The Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. Industry Security Safety Seminar was held at the Westin New York at Times Square on April 25, 2017. In addition
The Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. Industry Security Safety Seminar was held at the Westin New York at Times Square on April 25, 2017. In addition to introductions by Vijay Dandapani, President & CEO of HANYC, and Commissioner James P. O’Neill, speakers from the United State Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the New York City Police Department and ECPAT-USA addressed the attendees. Those speakers presented on topics that are of critical importance to the continued safety of our industry, such as Cyber Security, the importance of Public and Private Partnerships, Emergency Preparedness and Response and Human Trafficking.
Some takeaways from the seminar are as follows:
Hotels continue to be terrorism targets because of the fear that such attacks instill in the public and in Hotel guests. In 2015 alone, there were 25 attacks on Hotels in areas such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Mali. The NYPD responds after many of these attacks in order to learn about the tactics, techniques, and procedures of the attack. This, in turn, makes the NYPD better prepared to protect against or, in the alternative, to respond to such attacks. The lessons learned by the NYPD from studying attacks throughout the world are invaluable to us as an Industry. In fact, the attempted car bombing in Times Square in 2010 and the Chelsea bombing in 2016 underscore that New York City is not immune from such possible attacks.
A different type of attack and one which is becoming more prevalent is cyber attacks (hacking) against Hotel systems. One variation includes the attackers securing control of systems and demanding ransom. Care must be exercised in safeguarding the information on our systems in order to prevent hacking, which can seriously damage a Hotel’s reputation.
Considerations when hosting Dignitaries: For Dignitaries who are considered to be a high threat, the host Hotel will alert the NYPD and certain steps will be taken by the NYPD, which may include closing streets and positioning concrete blocks in the vicinity of the Hotel, scanning luggage, etc. However, less attention may be paid to a Dignitary who is considered to be a low threat, notwithstanding the fact that the Dignitary’s country of origin may be undergoing divisive internal political strife. In those situations, the Hotel can either seek the NYPD’s assistance in ascertaining whether some precautions should be taken or can do its own research towards that end.
Human Trafficking: Human trafficking includes both sex trafficking as well as labor trafficking, and is often connected to other criminal activities, including drugs and violent assaults. Human Traffickers sometimes use Hotels to run their operation out of guest rooms. Training of employees in both recognizing the signs of human trafficking and in how to react is important in combating this crime.
It is highly recommended that your Hotel have a communications system in place with local law enforcement in advance of any actual incidents. The vast resources available to Hotels through law enforcement are only as good as this communications system. HANYC can facilitate such communications and foster relationships by acting as the liaison between Hotels and the law enforcement community. To that end, Hotels may join NYPD Shield, an umbrella program for a series of current and future NYPD initiatives that pertain to private sector security and counterterrorism, as well as InfraGard, a partnership between the FBI and members of the private sector.
april 25, 2017, 9:00 am - april 25, 2017, 10:30 am
Westin New York at Times Square
Ambassador 2 Room on the 2nd Floor