Police called on Airbnb guests

In Rialto, Calif., a neighbor calls the police on Airbnb guests. Seven squad cars show up, about a dozen cops and even a police helicopter all show up as the guests were checking out around 11:00 a.m. What was their crime that required such a heavy police presence? They didn’t wave to the neighbor. Actually their crime was being black in a white neighborhood. Not that it was the host’s fault but is there anything the host could have done to help prevent this sort of thing from happening?

Aside from directly informing the neighbors of guests being there, which arguably isn’t any of their business, I can’t think of much the host could have done to prevent this type of racial profiling.

Yes, that’s what I was thinking. If the neighbor had been told they were doing Airbnb this probably wouldn’t have happened. Yet, hosts should not have to inform their neighbors, in my opinion. It could even backfire on you if you told all your neighbors what you were doing. I think the police really over-reacted in this case. Would this have happened if the guests weren’t black?

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Wow seems if you are black in the U.S. you better not try and visit a coffee chain or use Airbnb for fear of having the police called on you :frowning: (not sure which one is an ironic emoji)


Please understand that the US is a BIG country and where I live in a very diverse area of nyc this would never happen. I hate when people generalize about the Usa, we are 50 states with a myriad of cities and local communities that are like different countries almost.


Sigh. I really want to believe you, Maggieroni, but unless you tell me you’re African American yourself and are referencing your personal experience, from what I read & hear, racism is still so embedded in our society that not just white folks but black folks have absorbed biases that black = inferior, black = criminal. Don’t know how much has really changed since Brown v Board of Education doll racism testimony.

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Yes, the USA is big and diverse. But sadly, these types of incidents are happening too often in too many places these days. It goes in part to poor training of the police and the type of people they recruit.

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Hi @Maggieroni

Sorry about that you are absolutely right. I shouldn’t have generalised, but from an outside point of view, it seems that the U.S. has become more intolerant in recent years.

I think the coffee shop incident was in Philly which I believe is quite multi-cultural and the Airbnb incident was in California which again is quite multi-cultural. So unfortunately diversity doesn’t always lead to these sorts of situations being avoided.

Lets hope publicity from these sort of incidents helps people to learn not to be so judgemental and to think before they assume.

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In the wealthiest and whitest area of the city.

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I appreciate that @smtucker , but in say wealthy areas of London, Manchester, Edinburgh or Cardiff, we still have people from all racial backgrounds visiting coffee shops and wouldn’t blink an eye at two young black men coming to sit in a coffee shop.


Seems there were 4 guests, 3 of which were black, I looked at a few other reports and nothing about waiving, neighbour called because they thought there was a robbery underway.

Would not happen in my County, we do not have a Helicopter or that many Police on duty.

is there anything the host could have done to help prevent this sort of thing from happening?

I can think of a few.

  1. Tell your neighbors you are running an AirBNB and there will be groups of people staying on a short-term basis in your property.

  2. Give them your phone number so they can reach you if they have concerns.

  3. Ask them to call the police promptly if they observe criminal activity, and also you as host, immediately.

Just my two cents …

Everybody in this scenario here is wrong.

  • The police over-reacted and violated the Constitutional rights of those they are supposed to “protect and serve.” What else is new?
  • The black guests over-reacted to the over-reaction, with all their social media drama.
  • The media went breathless at this little chance to push along the media agenda. Pretty low-grade, low-quality media coverage here. Highly doubtful that “not waving” is at all pertinent, but, we only have one side (the film-maker’s) of the story.

I would suspect the neighbor actually was looking around his or her neighborhood and had a WTF moment of who are these people? Just who are they, what are they doing here?

Historically, transients stayed in hotels and neighbors stayed in neighborhoods. When neighborhoods get hybridized into having houses of transients (with no host/homeowner in sight), no one has any idea of what to do with emergencies or crime at the house(s) next door.

I have watched a LOT of legislative testimony this year on varied AirBNB bills, and the amount of alarm displayed by people watching their neighborhoods get flipped into party houses or group houses is significant. See the recent HuffPo article on the shredding of New Orleans, for example.

Indications are, in this case in Rialto, that we have an investor who doesn’t live onsite (note the film-maker says she called the “landlord,” not her “host.” Who probably bought the house circa 2017 because “AirBNB is the next big thing.” Who doesn’t know and never did know the neighbors. Who is shoving the vacation rental, whole-house model generally seen in resorts into a suburban California community, and the neighbors are disquieted by a parade of strangers and transients in and out of the place next door.

This disquiet is happening in white and non-white neighborhoods and mixes and everything in between. If you don’t know who is a neighbor, who is a stranger, and who is lurking around to do you harm, you can end up in a very bad place.

I particularly doubt that this involves “their crime was being black in a white neighborhood.” Rialto is heavily Latino, along with other minorities, and only 10% Caucasian non-Hispanic. More accurate to note that they were one white stranger and three black strangers in a multi-racial suburb typical of Cali. Emphasis on the “stranger” part of the description.


The neighbor did say that not waving was the reason she called the police. Of course robbers never wave and they steal stuff from homes using suitcases. The whole thing is ridiculous. But the police should know how to assess a situation better and not assume all the info they get from dispatch is correct. Serve and protect is the job descriptiion.

