In the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States, hotel owners in Las Vegas are looking to enhance security measures in and around their properties.
On Sunday Oct. 1, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino’s 32nd floor was used as a staging ground for a massacre, as a gunmen broke out a window in a rented suite and shot a hail of bullets downward into a crowd of 22,000 people across a street gathered for the Route 91 Harvest Festival, an open air country music show. The attack killed 58 people and wounded hundreds of others, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States. Police and investigators say the gunmen, allegedly a 64-year-old retiree named Stephen Craig Paddock who lived in a town nearby, stockpiled a cache of guns and ammunition undetected in the suite where he was staying.
It is unclear exactly how the gunmen was able to do this, but it is not uncommon for guests in Las Vegas to cart large objects into their rooms at all hours of the day or night, whether it be golf bags or containers carrying materials to display or sell at conventions and exhibitions. Las Vegas hotels are flashy and hectic places, and security experts say thoroughly vetting the items guests bring in and out for dangerous weapons would involve the use of metal detectors, or making some other foundational change to security standards in such places. It is important to note, however, that in the wake of the tragedy hotel owners and operators in Las Vegas have voiced a strong desire to work with authorities on the investigation as well as on keeping their security procedures and protocols up to date.
Another hurdle in this process is the very nature of hotels, which are designed to be as welcoming as possible for their guests. Owners and operators must essentially walk a line between keeping their guests safe without creating an atmosphere of extreme tension.
One topic of regular conversation in regards to this issue is whether more hotels in the United States should install metal detectors or baggage screening areas, which have become common in places such as Israel and India due to threats and incidents in those countries. Another concern is guest privacy and surveillance. Hotels have regularly worked with law enforcement on issues such as drugs and human trafficking, but visitors are likely to voice concerns over too much monitoring of their private business. Whether or not politicians in the United States should pass stricter gun laws is also a heated topic of debate in the wake of this incident, as it is on a near annual basis when other such outbursts of gun violence take place in the country.
What is clear, however, is that Las Vegas is likely to remain a popular tourist destination. It’s one of the most visited cities in all of the United States, with the city having welcomed 42.9 visitors in 2016, 6.3 million of which came to attend meetings and events. All in all, Las Vegas is home to more than 150,000 hotel rooms. With so many visitors and so much money flowing into the city, Las Vegas hotels and casinos are already home to some of the most complex security systems of any tourist destinations in the United States, which is what makes the question of how to improve security so difficult.