Devious criminals are everywhere—including in motels and hotels. So it’s important to always take personal responsibility for your safety and security no matter where you go. When traveling, the following are a few security tips that can help keep you safe during your stays at motels and hotels.
Lower vs. Upper Levels
Ground level rooms are more vulnerable to crime than upper level rooms. This is because doors and windows on the ground floor are easiest to access and escape from. Criminals look for such opportunities when selecting their burglary targets. The following can help optimize your safety:
Avoid rooms near stairwells. Burglars prefer rooms closest to the stairs so they can make a quick escape.
Upon entering your room, look inside closets and bathtubs, under beds, and among any other areas where possible intruders can hide.
Choose an upper level room where the main door to the room is the only form of access. The higher the level your room is located, the less likely it will be a target for burglary.
Main Entry Doors
Many hotel and motel rooms nowadays come equipped with electronic card access systems. The advantage of these systems is they allow for the establishment to issue new guests a keycard with a unique room access code instead of a traditional metal key. This ensures the room cannot be accessed by previous guests or unauthorized employees. In addition to this security measure, the door to your room should include the following:
The door should securely close and lock on its own.
The door should be constructed of solid wood or metal.
The door should be equipped with a quality dead-bolt lock, swing bar or chain, and a peephole with a wide-angle lens.
For rooms with adjoining doors, make sure the door is equipped with a dead-bolt lock. If the door does not appear to be secure for any reason, ask for another room or switch hotels.
Many criminals have been known to pose as part of the hotel staff, such as room service, housekeeping, maintenance, and even security, as a way to get guests to open their doors. To ensure your safety, be sure to do the following:
Teach your children to never open the door without your permission.
NEVER open the door to your room to someone you are not expecting. If someone claiming to be a staff member shows up at your door unexpectedly, ask for their full name and call the front desk to confirm their identity.
Never partially open the door or rely on swing bars or door chains as protection. These devices are unreliable and can be easily broken through. Your best protection is the closed door with the dead bolt in place. Always utilize the peephole!
Rely on your instincts. Even if the front desk confirms the person’s name, if you still aren’t convinced, ask the front desk to send another staff member to your room so they can confirm the person standing at your door is truly who they claim to be.
Windows and Sliding Glass Doors
If your room is located on the ground floor, take the following window precautions:
Ensure all accessible windows and sliding glass doors are locked and secure.
Be sure to test the windows and doors when locked. If the locks appear flimsy, loose, or fail to provide a comfortable level of security, ask to switch rooms.
If the windows or sliding door is not equipped with an anti-sliding device, ask if the hotel can provide you with a solid wooden or metal rod that you can place in the tracks.
If your room is located on an upper floor and you have access to a balcony, be sure to look around and determine how easy or difficult it would be for someone to gain access to your room from another balcony, patio, or even landscaping. If there is any way someone from another room can easily gain access to your room via the balcony, make sure to secure all windows and sliding doors when you are inside or away from your room.
Valet parking is much safer than self-parking—especially if you are a woman traveling alone or with small children. If valet parking is not available, look for well-lit areas within the parking lot closest to the hotel or motel. If you must park in a covered parking lot and you are traveling alone, check your bags in at the front desk first and ask for security to ride with you or meet you in the parking area so they can escort you back to the hotel.
Most burglars prefer to break into rooms that are unoccupied. With this important information in mind, you can deter criminals by doing the following:
Place the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door even when you are away from the room.
Leave the radio or TV on with the volume turned up loud enough for someone to hear when standing at the door to your room.
Leave a light on to create the appearance of an occupied room. It will also help provide better visibility when you need to return to your room after dark.
Finding a hotel or motel with adequate security is very important. When you find one that meets your standards of both comfort and safety, using the same hotel or at least the same chain of hotels whenever you travel is a smart choice. If you are ever provided with a room with inadequate security, be sure to file a complaint with hotel management. Your complaint can go a long way when it comes to your safety, as well as the safety of future guests.
Jordan Frankel, commonly known as The Security Sensei develops revolutionary security products and solutions that protect both lives & property. Countless agencies and corporations such as NASDAQ, the US Military, and law enforcement entrust Mr. Frankel with their security and safety. Jordan Frankel is also frequent media guest addressing the personal and financial consequences associated with home invasions, burglaries and other serious threats. In addition, Mr. Frankel's security products & inventions have been featured on Oprah, FOX news and in countless publications. Jordan's ability to outsmart the proverbial bad guys - coupled with his commitment to making security an affordable reality for everyone is the key to Global Security Experts Inc success. Mr. Frankel (The Security Sensei) is available for media interviews by appointment only.
Mr. Frankel is a proud member of:
The American Society for Industrial Security.
The International Association for Counter Terrorism & Security.