(Muir Analytics’ Quick Brief is broadly based on the Pentagon EXSUM briefing method. The aim is to quickly explain a hotel threat issue in about 15 lines in executive summary format. Muir has added a quick analysis of the issue that can help hotels mitigate certain risks.)
Chain of events
- On 1 April 2023, 31-year-old Christy Bautista was stabbed to death at the Ivy City Hotel in Washington, DC, reports the Daily Mail.
- The Ivy City Hotel, a 2-star establishment, is located in an area of DC nicknamed “Ivy City,” which has attempted an area rejuvenation, but high crime and other issues have plagued this process.
- The City Winery, just 300 meters from the Ivey, closed in December 2022, citing regular crime, daily car break-ins, violent assaults, and a nearby men’s shelter as being amongst the main reasons for shutting down. Critics of the City Winery say it was not committed to the community and insinuated racism.
- An Arlington, VA, native, Ms. Bautista had just graduated from James Madison University and was in DC for a concert at a venue called Echostage, just 400 meters from the hotel, says Arlington Now.
- She checked into the hotel at around 5:45 pm, and just before 6:45 pm, the perpetrator, who rode up to the hotel on a bike, was seen on CCTV apparently listening at Ms. Bautista’s door, says the Daily Mail.
- At 6:45 pm, the perpetrator made entry into the victim’s room, and as she tried to escape, he pulled her back into the room and attacked her with a large kitchen knife, stabbing her 30 times, says Fox News.
- The Daily Mail reports that surveillance footage recorded the sounds of the struggle and Ms. Bautista crying for help; reporting from Fox News says a 9-11 caller saw and reported the struggle.
- Per the 9-11 call, police arrived at the hotel room in question at 6:55 pm.
- The perpetrator told police there were no problems, but they saw his bloodied hands through the window, so they accessed the room with a master key at 7:00 pm, says the Daily Mail.
- Inside, they found the perpetrator covered in blood trying to smoke a cigarette, a kitchen knife with a broken blade, and the victim on the floor – he was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
- Ms. Bautista was declared deceased at 7:11 pm.
- Reporting from multiple news sources indicates the perpetrator is a career criminal with 25 previous arrests and homeless.
- At the time of the murder, he was out of jail on bond following an armed robbery with a firearm in Washington, DC, in October 2022.
- A judge in December had denied his bond because of his many previous arrests, but a different judge later released him.
- He was also wanted in Maryland and DC for failing to appear in court.
There are four takeaways. First, the hotel, in this case, is reportedly in a high-crime area, which puts hotel guests and staff at risk. The owner of the City Winery provided four statements in December 2022 to the Washington City Paper that described the local threat picture:
- “It is difficult enough operating a cultural facility in a challenging economic environment, [sic] but when the neighborhood puts so many at risk, it makes it impossible to operate.”
- A member of his staff was “violently attacked by some homeless on the corner coming to work.”
- “We have had staff members attacked leaving work at night. We don’t have money to continue to pay security to escort staff back to their cars every night.”
- “I would say about 75 percent of the time [the police] show up pretty quickly when called…the problem is you can’t call them three or four times a night just because there’s some intimidating, potentially violent homeless on the street that are at the homeless shelter right next door.”
Adding to these statements, the Better Business Bureau has had reports of allegedly deviant activities at the hotel as well.
Second, hotel owners that operate in high-crime areas are at least generally aware of their local threat situations. As such, legally, they are on notice to reasonably mitigate said threats. In situations like the Ivy City Hotel, mitigation might include, but not be restricted to, actively monitoring and/or patrolling the property to prevent non-guests from trespassing. This, in turn, helps prevent guests from being accosted and cuts down on room break ins. Crime described by the owner of the City Winery would require a security patrol that could readily protect hotel guests from assault and battery.
Hoteliers that do not provide such mitigation efforts are vulnerable to negligence lawsuits.
Third, as various city justice officials across the US ease off penalizing violent and repeat offenders, hotel violence (and crime in general) will increase. Muir Analytics made this prediction in 2022 in a publicly published hotel threat warning brief, and again two days before the Ivy City Hotel murder in a hotel threat intelligence briefing on 29 March 2023 to InfraGard, a joint FBI-private security organization.
Fourth, an intelligence-based, national anti-hotel crime initiative by law enforcement (federal, state, local) and the hotel sector would help assuage America’s hotel crime epidemic. Hotels are America’s, and the world’s, most violent commercial sector, and there is no official US minimum standard for security. A modern, data-driven approach would help prevent deaths and injuries of hotel guests and staffers alike.
Muir Analytics runs the world’s largest, most sophisticated hotel violence database – the SecureHotel Threat Portal – with over 2,400 hotel attacks (and growing.) We can provide the hospitality sector with intelligence that facilitates full-spectrum risk reduction, which helps hotels protect guests, staff, buildings, brands, and revenues. Contact us for a consultation: 1-833-DATA-444.
Sources and further reading:
“‘We are devastated’: Family of woman, 31, stabbed to death in DC hotel room by career criminal on bond for armed robbery release heartbreaking statement – as they raise funds to ‘give her the memorial she deserves’.” Daily Mail, 5 April 2023.
“D.C. murder victim was a Yorktown High School alum and Arlington native,” Arlington Now, 4 April 2023.
“Virginia woman Christy Bautista stabbed to death while visiting Washington, DC for concert: report,” Fox News, 4 April 2023.
“Woman, 31, is stabbed to death in random attack in DC hotel room by career criminal who was out on bond for ARMED ROBBERY: Suspect left covered in blood and trying to light cigarette when cops were called,” Daily Mail, 4 April 2023.
“Problems at City Winery went beyond ‘the neighborhood’,” Washington City Paper, 23 December 2022.
Better Business Bureau website.
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