Motel and Hotel Room Invasion: A Vicious Crime of Robbery Against Travelers

Motel and hotel room invasion is a vicious crime that not only robs travelers of their belongings but of their sense of security and peace of mind when traveling. This intrusive crime can leave victims feeling anxious and afraid for years to come. And with some victims being bound and gagged, beaten, and even raped, many never recover from the violent experience.

What is a motel or hotel room invasion?

A motel or hotel room invasion is the act of breaching an occupied hotel or motel room for the purpose of carrying out a violent crime against the occupant(s) in the form of robbery, assault, rape, and/or murder. Motel and hotel room invasion differs from simple robbery or burglary due to its intrusive and violent intent.

Motel and hotel room invasion is not a legally defined federal offense in the U.S. Because hotel room invasions are typically filed as a robbery, burglary, battery, assault, rape, or murder, keeping the public informed of the frequency of home invasions within their communities is difficult.

Today's Frightening Trends

The crime of hotel and motel room invasion is on the rise. This is believed to be due to commercial targets such as gas stations, convenience stores, and banks taking advantage of the more advanced security technology made available to them over the years. These layers of security have afforded commercial businesses with highly effective security alarm and camera surveillance systems, protective security window films, quality locks, and other security devices that deter crime.

Invading a motel or hotel room offers criminals easy access to valuables, optimal privacy, and an optimal method of escape. Once inside a room, the intruders can force the occupants to turn over jewelry and other valuables quickly, open room safes, supply keys to vehicles, and accompany them to an ATM to withdraw money. Many intruders will increase their get-away time by disabling phones and gagging and binding their victims. With the victims being unknown to other hotel guests and staff, an intruder can easily leave the room with the victim's valuables and even drive off in their vehicle without anyone noticing a crime has been committed.

Motel and Hotel Room Invasion Profile

Motel and hotel room invasions occur most often during the night. This is because criminals know that occupants are often in their rooms in the evenings and motel or hotel staff is at its minimum.

The location of the room and the occupant are targeted more often than the hotel itself. Criminals prefer rooms close to stairwells and other egress routes. They seek women traveling by themselves, wealthy looking travelers, senior citizens, and travelers with small children. The selection process also includes the value of a traveler's car, their attire, and jewelry. Hotel and motel room invaders often work casinos and lobbies, looking for guests with large sums of money and expensive jewelry and attire. Some hotel and motel room invaders work alone, while others work with an accomplice.

When invading a hotel or motel room, the criminal gains control of the room and its occupants through explosive fear tactics in the form of verbal threats and physical force. The violence begins in a single instant, catching the victims off guard and rendering them helpless.

The invaders are usually equipped with a firearm or another life-threatening weapon. Many also bring along handcuffs, rope, and duct tape so they can incapacitate their victims, with the more violent criminals finding a sick joy through the control, intimidation, and violence that accompanies binding their victims. The more brutal hotel and motel room robbers engage in physical abuse, rape and possibly murder of their victims.

Most hotel and motel room invaders gain access to rooms through the main entry door or patio door. Many times the intruder will pose as a member of the hotel staff and knock on the door, hoping the occupant will open the door without a second thought. Sadly, too many hotel and motel guests make this tragic mistake.

When posing as room service, security, housekeeping, or bell boy, robbers have been known to use a vase of flowers, a tray of food, or a cart of luggage as a prop. This helps occupants to believe the intruder is part of the hotel or motel staff without question when they look through the peep hole.

Another technique used to gain entry to a room is kicking open the main entry door or slipping in behind the victim. Selecting the victim in the lobby, the robber will pose as another guest or staff and ride up in the elevator with the victim. The robber will then get off on the same floor and inconspicuously follow the victim to their room. Once the guest is distracted with unlocking and opening the door to the room, the intruder comes in behind the victim and forces their way inside.

Motel and Hotel Security Precautions That Can Reduce Your Risk

The most effective defense against motel and hotel room invasion is education and planning ahead. If you are a frequent traveler, selecting the same hotel or hotel chain can also be very helpful. Doing so will enable you to familiarize yourself with their security amenities and hotel and room layouts. This combined with knowing how hotel robbers carry out hotel and motel room invasions can significantly reduce your risk of becoming a victim of this potentially dangerous crime.

Remember these important security and safety measures when traveling:

  • Keep all doors and windows locked at all times.
  • Never open the door to a stranger you are not expecting.
  • Request an inside guest room that is located on the third floor or higher.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and flashing around wads of cash when traveling.
  • Use the door peephole to view anyone that knocks at your door. Never put your trust in a chain-latch or partially open the door.
  • Ensure the doors to the guest rooms are constructed of solid wood or metal. Entry doors should also have quality locks, dead bolts, and peepholes.
  • Hold a meeting with your family and discuss hotel room security. Instruct children to never open the door to the room to anyone other than a family member.
  • If an unexpected stranger knocks on your door and claims to be part of the hotel staff, ask for their name and call the front desk to confirm their identity.
  • Never be afraid to ask for hotel security or staff to escort you to your room. This is especially true for females traveling alone, senior citizens, and travelers with small children.
  • When going to your room, be cautious of strangers that exit the elevator with you. If you feel uncomfortable or suspicious, allow the stranger to exit the elevator first and then return to the lobby and request to be escorted to your room by security or another member of the hotel staff.

Making yourself aware of the dangers and risks of hotel and motel room invasion and taking simple security precautions can make all the difference when it comes to protecting yourself and your family. By being cautious and putting in place the above security precautions, you can make yourself less attractive to criminals and drastically reduce your chance of becoming a victim of a hotel or motel room invasion.

Jordan Frankel, commonly known as The Security Sensei develops revolutionary security products and solutions that protect both lives & property. Countless agencies and corporations such as NASDAQ, the US Military, and law enforcement entrust Mr. Frankel with their security and safety. Jordan Frankel is also frequent media guest addressing the personal and financial consequences associated with home invasions, burglaries and other serious threats. In addition, Mr. Frankel's security products & inventions have been featured on Oprah, FOX news and in countless publications. Jordan's ability to outsmart the proverbial bad guys - coupled with his commitment to making security an affordable reality for everyone is the key to Global Security Experts Inc success. Mr. Frankel (The Security Sensei) is available for media interviews by appointment only.

Mr. Frankel is a proud member of:

The American Society for Industrial Security.

The International Association for Counter Terrorism & Security.

The Society of Professional Locksmiths.