Travel: How To Minimize Your Chances Of Getting Robbed At Your Hotel

You have probably been planning for your holiday, working vacation or short break for a while. Getting robbed during your vacation can set you back and make you not enjoy your holiday. Kim Kardashian learnt this the hard way a couple of months back. It is a great thing to think that you will not get robbed while on holiday but it is good to be practical and plan for any eventually as I learnt the hard way when our stuff was stolen in a hotel room last week How Not To Get Yourself Robbed In A Hotel – Part 1 . Here are some tips for you to minimize your chances of getting robbed at your hotel.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME

Write down the serial numbers of equipment or gadgets that you are carrying and save them online.

If you can, get travel insurance so that you are covered if you lose stuff. Or have insurance for your things.

Make copies of all your important documents like passports, airline tickets and credit cards.

Take pictures of any valuables so that you can use them for identification if your stuff is found and also for insurance claims.

If you have any important documents back them up on the cloud or an external flash disk that you leave at home. Don’t put it off, this is something I regretted when my laptop was stolen and most of the stuff wasn’t backed up elsewhere.

If you can carry only a little money on you. The best thing is to have most of your money on M-PESA so that if you are robbed you still have access to money. But of course if your phone and ID are stolen this might not help you.

Check out reviews online for the places you are going to stay. If they have bad reviews think twice. Also check if the hotel is located in a high crime area.

PREVENTION STEPS WHEN YOU GET TO THE HOTEL

Here are a few tips on how to prevent a robbery from happening to you. Some of the tips are from this article Hotel Security: safety advice for travelers.

Robbery. Image from http://ow.ly/G4pQ307wdvo

Select a hotel room on an upper floor when available as ground floor rooms are more vulnerable because of immediate access and ease of escape. This is something I learnt the hard way as I was on the first floor just next to the stairs. Also guest rooms adjacent to fire escapes are also more vulnerable as they can be used for rapid escape.

Make sure you lock all doors and windows when you are enter the room. Make sure when you first check into a room you test all windows and sliding glass doors to see if they are secure. If they are not ask for another room. If the room has an adjoining door to an adjacent room, make sure it is secured with a deadbolt lock.

If you are a woman traveling alone or with small children, take advantage of car valet service and avoid the parking lot especially at night. If you can after check in, ask for a bell boy to escort you to your room. After unlocking the room, quickly inspect the closets, under the bed, and bathroom including behind the shower curtain before the bellman leaves. Always go through the same room inspection very time you come back.

Turn on the tv or radio loud enough to hear through the door. This gives the appearance that the room is occupied. Also leave one light on inside if you will come back after dark. This gives an appearance of occupancy from the outside. This also helps you see when you come back. You can also put the do not disturb sign on the doorknob so that people think you are in.

If you are traveling alone especially as a woman use caution when using the breakfast order door knob hanger card. This card lists your name, and number of occupants. A thief can use this to pose as room service and use your name as a ruse to gain entry.

Always try to get a hotel that suits your safety standards and will cater for your security needs. Try to stick with it or the same hotel chain. Do not be afraid to ask for a room change.

If you have any valuable items put them in the safe immediately (not that all safes are equal, some are better than others). If you find your room does not have a safe you can ask at the reception if they have one and put your stuff there. If not look for a place where you can hide some of them in your room.

Find out or observe whether the hotel room has limited access to the public. Can anybody walk in and out of the hotel? How many exits are there for the hotel? This matters when you think about your room in terms of security.

If you are booking the hotel on arrival and you are not sure about the hotel ask to see your room before paying. Check the type of key the hotel room has. Is there a dead bolt lock and peephole? Does the room come with a modern, electronic lock or a key that is not easily duplicated?

Be careful about flashing your gadgets in the hotel. It could be how thieves know about the things you have.

Types of robberies

There are different types of burglaries, hotel invasion is the worse kind because it is likely to happen during the night when rooms are likely to be occupied and less staff is on duty. A hotel room invasion occurs when robbers force their way into an occupied hotel or motel room to commit a robbery or other crimes. It is frightening because it violates our private space and the one place that acts as our temporary sanctuary while away from home. Some travelers never recover from the experience of being assaulted while in a hotel room in a strange city.

Sometimes the room invaders may target the occupant and room location and not necessarily the hotel. The invaders may work alone or with an accomplice. They usually target women traveling alone, or wealthy travelers. Usually burglaries during the day target rooms that are  unoccupied. Thieves usually enter through a patio door but sometimes they will kick open the door or knock on the door and pretend to be room service, house keeping etc. Always make sure that your room doors are locked, especially patio sliding doors.

A thief breaking in. Image from http://ow.ly/TIiG307wcVh

Another tactic is for them to select a victim from the lobby and follow them to see where they are going. They will either mark the room and come back or pretend walk behind you as if they are going to their room then force their way behind you and make their demands. Be vigilant to see if somebody is following you from the lobby.

The most common point of attack is through the guest room door or patio door. Sometimes the hotel room invader will simply kick open the door and confront everyone inside. More common is when the hotel room invaders knock on the door first. The room invader hopes that the occupant will simply open the door, without question, in response to their knock. Unfortunately, many people do just that.

Another tactic is for them to select a victim from the lobby and follow them to see where they are going. They will either mark the room and come back or pretend walk behind you as if they are going to their room then force their way behind you and make their demands. Be vigilant to see if somebody is following you from the lobby.

After

Co-operate with the hotel to talk to the police.

Make sure you get an abstract from the police so that you can claim your stuff from insurance or you can claim from the hotel what was stolen.

Notify your bank if your cards have been stolen.

CODE A CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE

I found some useful information in this post about CODE A which is a safely acronym.  CODE A can save your life.

If you are being robbed in a hotel or even on the street take note of this acronym Code A – which can help you during a robbery.

Calm

Remain calm and tell yourself to remain calm.

Obey

Do not resist the thieves. Don’t be a hero. Your money, or other valuables is not worth risking a life for. Do Do not take action that would jeopardize your safety or others. If the robber displays a firearm, or even just claims to have one, consider it to be loaded and able to be used. In most situations, robbers won’t harm a person who cooperates.

Description

Be observant. Plan to be a good witness. Try to notice as much as possible about the robber or robbers yourself, without discussion with other witnesses. Make mental notes of the following: the number, physical characteristics, behavior and other stuff like weapons and direction of travel.

Evidence

If you are robbed in your hotel room remember to safeguard all possible evidence. Don’t interfere with the crime scene as much as possible.

Alarm

If there is an alarm activate it. If you are sure the thieves have gone then you can scream for help or go down to the reception to report the robbery.  You can talk to the police as well.

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