"Beware of the pickpockets" - that is the standard byline you get to see in the interior of every public transport. And why? Because travelers are the principle target of thieves. But more than regular passengers, the tourists undertaking a longer journey and lodging in foreign lands are a more easy prey. And take care, when we are talking about tourists we are not referring to petty pickpockets; their act is nothing short of ‘luggage lifting’!
The holidayers, often in a relaxing, vacation mood forget to take adequate precaution against prying eyes. They tend to rely on the often faulty security measures offered by the hotels. And this promotes cops like Bill Stanton to go over-alert in their duty. But then again, his job is not simply to break into hotels in the oddest hours but to create public security awareness. It is no doubt an effort towards awakening the ‘cat’ in you, when otherwise you would have screamed ‘police’!
Stanton, an erstwhile ‘hotel-breaker’ seems to know all the tricks of this stealthy profession! When challenged by a five-star New York hotel, he slipped into the premises disguising himself as a tourist. Taking full advantage of the lack of cameras in the staircase, he pretended to be locked out to the cleaning staff at work. He was readily admitted as no one could make out the thief in him. After that, it was a cake-walk for him!
Now, having switched his field of action from that of the ‘mouse’ to the ‘cat’, Stanton is honest with his endeavor to help tourists remain prepared for such incidents. You don’t have to be a James Bond to protect yourself!
He suggests the following Top 10 security tips for tourists in general:
To start from the scratch, says Stanton, you should make sure that all the entrances of your home are thoroughly locked out, before you step out. People having regular access to your house, like the newspaper vendor or laundry man must be informed in advance to withhold their service during your absence.
- Mark your luggage with some distinguishing token to avoid intentional or unintentional exchanges.
Stanton would rather have you tag your belonging especially in places like airports or stations. For a change you can also use bags and suitcases that have an uncommon color.
- Make it a point to carry your most vital documents and other valuables in your carry-on.
- Avoid using your laptops while on the way. It can be a very tell-tale manner of revealing some essential personal information to peeping eyes. In case you must use it, make sure you use a privacy filter to shield any undesired leakages.
- Check on your voice pitch (in case you are a ‘loud-speaker’) while stepping into a hotel. Who knows but you might let out unawares much about yourself! Thieves might fake your name to get an easy access into your room. And you know the rest!
- When you check out of a hotel you must destroy all records of your personal information given during check in. This prevents any future risks to your security.
- While you are lodging in, make it clear with the hotel staffs to lock the door each time they leave. And if you by any chance want privacy, just request them to leave you alone for the time.
- Always be mentally prepared to escape from the site of trouble. For this you must be careful enough to take note of the exit points of the room/hall concerned that you are in.
- And of course you must be extra cautious about your wallet. After all, pickpockets have universal access! Carry your money preferably in a money-belt under your clothes. Ladies must keep their money tucked close to their body. And don’t carry all your money in a single place. In case you face a lift you can rely on the other sources.
- Lastly, remember that even if it is the safest place on earth, thieves can be on the prowl. So remember the old caution your mom used to tell you back in your childhood - "Don’t speak to strangers." Of course that does not mean keeping new acquaintance at bay, but don’t be too friendly with ‘bar mates’. They might dope you to take their chance.