With a growing number of weapons incidents recently, hotel, casino and resort owners are understandably worried. The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks shootings in the U.S., has recorded at least 350 mass shootings, defined as four or more injured or killed, in 2022 so far and over 24,000 deaths.

Data analysis shows no common pattern to the incidents, other than attacks on soft targets with easy access, where people are gathered. With slow progress on gun reform, private corporations and businesses are taking steps to protect their patrons and guests to avoid and pre-empt tragic and potentially business-threatening events. This often means investing in modern weapons detection technology to stop a mass casualty event before it can begin.  

Hotels and resorts have a unique opportunity to address this to help guests and patrons stay safe while not detracting from their experience in a cost-effective and non-invasive manner. Traditional screening security technologies, such as walk-through metal detectors and the security staffing required, do not align with the brand and aesthetic of a hotel or resort.

Advanced solutions leveraging digital innovation can provide pre-emptive alerting before a threat occurs. It’s also scalable to cost-effectively address the needs of individual hotels or large chains with hundreds or thousands of locations, without changing the venue’s brand values.

Here are three ways security leaders can implement modern security technology and processes to protect guests and enable risk management and security programs to succeed. 

1. Implement security technology & security solutions

The traditional approach to patron screening involves walk-through metal detectors and wands. This is not an acceptable solution when welcoming guests into the comforts of a hotel or resort. Next-generation, frictionless screening offers an unobtrusive opportunity to scan for weapons while ignoring metal objects that were previously scanned as a proxy for detecting weapons.

This advanced security technology allows guests to simply walk right in, only alerting on those weapons or other prohibited items. Artificial intelligence uses sensors to detect a weapon in someone’s pocket or their luggage, for example, and alerts security staff, who can intervene appropriately. Guests can feel safe knowing everyone is scanned for weapons upon entry but not inconvenienced by the process. 

2. Secure perimeters with unobtrusive weapons detection

More than 95% of intentional weapons incidents begin outside the premises, upon approaching the building, and with weapons clearly visible. And while securing the perimeter of a hotel or resort with video surveillance is normal and expected, overlaying that video with artificial intelligence (AI) software can help spot a gun or weapon within seconds to provide an advanced warning long before the weapon enters the premises.

 Smart AI security solutions can detect a gun up to 150 feet away and alert security personnel before the perpetrator can cause harm. This intelligent security solution is overlayed onto existing video infrastructure, removing the need to purchase new technology, streamlining implementation, and not disrupting current security processes or guest behaviors. 

3. Collect analytics and insights for the future

Implementing smart systems means security leaders can collect information to aid them in making future decisions things like knowing when certain areas of the hotel get busy, so extra staff should be deployed, or the ebb and flow of patrons, so they know optimal staffing and where to direct people. 

These insights will allow hotels and resorts to using their limited security staff more efficiently, so they are equipped with information to make real-time decisions. This also can be applied if a hotel has an active shooter on the premises.

Insights can be sent to security guards and police officers in real-time, so everyone has the same critical information regarding where the suspect is, how many people were hurt and where, and more. This can prevent tragedies from escalating. 

Security is a complex requirement, often with an unprovable return on investment (ROI). In fact, security practitioners will often say, “Security is always too much, until that moment when it is never enough.”

Security leaders should continuously look to improve the safety within and around their hotels and resorts, leveraging innovation to improve security, optimize costs and move to a pre-emptive stance.

A solid strategy with next-generation technology and adequately optimized security staff will set them up for success when faced with the next security incident. 

This article originally ran in Security, a twice-monthly security-focused eNewsletter for security end users, brought to you by Security magazine. Subscribe here.