nor police
officer communicates these limitations sufficiently, the lack of action is
viewed as apathy.
clear up the matter, we first have to see the differences between civil
and criminal matters. They have very little in common. In fact,
sometimes they have NOTHING AT ALL in common. Hotel/motel managers work
with civil laws, while the police work with criminal laws. The rules and
the penalties are entirely different.
of evidence a police officer needs for probable cause (to make an arrest)
is much higher than the preponderance of evidence a hotel or motel manager
would need to evict a guest. Therefore,
it is easier for the management to remove a guest than it is for the
police, in most cases.
criminal laws, the police must have ‘probable cause’ to arrest
someone. Suspicion is not enough. Probable cause is where an officer
knows a crime happened, and believes the
perpetrator is the one being detained. When an officer begins to question the person who just got
arrested, they must tell the suspect about their "right to remain silent."
In most cases, the police cannot enter or search a guest’s
room without a search warrant or other exigent circumstance.
on the other hand, can question guests without reading them their
"rights" and they can enter the guest’s room without a search
warrant. A police officer doesn’t have the power to evict a guest. Management has the legal right,
and sometimes a legal duty to remove guests from the property. The manager
is the only one who can make that guest go away. Under civil law, it is a
relatively simple process.
criminal laws, this is much more difficult. Even if the officer is able to
build enough evidence to arrest a suspect, there is no guarantee the
county attorney or prosecutor’s office will file charges. If charges are filed,
there is no guarantee the person will be
brought to a jury trial. If the person is brought to a jury trial, there
is no guarantee the jury will convict. If the jury convicts, there is no
guarantee the person will go to prison. If the person goes to prison,
there is no guarantee they will stay there very long.
In many cases,
plea bargains are made, probation is given, and in some situations, the
charges are simply dropped. In most cases, the people that get arrested at
hotel/motel properties do not go to prison. They are released very soon
after being arrested and many times they return to their life of crime.
criminals consider your property a "safe place" or home for
their criminal activity, they will no doubt return to your property and
the process begins again.
the guest has committed a breach of your rules, in some cases you can
request them to vacate the premises immediately. An example of this is a loud
party with too many guest and alcohol in the room. Another example
is non-payment. Sometimes managers let cash paying guests stay in the room believing they will get paid
when the guest’s pay check comes in a few weeks. Unfortunately, many times this good faith attempt
at satisfying a guest becomes a police report when the room is found empty on the day the
final payment is due.
PBX Calls To and From Room
PBX calls within a short period of time may be an indication of criminal
drug activity. This would not be enough information for the police to make
an arrest or search a guest’s room. You may also notice that several
guests have been in and out of the room within a short time, which may
also be an indication of criminal drug activity. This still would not amount
to enough information for the police to make an arrest or search a guest’s room.
this case, the manager or their designee can go to the room (best if
accompanied by another employee) and question the guest. Management should
look for suspicious items placed in windows. These items may alert drug buyers
to the room where the drugs are being sold. The manager can inquire if everything is all
right in the room, stating that the PBX operator informed them of numerous calls to and
from the room.
manager may stress to the customer that the management provides phone
records to the police and works closely with law enforcement to reduce
criminal activity on their property. If this was a location where a drug
dealer has set up shop, they won’t stay anymore.
Drugs Found In The
will you do if drugs are discovered by an
employee in a guest’s room? First,
do not take the drugs to the office. You can be seriously hurt doing
so. If the room is still occupied by a guest and housekeeping has entered
to clean the room, the police should be notified and housekeeping employees should leave
without disturbing anything in the room. Maintain visual contact on the room so
you can tell the police if anyone came into and left the room.
Drugs can be extremely
dangerous; caution should always be exercised. It is not advisable to pick up or remove drugs,
drug pipes, needles or other paraphernalia with your bare hands. At the very least,
rubber gloves should be worn when touching any
of these items. Needles are especially dangerous, not only because of the drug hazard, but also
because of the likelihood of the transmission of Hepatitis or H.I.V.
Industry specific gloves are available for purchase with reinforced
fingertips to further aid in the prevention of skin contact.
Because children and
adults frequently crawl into dumpsters, do not discard needles or other
drug paraphernalia into the trash. Call the police. Maintenance and grounds keepers
should always be on the lookout for needles or drug stashes in remote areas of the property,
including behind dumpsters and inside broken sections of block fences.
This website is not
intended to provide specific legal advice. Click here.