It goes back to proper training of the police. It doesn’t help that our military hands over the gear they don’t need to our police forces. Some of these cops get all hyped up, their adrenaline is pumping, they want some action.

Look at the other recent shooting in Sacramento, California. Similar situation, same state. Neighbor calls cops for a suspected prowler. A young black man winds up dead, shot 20 times by police. He was unarmed and at his grandmothers house. He had his arms up holding his cellphone. Their body cameras capture the action. This is not the media hyping a story or victims over-reacting. This is real footage as it happened.


Everyone here is not wrong. We are expressing an opinion. Just as you are. It just so happens that you disagree with everyone here :slight_smile: :frowning:

You aren’t suggesting anything in your post that could have stopped this situation happening or that didn’t

  1. You don’t know that the host hadn’t told their neighbours they were operating an Airbnb.
  2. You don’t know they hadn’t given neighbours their number
  3. Neighbours did call the Police - that’s what created the whole problem. We don’t know whether they called the host.

I don’t agree with your analysis.

The neighbours over-reacted. Would they have called the police if they had been white travellers?

I don’t agree the black guests over-reacted. How would you feel if you were regularly called out for going about your everyday business, simply because of the colour of your skin. From the footage they were calm and friendly to the police who turned up.

Of course we only have one side of the story. I highly doubt the neighbour is going to come forward and say, I called the Police because I saw black people putting luggage into their car and automatically assumed they must be stealing.

It doesn’t matter whether the guest called her host a landlord - that’s just semantics - guests aren’t used to Airbnb terminology and may well call as host a landlord.

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@Mike you write:

The neighbor did say that not waving was the reason she called the police.

Not exactly. Neither of the two articles linked by posters above indicates this. Both provide hearsay only. The New York Post says that ACCORDING TO THE FILMMAKERS, the neighbor became suspicious when the filmmaker did not return a wave, and there is no first-hand interview of the neighbor. The Root commentary doesn’t even pretend to interview anyone involved, it’s a lift off the filmmaker’s Facebook mixed with personal views. I’ve also checked Newsweek, CNN and the San Luis Obispo paper, and none directly or indirectly interview the neighbor. Her actions are interpreted by AirBNB, the popo and the filmmakers for her, without confirmation.

People exaggerate all the time in news articles, I suppose especially if they’ve just been swarmed by police for exercising their constitutional rights to move freely, it’s understandable. But these reports need to be read VERY critically and interpreted correctly.

So the neighbor might or might not have done what the filmmakers state, and I cannot find her confirming their version anywhere.

Serve and protect is the job description.

Yeah, well here we agree. That was the LAPD motto starting in 1955, but the Supreme Court has ruled multiple times that police cannot be sued for not protecting and not serving.

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Everyone here is not wrong.

Slow down pardner! Everyone in the described scenario we are discussing is wrong. Not everyone on this forum! I’ve edited my post to clarify, although the context is pretty clear.

You aren’t suggesting anything in your post that could have stopped this situation

Dang! I could have SWORN that I had made both macro and micro suggestions that were rather thorough. Oh well, I’ll try harder next time.

It doesn’t matter whether the guest called her host a landlord - that’s just semantics - guests aren’t used to Airbnb terminology and may well call as host a landlord.

oh, it DOES matter. It matters quite a bit. In that one word choice, lies this entire story.

The filmmaker’s use of the word “landlord” along with the rest of this scenario gives some indication that we have a) a commercial investor host b) that doesn’t know the neighbors c) that doesn’t seem to have communicated with his neighbors d) that doesn’t even strike his guests ("tenants?) as a “host,” more of as a “landlord.”

a person who receives or entertains other people as guests.

a person, especially a man, who rents land, a building, or an apartment to a tenant.

Homesharing guests don’t typically call their host a “landlord,” do they?!

And this is the fulcrum of this episode.

Me personally? It happens to me at times, and it’s not my favorite part of my life, but I don’t call in a media circus.

And again, I don’t see where that is the prime driver of this article. We have 1 white guest, 3 black guests in a largely Hispanic neighborhood. That is our modern world esp. in California. I saw a wide range of skin tones in the responding police, as well. What I see here and elsewhere is police happily over-reacting to the citizenry of all colors going about their business. Check YouTube for many, many videos of Caucasians as well as blacks attempting to exercise their constitutional rights to make films, to bear arms, to resist unreasonable search and seizure. The police that understand the constitutional protections afforded the citizens are not that prevalent, and Caucasians don’t seem to get much of a pass.

Especially –

Watch the video of that poor white father of two being gunned down banana-republic style in Mesa Arizona … begging for his life from the popo in a hotel corridor, on his knees and crying. Unarmed. You won’t be the same after you see it.

Brazen ones might wave! Or even take selfies.

“Using suitcases?” Can we give the benefit of the doubt to the neighbor, that she saw them with stuff for a location shoot? Duffels, lens bags, tripods, camera rollpacks? Which might have looked like some valuable property going out of what she assumed was a person’s residence.

Your making this sound like it’s not a racial issue. It is! The cops can be heard on the video saying the neighbor called and reported 3 black people taking suitcases out of a home. Would she have even called the police if 3 white people were doing that? I don’t think so.

Dispatchers always ask for race.

And again, we have the POLICE version of the story, not the neighbor’s, or the recording to dispatch.