The passport is your most important document when going traveling overseas. About 36000 Australian passport were reported lost or stolen during 2012-2013. Your credit cards can be replaced in 2-days' time, but your passport is more difficult.
Most passports that were stolen could have been simply prevented. Do not leave your passport unattended in your hotel room. Use the in room safe or take the passport down to the reception and have it locked in a safe deposit box, where you are the only person to have the key to the safe deposit box.
If the thought of leaving it with the hotel does not sit well with you, take it with you when you travel about. Keep your passport on you at all times. Wear the passport in a pouch which is secured on your body under your clothes.
Pickpockets are at home in your own home city as well as popular travel destination. This can be Sydney, Berlin, Paris or even South East Asia.
At all times be on your guard, never leave your wallet or personal belongings unattended even if you are sitting in a restaurant or visits the public bathrooms.
International Hotels request you to hand over your passport for the time you stay with them and register upon your arrival. They keep your passport until you depart. They do not need your passport but only your details.
To overcome this problem you simply made a colour photo copy of your passport, at check in you show them your passport but only give them a copy and you keep your passport. You don't hand it over.
In the event of having lost your passport while you are overseas you need to report this to the local authorities and the Australia Embassy so you can make arrangements for a new one so you travel back home.
Personal Security in Hotels / Traveling Overseas
Never discuss your business and travel plans whilst in a public areas where they can be overheard.
Obtain a hotel room around the third floor to the fifth floor, in case of an emergency such as a fire, emergency personnel and fire trucks (ladders) can reach you. Also being a little further up keeps you out of reach from criminal activity from the street below.
Never entertain strangers in your hotel room or attend theirs.
Always be alert to very friendly locals, many of them will be harmless but among them will be that criminal element who have the intention to harm you. They will offer you to take you're a certain restaurant. The trick they use is to offer you drugged refreshments and that restaurant maybe also be part of the criminal outfit.
Leaving valuables in your in your hotel room unattended, even if it locked away in the suit case will only ask for them to be stolen especially if you are traveling in a poor country. Not all hotel workers are thief but some will take the opportunity if it presents itself.
Utilised the hotel safe deposit box at all times for your valuable items such as passport, credit cards, jewellery, airplane tickets.
Always be aware were your emergency exits points are in the event of fire or explosion.
At all times use the chain or bolt lock while you are in your room.
Before opening your door to visitors use the (peephole) to see who is outside the door.
Always keep your room neat and tidy this enables you to see if it has been disturbed or missing items quickly.
While you are in the lobby never discuss your room number in public, never leave your room key on bar tables or in the restaurant.
Hotel Key Cards – Travel Tips
Ever wonder what is on your magnetic key card?
Customer's name ,Customer's partial home address ,Hotel room number ,Check-in date and out dates,Customer's credit card number and expiration date!
When you turn them in to the front desk at the end off your stay, your personal information is there for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel scanner..
An employee can take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device, access the information onto a laptop computer and go shopping at your expense. Simply hotels (staff) do not erase your information on these cards until an employee reissues the card to the next hotel guest.
At that time, the new guest's information is electronically 'overwritten' on the card and the previous guest's information is erased in the overwriting process. But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, it usually is kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT!
What to do: Keep the cards, take them home with you, or destroy them. NEVER leave them behind in the room or room wastebasket, and NEVER turn them to the front desk when you check out of a room.
They will not charge you for the card and you'll be sure you are not leaving a lot of valuable personal information on it that could be easily lifted off with any simple scanning device card reader.
For the same reason, if you arrive at the airport and discover you still have the card key in your pocket, do not toss it in an airport trash basket. Take it home and destroy it by cutting it up, especially through the electronic information strip! If you have a small magnet, pass it across the magnetic strip several times. Then try it in the door, it will not work. It erases everything on the card.
Your Neighborhood and Crime.
If you are in an area with high crime activity, consider installing bars on any ground windows which are accessible by a person, bars are a visual deterrent and signs of physical security in place.
