Metro Nashville Police Department STR Safety Recommendations

Written by Barbara Culligan.

I’m reaching out to share some updates on NASTRA’s ongoing efforts to collaborate informally with the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) to enhance guest safety. Over the past few weeks, the Board has been actively engaging with officers, primarily from the East Precinct, along with representatives from other precincts. Our recent member meeting at the East Precinct Police Station featured a compelling presentation by Officer Allen Price, and I’ve highlighted the key points below for your convenience.

The MNPD is deeply committed to ensuring the safety of travelers to Nashville. Burglaries at STR properties have risen lately, especially on the weekends. The situation has been getting a lot of negative publicity in the national media as evidenced by this Inside Edition segment.

Criminals exploit guests who are often in “vacation mode” and not paying attention to their safety. Often, these burglaries take place in new STR developments in transitional neighborhoods with a historically high crime rate, or at properties close to an interstate for quick getaways. Criminals watch the properties for guest movement; when the guests leave, the criminals quickly push in a door, break a window or use a code given to a cleaner or service person. Items most frequently stolen include cash, credit cards, purses, jewelry, and electronic equipment, as well as keys to cars parked at the STR. Robberies (where a guest is present and accosted) are much more rare occurrences. 

Parties also pose a risk, often leading to criminal incidents at short-term rentals. Despite the bans on parties by major online travel platforms, they still happen. Large gatherings, combined with music and substances, can escalate situations into criminal acts. Hosts play a crucial role in monitoring activities to prevent such occurrences.

To help mitigate these risks, property owners can take several proactive measures:

  • Install smart locks with changeable codes, remote monitoring, and access control. 
    • Codes should be changed between guests and only for a specific amount of time, then deleted. Each cleaning and service person should have their own code. These should be time specific as well. 
    • To strengthen the strike plate on the lock, replace the existing screws with 3” long screws to attach into the wall stud. This will help prevent criminals from kicking in the door. 
    • Automate auto-locking after one minute. This will lock the doors directly after the guests leave the rental.
  • Install motion sensor lighting on the outside of the property.
  • Install automatic garage door closers which can be monitored.
  • Provide a safe that is bolted to the floor for guest valuables. For larger properties, one safe may not be enough. All guests must have enough room for their valuables.
  • Install security cameras at all entry points. 
    • Pay for the subscription service of the security camera to record and archive its footage. This is essential to apprehending the criminals if your property is burglarized.
    • The MNPD suggests that property owners register their cameras through its Metro Nashville website.

The MNPD provides additional resources for owners and hosts. These include:

  • Have the MNPD conduct a residential site survey to identify areas of safety concern at the property. A police officer comes to the property and visually inspects about 65 details including lighting, doors, locks, etc. A written report is given to the property owner or manager. This is a free service offered by MNPD. 
  • The surveys are typically conducted by the Crime Prevention Officer and/or Community Coordinator Sergeant at each individual precinct. The precinct in which the property is located would determine who conducts the site survey. Here’s a link for the boundaries of the MNPD precincts and their contact information.
  • Sign and notarize the MNPD Authorization to Enforce and Prosecute Criminal Trespass Violations. This form gives the police department permission to enforce criminal trespass violations without the owner being physically present. The form has to be renewed annually. I’ve attached a copy to this email.
  • Display the MNPD “Welcome to Nashville”  flyer for guests in a prominent place in the property. The flyer offers useful safety tips for guests as they navigate Nashville. I’ve attached a copy to this email.
  • Include safety information in your welcome message.

Barbara Culligan | President

Barb has spent her professional career in hospitality and real estate. After acquiring her first short-term rental in 2018, Barb moved her focus to legal advocacy after she sued the city of Nashville over a permit issue. Since then, she has mentored more than 2,200 new STR hosts and is the Community Leader for Airbnb in Nashville. Barb has appeared on numerous radio broadcasts, television shows and podcasts to talk about her love of hosting. Barb and her husband own a hotel brokerage, development and consulting company.

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