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DTLA hotels distribute city safety information with key cards

By Hayley Fox
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012, at 08:44AM
Flickr via Averageman

The Biltmore is one of 10 hotels who have agreed to participate in the key card safety program.

As part of an ongoing effort to reduce theft in Downtown L.A. and keep visitors safe, 10 area hotels have signed on to participate in a new safety campaign led by the LAPD.

Now when hotel guests check into a room, their key cards will be accompanied by a business card-size information sheet of police contact numbers and basic safety tips.

The card reads: "As you visit our city, please be aware of the following safety advisements..." It's followed by a list of reminders including "When possible, use your hotel's safe," and "Hide your property, where thieves can't see it." Also included on the pocket size card is "When in doubt, ask for directions," and "Do not drink and drive."

Police Capt. Horace Frank said that the last thing hotels want to do is hang big posters around the hotel lobby warning of city danger, so these subtle reminders are an effective compromise.

"Very innocuous, but it gets the point across," he said.

Frank added that many thefts can be avoided by simply not leaving belongings attended. Some DTLA visitors (and residents) will sit in their hotel lobby or coffee shop working on their computer, and leave the item unattended when they get up to run to the bathroom or take a phone call. It only takes a minute for some one to see you leave and grab the item, the police captain said.

So far 10 hotels have signed on to the key card program: Luxe, Checkers, Figueroa Hotel, Cecil Hotel, LA Hotel, Sheraton, DoubleTree, The Millenium Biltmore, Kawada Hotel The Royal Pagoda and The Metro Plaza Hotel.

In addition to guests leaving items unattended, one hotel has had an issue recently with rooms left open by cleaning staff.

According to an LAPD alert: "Detectives believe thieves are monitoring cleaning staff who often leave several rooms open at once while cleaning and re-stocking linens. When the staff member is in a room the thief will enter another of the open rooms and remove any visible property."

Police think this resulted in thefts from two hotel rooms last week.

"When you have two, that's a trend," said Frank.

Police and the hotel security manager are currently working on addressing this issue. The LAPD captain said he is also speaking with other Downtown hotels about taking part in the key card program and hopes to get more locations to sign on.

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