Nervous hotel guests get distress alarms

Hotel guests in central Oslo are being issued keychain personal alarms in the event they are attacked in the capital’s many darkened areas after hours.

A doubling of sexual assaults in Oslo this year has led edgy hotel guests to request pepper spray from the night porter at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia when they go out after hours. The hotel’s response has instead been to issue high-pitched alarms to staff, and to guests who ask about protection, newspaper Bergens Tidende reports.

“It’s not something we actively offer to everybody staying at the hotel, but we have bought in a large number of alarms which will also improve security for employees,” said Anita Knudsen, security chief at the Radisson Blu, a hotel just outside the very centre of the downtown area.

In-line with the city’s rape awareness measures, staff at the Blu receive self-defence instruction and are issued with the distress alarms. The morning programmes of Oslo-based TV stations have featured martial arts instructors’ lessons for escaping situations that could lead to sexual assault.

“We feel it is natural to include guests in safety measures like these,” Knudsen told Bergens Tidende.

No other hotel was reported to be handing out anti-assault alarms on request, although hotels have beefed up security for guests and night shift workers.

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