Vienna police present hotel safety initiative

Vienna police have announced plans to cooperate with the city’s hotels more closely in a bid to tackle crime.Police official Walter Hladik said today (Fri) they would get in touch with all four and five star resorts in eight of capital’s 23 districts to create tighter connections in an attempt to cut down the number of fraud, robberies and violent crime incidents.He said: “People’s personal experiences are crucial to how much they enjoy a holiday in the city. We want to increase tourists’ ‘subjective feeling of security’.”Hladik added the capital’s police teamed up with the Viennese Hoteliers’ Association, the Vienna Tourism Board, the Economy Chamber’s Vienna department (WKW) and the General Council of Five Star Hotels in Vienna.The police official explained authorities will ask hotels to nominate 10 staff members set to keep in touch with police on a regular basis to slash crime figures by speaking about their experiences in day to day business routines.Hladik said the programme should help Viennese and federal police in fighting organised crime gangs.Vienna Tourism Board boss Norbert Kettner announced: “We are in a good position in international comparison with other cities when it comes to crime figures. Now it’s important to keep the standard up and improve further. This is an important advantage in competition.”The new campaign has already drawn criticism since it only focused on more expensive hotels in rather exclusive areas of the city, potentially ignoring parts where crime figures have been high.Federal police officials said earlier this year that the overall number of reported crime across the country decreased by 7.5 per cent to 131,914 offences in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2009.Viennese hotels recorded 1.125 million overnights in July, more than ever registered in the month. Kettner stressed the figure was a 15.6 per cent year on year improvement, adding that there were double-digit year on year increases in stays by people from Russia, Great Britain, the United States, France and Japan.He added July 2009 figures were down compared to statistics for the same month in the previous year due to strong demand for rooms during the European Football Championship Austria co-hosted with Switzerland that summer.Kettner also said another crucial aspect was the 18th International AIDS Conference the Austrian capital hosted in July of this year. Around 25,000 experts, journalists and politicians came to the city to discuss scientific developments in the fight against HIV and AIDS between 18 and 23 July.July figures mean there were 5.949 million overnights between January 2010 and last month, up by 13.4 per cent year on year.