VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE
TRAVEL GUIDELINES

PANIC BUTTON SITEMAP CMP HOME DISASTER VIOLENCE PREVENTION


TRAVEL GUIDELINES FOR CUBIC EMPLOYEES:

The Cubic travel department will maintain listing of Embassies, Consulates worldwide for emergencies such as lost passport, medical problems, legal, etc.

They have materials on safety while traveling that can be shared with each person on travel, and current reading materials on traditions and customs in various countries.

Current information from our travel agency to alert travelers before traveling of any expected terrorism or attacks that might occur is also available for employees traveling outside of the United States.

It is recommended that each employee traveling out of the country take a few minutes and review the tapes the Travel Department has available :

"Lies, Cons & Stolen Briefcases" as narrated by Detective Kevin Coffey.

How to outfox crooks and protect your property while on the road. It is a guide for protecting your property while on the road. It presents you with the most common techniques and locations used by professional thieves to target your property while traveling. Whether you travel domestically or internationally, you will hear how your personal and company property can be stolen at:

  • Courtesy shuttle busses
  • Airport curbside check-in-area (Skycap)
  • Ticket counters
  • Airport security screening station
  • Restrooms
  • On-board aircraft
  • Baggage claim area

Kevin T. Coffey, President, Corporate Travel Safety, uses his vast experience from his years on the Los Angeles Police Department as head of the airport crimes investigation team in teaching travelers how not to be targeted as victims. The following are some highlights from his travel seminars, based on his daily exposure to the criminal element, and their ever-changing techniques and methods used to prey on travelers.

When most travelers think about crimes committed against travelers, more often than not they are thinking about personal assaults. Perhaps that's because violence against travelers tends to get the most publicity.

A far larger problem on the road, however, is the loss and theft of personal property. In a recent survey conducted by the Air Travel Card, the number one security and safety problem facing business travelers is the theft of property. Thieves target travelers for their property, mainly laptops, briefcases, purses, wallets and carry-on-bags.

Thieves, both professional and opportunists, target travelers' property for several reasons. Travelers are easy marks, they tend to be in a hurry, and they are easily distracted. Thieves find the victimization of travelers so profitable, that some attend a covert school that teaches them how to target travelers and commit these crimes.

Everyday, travelers venture into large metropolitan cities both domestic and international. No matter where travelers go, they will end up in locations where street crime exists. It is even more prevalent in countries where unemployment, poverty, and overpopulation exist. In some countries, or locations even within the United States, a traveler's watch can equal a few months' salary. Sometimes the criminal element targets specific travelers because they are women, or because they are easy prey and will not return to prosecute if the criminal is captured.

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Roughly 2,000 computers are stolen daily. One of every ten laptops is stolen at an airport, according to Safeware, an insurer of personal computers. There is computer software that can track thieves. CompuTrace software, developed by Absolute Software of Vancouver, British Columbia, is loaded into a laptop's hard drive. The software accesses the modem without the thief knowing about it, and calls Absolute Software's center from anywhere in North America once a week. The software is free. The monitoring service costs $60.00 per year. "If someone's laptop is stolen, we "red flag" that computer and the next time it calls in, we call the police," says spokesman David Legg.

Hurrying through the airport you feel a tap on your shoulder, and a concerned young lady tells you a streak of ketchup has somehow landed on your back. What the....? Damn. She offers a Kleenex. You put down your fully loaded, 100 - gigabyte laptop with company files, some even confidential or classified. You take the Kleenex and doff your jacket, and madly dab. Seconds later, you turn to go — but your computer's already gone ! You just fell for the condiment caper.

Another ruse: The flustered gent in front of you triggers the metal detector, then holds up the line by spilling his change. Meanwhile, his well-dressed accomplice is probably lifting the laptop you've already sent through the X-ray machine.

Harried business travelers at airports and hotels are easy marks for thieves, who usually can make much more swiping a $3,500 laptop than a briefcase or a cameras - the computer will easily fetch $1,500 at a swap meet or from a dealer who doesn't ask questions.

Stealing laptops is big business. Thieves often work in teams and develop elaborate schemes to catch a business traveler off guard.

Another trick is for a thief to use your name and pretend to be an old acquaintance. (The thief can easily read your name off a luggage tag.) "Hey John," he says, "remember me?" As you rack your brain trying to remember which cocktail party you met him at, his buddy is making off with your laptop. Beware of anyone or anything that calls your attention away from your computer or luggage.

