“Don’t look conspicuous. It draws fire.”
-From Murphy’s Laws of Combat-
Travel Security Essentials:
- Always be alert and aware of your surroundings and of the people around you.
- Always carry ID and enough cash with you in case you need it for an emergency or to call a taxi, etc.
- Keep flashy jewelry out of sight.
- Whenever possible, buddy-up to walk out to dark parking lots.
- Make casual eye contact with people when walking.
- Do not be easily distracted or take your eyes off of someone you feel looks suspicious in a possibly dangerous situation.
- Always inform family or friends if you are traveling, and give them itinerary dates and locations you will visit.
- Try to stay away from the brush or trees when walking or running. Always be prepared to run away from an attacker and scream.
- Turn and go in the opposite direction of the car if a stranger approaches offering a ride. If possible, write down the license plate and description of the car.
- Do not respond to conversation from strangers on the street.
- Walk confidently, at a steady pace, and have your keys ready in your hand.
- Avoid being on a cell phone with an iPod in your other ear unaware of your surroundings. This makes you an easy target.
- Avoid dangerous places at night time, visit them during day time hours.
- Stop and look around if you feel unsafe entering an area. You may want to return at a different time. Trust your instincts.
- Be aware of escape routes for emergencies, and post phone numbers of the Police and Fire Departments in your cell phone so you do not have to fumble pushing many numbers.
- Avoid danger spots like quiet or badly-lit alleyways, subways or isolated car parks. Walk down the middle of the pavement if the street is deserted.
- Consider heading for a public place; somewhere you know there will be other people, for example a garage or shop.
- Avoid passing stationary cars with their engines running and people sitting in them.
- Try to keep both hands free and don’t walk with your hands in your pockets.
- Walk facing oncoming traffic whenever possible, to avoid curb crawlers.
- Keep your mind on your surroundings – remember if you are chatting on your mobile phone or wearing a personal stereo, you will not hear trouble approaching.
- Trust your instincts and take action if you think you are being followed. As confidently as you can, cross the road, turning to see who is behind you. If you are still being followed, keep moving. Make for a busy area and tell people what is happening.
- Beware of someone who warns you of the danger of walking alone and then offers to accompany you. This is a ploy some attackers have been known to use.
According to the Code of Federal Regulations, 49 CFR Part 175.10, Exceptions for passengers, crew members, and air operators, One self-defense spray, not exceeding 118 mL (4 fluid ounces) by volume, that incorporates a positive means to prevent accidental discharge may be carried in checked baggage only. This makes it almost inexcusable not to have pepper spray with you when you are traveling (except while riding on an aircraft).
- Avoid isolated bus or train stops. Otherwise, continuously look all around you. Be aware.
- Don’t stay in the same spot and make yourself an easy target if at a bus or train stop and feel unsafe.
- Don’t open you purse or wallet while boarding the bus; have your fare ready.
- Sit as close to the bus driver as possible while on a bus during off-hours.
- Check your purse or wallet if someone is jostling, crowding or pushing you.
Automated Teller Machines:
- Be extra careful when using ATM machines. Make sure nobody is hovering nearby and don’t count your money in the middle of the street.
- Don’t answer the door in a hotel or motel room without verifying who it is. If a person claims to be an employee, call the front desk and ask if someone from their staff is supposed to have access to your room and for what purpose.
- When returning to your hotel or motel late in the evening, use the main entrance of the hotel. Be observant and look around before entering parking lots.
- Close the door securely whenever you are in your room and use all of the locking devices provided.
- Don’t needlessly display guest room keys in public or carelessly leave them on restaurant tables, at the swimming pool, or other places where they can be easily stolen.
- Do not draw attention to yourself by displaying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.
- Don’t invite strangers to your room.
- Place all valuables in the hotel or motel safe deposit box.
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. They will not be there the next morning.
- Check to see that any sliding glass doors or windows and any connecting room doors are locked.
- If you see any suspicious activity, report your observations to the management.
Hotel Room Doors:
ALWAYS keep your hotel room door locked. Several times I have been given the key to someone elses room and have walked in on them. Even if someone has innocent intentions, you may find them walking in your room. Lock all of the available locks on the door while you are in your room. ALWAYS.
Hotel Room Safes:
Some of these videos may suggest that it is easy to hack digital hotel room safes. I have found several instances where the “master code” is the last four digits of the hotel’s phone number or fax number (listed on your hotel room’s phone). Most times the code isn’t that easy to figure out. Also, I haven’t seen a hotel room safe that uses more than four numeric characters as suggested by one of the videos.
The lesson to learn from these videos is that there is a master code,and that someone besides you can open your safe.