Party house problems, armed robbery at Atlanta Airbnb

Police are investigating an armed robbery at a house party held at an Airbnb rental in Atlanta—one week after the short-term rental platform pledged to ban “party houses” from its site.

Masked gunmen entered the party in Wylie Street, east Atlanta, at roughly 2:30 a.m. on Friday, before striking two people with their firearms, stealing personal items and getting away. The suspects are said to have fled on foot and currently remain at large as Atlanta Police Department investigates.

“Victims indicated that while inside the location, a group of masked males entered through an unlocked door, brandishing firearms,” an Atlanta Police Department spokesperson said to Newsweek in a statement.

“They assaulted two of the victims by striking them with the weapons and then began demanding the rest of the occupants lie down on the floor. The suspects then went throughout the home taking cell phones, wallets, and Nike shoes before fleeing the scene.

“One victim was transported to Grady Hospital alert, conscious, and breathing for further treatment. The other victims refused medical attention.”

The spokesman said police are working to determine the full circumstances surrounding the incident as their investigation continues.

The news comes as Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky vowed to take immediate action after five people were left dead and several more were wounded when a gunman opened fire during a Halloween party held in one of Airbnb’s rentals in Orinda, California, last week.

There has been an ongoing trend of renting apartments from the website for the sole purpose of hosting parties. Hundreds of people attended the event on Halloween after it was widely advertized on Instagram. It is not known how many people attended the event in Atlanta.

Chesky pledged to put an end to this trend following the Orinda shooting and said he would put adequate systems in place to help police any future illegal activity. This included screening mechanisms prior to booking and the deployment of a rapid response team.

On November 2, he said he had initiated a “10-day sprint” period so that such systems can be fast-tracked, but the latest incident took place before such systems could be properly implemented.

Chesky tweeted a statement in which he gave details on how he intends to prevent such occurrences at Airbnb-rented properties.

“We are launching a 24/7 neighbor hotline so anyone can call us anytime, anywhere in the world and reach a real person. This hotline will be led by our rapid response team.

“We are expanding manual screening of high-risk reservations flagged by our risk detection models first to North America and then globally next year. This will help stop unauthorized parties before they start.

“I want to be clear—we are not infallible. We are a platform built on a foundation of trust. We need to continue innovating on trust to make it harder for the bad actors. The trust of our community is our top priority.”

Newsweek has contacted Airbnb for comment with regards to the latest incident.

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