Whether it’s for business or pleasure, traveling can be a delightful experience. The chance to explore new places, and meet people from other cultures is greatly appealing to a large number of Americans. The majority of these travelers are heading to locations where they need to book a hotel or motel for an overnight stay. But what if that hotel or motel isn’t safe?
Attempted Strangulation in Midtown Hotel
On March 27th, 2015, a sixty-four-year-old woman named Pamela Robinson, who was staying at the Midtown Hotel while her home was under construction, heard a knock at the door of her hotel room. Assuming that it was the hotel room service Robinson opened the door only to be shocked when a naked man was behind the door.
That naked man was a famous German violinist named Stefan Arzberger, who was in New York playing with the Leipzig String Quartet. Arzberger barged into the room and proceeded to attempt to strangle Robinson. The pressure he applied to her neck was so hard that blood vessels in her eyes popped. During the struggle, Robinson also hit her head on nearby furniture.
Hotel employees overheard the commotion and pulled him off of her. Arzberger was then arrested. Arzberger claims to have no memory of the incident and maintains that his erratic behavior was caused by drugs that he was given without his knowledge by a prostitute. Video surveillance of the hotel shows Arzberger going up to his room in the elevator accompanied by what appeared to be a woman. Almost forty minutes later the prostitute is seen leaving with Arzberger’s iPad. Police later determined that the prostitute was not actually a woman but a man.
Arzberger has had not only criminal charges – attempted murder, burglary, assault, and strangulation – but also has had a civil suit brought against him by Robinson.
In Robinson’s case, the hotel was adequately staffed and was able to assist her in her time of need. Video surveillance was in place and able to provide additional evidence pertinent to the case. But in many cases, crimes are committed in hotels and motels that could have been prevented.
Due to premises liability laws, it is required that all property owners take steps to ensure that the individuals visiting their property will be protected from any foreseeable crimes. For example, it is foreseeable that a thief might attempt to break into a hotel room to take any valuables that a traveler may have brought with them. This is why it is required that every hotel room have locks on the doors and those locks be in good working condition.
New York State Law
New York law has very specific regulations when it comes to hotel, motel, inn and steamboat security. These measures include:
- Safe deposit boxes for all guests and notices posting the availability of safe deposit boxes. Safe deposit boxes are intended to be used to keep any valuables the guest is traveling with from being taken.
- Records of all guests visiting must be kept for at least three years which show the name, address, date of arrival, and date of departure of the guest.
- On the inside of every rental unit, there must be a safety chain latch in addition to the deadbolt.
Outside of these restrictions, it is up to the owner of the property to enforce other security measures, such as security guards, video cameras, and adequate lighting. The premises liability extends to all areas owned by the hotel or motel, including outdoor spaces and parking lots.
If you or someone you love became the victim of a crime because of inadequate security at a hotel or motel, contact our New York crime victim lawyers today to learn more about your legal options.