Also consider installing CCTV cameras around your home and place notice that your home is under CCTV surveillance. I have never met a criminal that wants to be identified.
Secure your CCTV recorder in a place or room, which is hard to locate or access. In case a criminal manages to break and enter into your premises they cannot locate and remove the unit.
Graffiti -Your Home and Neighbourhood
What is Graffiti ? What is the Broken Window Theory ?
Graffiti consists of the following,drawings scratched, inscriptions ,slogans, scribbled or painted on a wall or public utility or private surface.
Graffiti today is a sign of urban decay. James Q. Wilson,Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard University and author of "Thinking About Crime," together with George L. Kelling, a research fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government Harvard, first introduced the world to the Broken Window Theory.
The theory contends that if a broken window is left unfixed it can quickly encourage more crime and vandalism to the neighborhood because it sends a message of indifference to observers. Graffiti is one element of the broken window theory. Once graffiti shows up somewhere, if left untreated, generally more graffiti follows.
Graffiti has become everyone's eyesore and everyone's problem. It generates fear of neighborhood crime and instability. It is costly, destructive, lowers property values and sends a message that people of the community are not concerned about the appearance of their neighborhood. It is against the law, Graffiti is not art; it is vandalism and criminal.
What you can do ?
If your property has been defaced with graffiti have it removed as soon as possible, or paint over the affect areas such as walls , fences,garage door etc.
If public utilities has been defaced (Railway Property, Council Property) contact that organisation in question, this can be done online as well as calling their customer service department. They have crews that go around to removed the graffiti as soon as possible.
Another tool to fight graffiti is an app called Vandal Trak. Using your smart phone ,The VandalTrak system aims to log all incidents,track and manage Graffiti incidents and with the help of the community we can assist authorities to bring vandals to justice.
How to Protect your Home .
The best way to protect your home while being away on holidays is to install dead locks on all windows as well as to all external doors. They can be bought from any hardware store, if multi packs are required the key can made fit all locks.
Install a good quality security alarm system. In Interviews with ex burglars, they stated that they will target a home or business without an alarm system.
From interview's obtained from ex-burglars stated they look for homes that don't have a security system installed, if they see a home fitted with an alarm system they move onto a home or business which does not have one. They stated that the tell tale sign was the the blue strobe mounted on the home.
The reason behind this is that they did not want to be disturbed and draw undue attention to themselves while in the act of break and enter.
Going Away for a Break ?
If you are going away for a period of time and want to create the impression that someone is at home at night, use an electric timer, connect the timer to a light so that it appear's that some is home at night. Set the timer for dusk to come on and off at a different time during the night.
When going away for the a period of time, have your mail collected by a relative and or a neighbour. This gives the impression that someone is at home.
Motor vehicles get stolen every few minutes and every day. Here are some tips to slow and prevent would be thief.
1 Never leave keys in the ignition when you leave the vehicle unattended. It just screams out steal me.
2. Before going away from your vehicle and leaving it unattended make sure all windows and all doors are locked. Sounds simple but many people don't do it.
3. When paying for fuel lock your car, this stops theft not only stealing your car as well as any personal items from the vehicle such as your new iphone.
4 Never leave valuables with view, such as a laptop, iphones, coins, take them with you or lock them in the boot.
5 Never leave tage on your car keys which have your home address attached to it. This gives the thief another chance to rob you.
6 Never hide a spare key around or on your car at home or the beach. Use a safe key storage box to secure your car keys.
Theft from your vehicle needs to be reported to your nearest Police Station or call the Police Assistance Line (Pal)
Products which helps in the prevention of car theft
1 Starter ignition fuel systems.
3. Door Locks
4. Bonnet Locks
5. Alarm System
6 Ignition Shields
7 Parking Barriers
8. Steering Wheel Locks
9. Transmission Locks
10 GPS trackers, vehicle monitoring services and devices.
If all the above fails get your mother in law to stand guard :-)