Continued from Be Safe In A Hotel.
- If you have a gun for self-defense, keep it to yourself. Most hotel chains are anti-self defense. They do not like guns in their property and will not allow their employees to provide their means for self defense. They even forbid less-than-lethal articles such as pepper spray and stun guns. Pocket knives will send you to Human Resources to pick up your last check and a trip home although I am still amazed that they allow kitchen personnel to have those very long and sharp chef’s knives. As a guest legally carrying a weapon, your best bet is to shut the heck up and keep it from prying eyes. Also, try to keep anything gun related such as shooting accessories or even gun magazines from plain view of the housekeeping workers that come to clean your room. They will call security concerned that a gun nut ready to cause mayhem might be in the room and you will be bothered by managers trying gauge your intentions while one keystroke away from calling 911.
- Take the time to reconnoiter the all the hotel and surrounding areas. Learn from the very basic of knowing where your nearest fire exit is located to asking about the crime rate in the area. Not only check where your fire exit is located, but also you may want to take the stairs all the way down and make sure it gives you a good access to safety in case of evacuation. Check for well illuminated stairs, easy to open doors from floor to floor, make sure that there are no abandoned items that may slow down or interrupt an evacuation or wet surfaces that may cause a slip and fall. Same applies for common areas of the hotel such as bars, restaurants, business center, stores, etc. Look around, see where you would go in case fecal matter hits the cooling apparatus or at least where to get behind hard cover if some nutjob decides to replicate another Mumbai attack. Check for cell phone coverage and make sure to note where the dead spots are located and where you have to go in case you need to dial 911. Ask about crime in the area and be ready to be lied to. Hotels will say that their place and neighborhood and crime free which is absolute bull but you may find one or two employees that will rather see you alive and will inform you of the potential dangers around than seeing you hurt. Under no circumstance believe Concierges and Bell Staff about safe places to eat or visit outside the hotel since they all have deals where they get kickbacks from these establishments. Use online resources to check for crime in the area you will be visiting. Lots of local police & sheriff departments will have a zip code by zip code crime statistic breakdown in their websites. And even if everything checks as safe, you are the only one responsible for your safety so do not let your guard down.
- You are alone, trust your gut. Hotels, outside the lobby and a couple of common areas and during check in and checkout times are desolated places. You may see a hotel worker from time to time in the hallways and maybe another guest, but that will be rare. That means that when you walk from or to your room, the possibility of an ambush is there and you should be very aware of your surroundings. Most hotel rooms nowadays have peepholes in the doors so use them before you step out and make sure nobody suspicious is in the immediate vicinity of your door. After you open the door, take a couple of seconds and scan the hallway for more any suspicious activity or individuals. Keep an eye on doors not properly closed, specially closets since they are perfect ambush lairs for criminals. It is not widely publicized but rapist and other criminals will look for places to hide and wait for an unsuspecting victim to walk by. If you see something that bothers you, retreat back to your room, call the Front Desk and have them send somebody to check for a suspicious individual. However, the most dangerous part of empty hallways is going back to the room. People are usually tired or distracted or even tipsy after a night of party and they just want to go in the room and lay down. Awareness is less than stellar and all of the sudden you have a gun pointed at your face commanding you to go inside the room where you will be stripped of your goods, your dignity and even your life. If something is amiss, get in a house phone and demand a security escort to your room in a loud and clear voice so anybody in earshot can hear you. Get away safely if you can or look for a fighting position that offers good cover and is defensible. Again, trust your gut, if something looks dangerous, use your head and your training.