Homeland Security’s Guide to “Indicators of Suspicious Behavior at Hotels”

In July 2010, the Department of Homeland Security put together a memo documenting suspicious behaviors people engage in at hotels indicating they may be terrorists (PDF of full memo (100k)).

Possible indicators of terrorist behaviors at hotels: The observation of multiple indicators may represent—based on the specific facts or circumstances—possible terrorist behaviors at

  • Not providing professional or personal details on hotel registrations—such as place of employment, contact information, or place of residence.
  • Using payphones for outgoing calls or making front desk requests in person to avoid using the room telephone.
  • Interest in using Internet cafes, despite hotel Internet availability.
  • Non-VIPs who request that their presence at a hotel not be divulged.
  • Extending departure dates one day at a time for prolonged periods.
  • Refusal of housekeeping services for extended periods.
  • Extended stays with little baggage or unpacked luggage.
  • Access or attempted access to areas of the hotel normally restricted to staff.
  • Use of cash for large transactions or a credit card in someone else’s name.
  • Requests for specific rooms, floors, or other locations in the hotel.
  • Use of a third party to register.
  • Multiple visitors or deliveries to one individual or room.
  • Unusual interest in hotel access, including main and alternate entrances, emergency exits, and surrounding routes.
  • Use of entrances and exits that avoid the lobby or other areas with cameras and hotel personnel.
  • Attempting to access restricted parking areas with a vehicle or leaving unattended vehicles near the hotel building.
  • Unusual interest in hotel staff operating procedures, shift changes, closed-circuit TV systems, fire alarms, and security systems.
  • Leaving the property for several days and then returning.
  • Abandoning a room and leaving behind clothing, toiletries, or other items.
  • Noncompliance with other hotel policies.

Thank goodness we’ve got the best and brightest figuring out how to spot terrorists.

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