Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 10th 2013 Contents B32
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, October 10, 2013
Hotel maid Brandi Patrick was
chased down the hallway at the
Flamingo casino last year by a nearly
naked man. She said she had to lock
herself in a cleaning closet and, as the
man rattled the handle, fumble around
in her pockets to find her cellphone
so she could call security.
She said she s haunted by the thought
of what might have happened if she
hadn t had her phone. "Something
could happen and no one would know
it till the end of the shift," she said.
Las Vegas casinos---some of the most
closely-watched spaces in the world---
don t have video cameras in guest room
hallways, an absence that hotel workers
like Patrick, patrons and prosecutors
say can act as a green light for crime.
Casino bosses say there is no need
for extra security: America s playground
boasts more cameras per square foot
than any airport or sports arena in the
country, with thousands of high-tech
lenses watching the gambling floors,
lobbies and elevators.
All four major Strip casino operators,
however, declined further comment.
Closed circuit cameras hidden behind
plastic ceiling domes are omnipresent
in pop culture portrayals of Sin City.
They play a pivotal role during the heist
in the 2001 film Ocean s Eleven and in
the reconstruction of a crazy night in
the 2009 buddy comedy The Hang-
Yet the Associated Press found that
23 of the 27 major Strip casinos have
no surveillance in hotel hallways or ele-
vator landings. All but four of the 27
hotels are owned by MGM Resorts
International, Caesars Entertainment
Corp., Las Vegas Sands Corp or Wynn
The AP arrived at the tally by inter-
viewing casino officials and visiting
the hotels that wouldn t comment.
Only Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood,
the MGM Grand and Tropicana Las
Vegas monitor the halls above the gam-
"People have a false sense of safety
when they go to a casino," security
consultant Fred Del Marva said. "You
think, I m going to Bellagio, they have
2,000 surveillance cameras, so I m
going to be safe. And you re wrong.
The level of security at the hotel level
Tourist Allyson Rainey said she wish-
es she d known no one was monitoring
the hallways of Harrah s hotel-casino
before her computer was stolen from
her room last year. A police detective
caught the thief after spotting him
clutching her distinctive laptop bag in
hotel lobby footage.
But Rainey said more cameras at the
Caesars-owned hotel could have pre-
vented the crime.
"The detective told us that the guy
had a keycard made, and he was going
from hotel to hotel," she said. "He had
been doing this for the last eight years,
so he obviously knew they didn t have
Gary Selesner, president of Harrah s
and Caesars Palace, said cameras cannot
stand in for vigilance when it comes
to preventing "door-push" crimes, or
crimes in which a burglar finds a room
to target by pushing on doors until one
"As a hotel operator, I think what
you really need is cameras in foyer and
in the elevator. That said, we are putting
cameras in as we complete renovations
because of door-push concerns," he
said. The company has installed cam-
eras in at least one tower of Caesars
Hotel room burglaries account for
the great majority of casino crimes,
and they ve been on the rise in recent
years, while burglaries have declined
in the rest of the city, according to an
analysis of police statistics.
Las Vegas Chief Deputy District
Attorney James Sweetin said the
absence of cameras not only encourages
petty crimes such as burglary but makes
more serious crimes harder to prose-
He wondered whether stepped-up
surveillance might have prevented the
rape of a 13-year-old boy in a hotel
room at MGM s Circus Circus last New
Year s Eve, or the assault of an uncon-
scious woman at the Cosmopolitan.
He said the woman s assailant avoided
cameras by taking the stairs.
Housekeepers have their own scare
stories. Patrick said she never reported
her brush with the man in the hallway
to police or her managers. Hotel officials
said they would have conducted an
investigation had the incident been
Other hotel maids can recall similar
scares, though they too say they don t
In 2011, a 65-year-old maid was
punched in the face, pushed into an
empty guest room and raped at Bally s
casino. Again, the assailant used the
stairs. A man has been charged in the
case, which is ongoing.
The main obstacle to increased hall-
way security is cost, experts say.
A midsized hotel might pay $2 million
to install the system and $100,000 a
year to monitor it, according to Art
Steele, who directed security at the
Stratosphere Las Vegas from 1996 to
2009. The casino, located between the
Strip and downtown, is one of the few
to place cameras in its hallways. Steele
said they helped every day.
The other concern is lawsuits. If casi-
nos set up hallway cameras but ignored
the footage, guests might sue for neg-
ligence, according to Les Gold, who
litigates liability issues for Mitchell Sil-
berberg & Knupp in New York City.
"When they put these cameras in,
it deters crime," he said. "But to have
a camera that is not monitored is a
huge mistake." (AP)
What happens in
Vegas hotels puts
guests at risk
The final rim piece
is added to the 55-
story High Roller
Ferris wheel under
the Las Vegas Strip
last Tuesday, in Las
is building the ride
expected to open
early next year.
Contact the Red Cross: Headquarters - 627-8215/8128, Northern branch - 627-8214, Southern branch - 652-2024, Tobago branch - 639-2781
Before the flood:
Keep a portable radio, flashlight, emergency supplies and a
first aid kit on hand.
Monitor the radio for weather updates and evacuate immedi-
ately if you are told to do so.
Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your
home or place them high if possible.
Bring in all loose items from outside, like garbage cans and
yard furniture for safe keeping.
Turn off the main electrical switch and other utilities.
Place important documents and valuables in plastic and store
them in a safe place.
During the flood:
Do not walk through flowing water. Just six inches of moving
water can knock you off your feet.
Never attempt to cross a swollen stream, river or gully by
foot or vehicle. The force of these waterways can have deadly
If your vehicle stalls in rising water, abandon it immediately
and climb to higher ground. A mere two feet of water can
float a large vehicle, even a bus.
After a flood:
Clean and dry everything water-soaked.
Check appliances and motors for damage and do not use them
until they have been cleaned and dried.
Watch out for wild animals, snakes and centipedes.
Have your electrical wiring checked before turning on the
Purify water before using. Use chlorine bleach or water puri-
fying tablets. Boil tap water for ten minutes.
Are you ready for aflood?
Source: The T&T Red Cross Society
Floods are the leading cause of disaster-related death
in the Caribbean, but since most can be forecasted,
You should have time to prepare. Your Red Cross
urges You to get ready. There are simple steps You
can take to help protect Your family from a flood.
T&T Red Cross Society
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