Las Vegas Shooting Highlights Need for Hotel Security
Could hotel security have caught Stephen Paddock before he brutally shot and killed 59 people in Las Vegas?
The first verse of Jason Aldean's summer hit, "When She Says Baby" was just finishing up when the first round of gunshots rang out over the tunes of the country song. Attendees of the Route 91 Festival believed the popping sound was just a fireworks show gone wrong until the attendees next to them began screaming and falling to the ground.
Stephen Paddock was high above on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino shooting down into the crowd of nearly 22,000 people from two broken windows. By the end of the nearly ten minute nightmare, nearly 500 people would be injured and 59 would be killed.
The incident has stirred up emotions and raised questions all around the country, but the one that seems to get people most stirred up is, "How was Paddock able to bring those guns into that hotel room?" Police found at least 23 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his hotel room in the aftermath of the incident. Even though Paddock was checked into the hotel days before the shooting began, it still seems unfathomable that he was able to transport that many weapons into his room undetected.
Security in hotels is a slippery slope. Wanting to be inviting to guests, many establishments choose to take a more lax approach. On the Las Vegas strip, most security is aimed towards limiting theft, corralling unruly drunks and chasing out people wandering in the halls without a room.
At major hotels, security teams are often lightly staffed and poorly paid, with no more than a few dozen employees for more than 1,000 rooms, a security expert told New York Times. As a result, hotels are soft targets and will remain that way until proper steps are made to harden those inside and, now, outside of them.
Mandalay Bay has not commented on their security procedures or how Paddock acted in his last days as a guest at the hotel. Many experts have brought up the fact that housekeeping is trained to look for guests who are continuously using their "Do Not Disturb" plaque and are exhibiting strange behavior.
It is unknown at this time if Paddock requested the room (or rooms, it has been reported that Paddock might have been in connecting rooms or a suite due to the spacing between the two windows he shot down from) that overlooked the concert or if he allowed housekeeping into the space in the days leading up to the event.
Police will most likely be looking at the hotel's security system to pull footage of Paddock's whereabouts in the days after he checked into the hotel room. By looking at that footage, police will be able to piece together how and when Paddock brought up that much weaponry and ammunition to his 32nd floor.
Those in the hospitality industry have voiced concerns on adding tougher security to hotels as customers are paying premium prices for privacy. Before Sunday night, it was believed that security procedures you might see at the airport would not expand into places like resorts, boutique hotels and large chain hotels, but now it might be closer than we think.