Major shootings spark Airbnb policy change

PHOTO BY OPEN GRID SCHEDULER/FLICKR

By Rob Brandt, STAFF WRITER
Three major shootings resulting in the death of nine people at Airbnb rental properties in the last three months have forced the company to update its policies by specifically banning large gatherings and events.
On January 13th a fatal shooting occurred at an Airbnb rental property in Hayward, leaving one man dead.
This comes a few months after the first AirBnB shooting in Orinda on Halloween night which resulted in five deaths and, more recently, another attack that occurred at an Airbnb in Toronto, Canada resulting in the deaths of three partygoers. The attack also left one person critically injured.
Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, issued a nationwide ban on house parties in all rental properties in hopes of putting an end to the attacks.
“We are outraged by the reported behavior…unauthorized parties are not permitted on Airbnb, and we have removed the booking guest from our community,” Airbnb said in a statement, expressing their condolences.
The changes to the company’s policy only have an effect on houses and apartments, while hotels are exempt.
“Our goal with this new policy is to address the small number of guests who act irresponsibly and those rare hosts whose homes become persistent neighborhood nuisances.” The company said in an additional statement about the new policy.
Several news organizations covering the stories have received backlash due to the lack of empathy for the victims and a higher focus on the policy of Airbnb. The public currently believes that the company needs to take more responsibility for these acts of violence and address the issue more accordingly when this happens.
After the shooting in Hayward investigations began into how and what the police and city can do to assist the company to prevent this attack from occurring again. Unfortunately not much can be done about this due to the lack of regulations the City of Hayward has for rental properties. When asked about the overall plan of what to do the mayor of Hayward Barbra Halliday stated, “We’re going to have to look at that and see if we need any new regulations.”
The real question here is whether or not these attacks are a series of random acts or the start of a deadly ongoing trend?
In 2019 there were over 15,831 gun-related deaths which were a massive increase from 2018 when there were only 387 gun-related deaths. The trend is used here as a figure of speech however like a trend when an attack like this happened there were many other similar shootings which have been attributed to these mass attacks of violence.
The statistics for these attacks goes all the way back to 2014 when mass shootings were reaching their prominence. If attacks like this continue we could be facing a whole new type of epidemic that could lead to a series of more deadly attacks.
The most frustrating aspect of this story is the lack of actual action on Airbnb’s part. They have left heartfelt messages and have retooled their policies after the first attack but now we have two more. If they want to make a change there must be more action done. Even with the policies in full force parties are still continuing and the rules continue to be broken.
What will happen when a statement isn’t enough to deter these attacks? What will happen when another attack occurs?