Label your laptop. Be sure to put your name all over your laptop and carrying case. Throw some business cards in the side pocket of the case and in any hidden corners of the laptop you can find. That way, if your laptop is merely lost, whoever recovers it can find you easily. And if it's stolen, the cops might catch the thief before he or she has had time to discover - and dispose of all your business cards.

Laptops are a hot commodity nowadays, and burglars will stop at nothing to get yours. Some foreign governments are allegedly hiring spies to steal the laptops of people who work for Fortune 500 companies in order to get their hands on corporate secrets.

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Some other areas that Kevin Coffey shows the possibilities for getting robbed are:

At the shuttle bus stop, when luggage has been off loaded, keep an eye on your bags - the driver won't, he's distracted, collecting his tip.

At curbside check-in desks, watch your bags, and watch the destination tag; luggage is sometimes deliberately rerouted, with baggage handlers involved in the theft. More often, luggage is lifted from the Skycap's cart.

Any time someone taps you on the shoulder, jostles you, even asks you for time and/or information, be alert. If you've put down your briefcase or laptop-for instance at the ticket counter, newsstand, or at the telephone, ATM, be especially alert. Criminals will approach you and start asking you questions, to distract you. This can also happen to you while in bathrooms as criminals reach under and grab your laptop - so place your briefcase or laptop by your feel, not at the edge where someone could reach in and pull it out from you.

At the screening station, the security officer is there to protect you and the airlines from bombs, not theft. Coffey points out. " Don't take your eye off your property. The criminal is usually behind you and reaches into the machine to get your bag while you're going through the checkpoint." If you get delayed going through the screening point, and your property precedes you and gets stranded where you can't see it, get the attention of one of the attendants, and without calling attention to the fact that you've got something valuable in your bag, ask him or her to put your bag to one side, ostensibly so it doesn't get lost or mixed up with somebody's else's.

Coffey points out that you should carry $6.00 in one pocket and $150 in the other - when a criminal asks for your money - you reach in and give him the $6.00, and immediately walk away. You have saved the larger portion of your money, and once the criminal has your $6.00 he will immediately move away without counting it, to get back into the crowd so as not to allow you any chance to call security.

Coffey clearly asks two things of you - One is to simply acknowledge that being the victim of a crime could happen to you, and two is to learn how the criminal operates.

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To learn more on travel safety, there are several organizations that can provide you helpful information:

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONVENTION BUREAUS ( IACVB )

In cooperation with the National Crime Prevention Council, is distributing a broad range of helpful tips for travelers to use before leaving on business trips.

NATIONAL TRAVELER SAFETY CAMPAIGN

Sponsored by the American Hotel & Motel Association ( AH&MA ), disseminates travel safety guidelines through brochures, radio spots and videotapes. The latter tool is used in guest rooms of AH&MA member hotels and motels. AH&MA has also prepared seminars through its Educational Institute directed at hospitality members which focus on in-property safety measures.

TRAVEL CRIME STOPPERS INTERNATIONAL

A recent program initiated by the Washington, DC based Travel Industry Association of American (TIA), representing all segments of the industry. The emphasis here is on bringing criminals to justice after the crime, rather than on preventive measures. A network of some 800 local groups supply the TIA with data on crimes against travelers, who, in turn offer reward money.

As a business traveler, you must be alert to clever ploys and you have to be proactive when you travel, not reactive. Coffey summarizes his seminars with the following tip. " Keep your eye on your property every minute. Don't let anything distract you - go into the airport or hotel expecting to be a target."

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How to travel in today's ever changing world with noted dangerous places, criminal regions, etc. The traveler needs information about disease, kidnapping, terrorist groups, mercenaries, etc. It is recommended that all International travelers review:

"THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS PLACES"

Written by Robert Young Pelton, Coskun Aral & Wink Dulles and published by the Fielding Worldwide Company.

This book is designed to assist the traveler in today's world of conflict and violence, and will provide contacts for environmental groups, rescue organizations, intelligence resources, all designed to make your travel safer.

Airline passengers should also familiarize themselves with a recently published book, "Flying Blind, Flying Safe."

Employees that utilize airlines on a frequent schedule can check the Federal Aviation Administration's Internet Web site as they have recently stated posting safety information about airlines and travel. The site, located at http://www.faa.gov, includes civilian air carrier information from the database of the National Transportation Safety Board, the NTSB's safety recommendations to the FAA and information airline safety violations and other incidents stored in their database. Employees that travel in our ever changing world should take advantage of the unlimited information available to ensure safety in all their travel plans and arrangements.

Cubic's travel department can provide you the needed information on travel that would include safety tips should kidnapping; hostage situations; safety and security documentation/ information, etc. that will prepare you for such travel emergencies.

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