Airbnb properties used in prostitution ring, Victoria police warn
Police are advising the public to verify the identification of Airbnb renters. (CTV Vancouver Island)
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, February 28, 2019 4:31PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, February 28, 2019 5:54PM PST
Victoria police are warning residents who rent their homes on Airbnb after city rental properties recently became crime scenes.
In one investigation, police say a suspect rented an Airbnb suite before allegedly trashing the property and stealing thousands of dollars in furnishings. In another investigation, Victoria police say Airbnb is being used locally to run a prostitution ring that exploits young women.
Both investigations are ongoing and police say there are several key similarities between them. Notably, both cases involve Airbnb renters who do not meet with the property owners and do not provide a verified identity. In both cases the renter has posted the rental as available immediately and is often using a third-party service to rent the space on their behalf.
Police are advising the public to verify the identification of renters and also recommend turning off the “Instant Booking” setting on the Airbnb website or app.
Anyone with information about either ongoing investigation is asked to call Victoria police at 250-995-7654. Information can also be anonymously provided through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).