As travelers begin to plan for vacations to enjoy the summer season, Concentric urges travelers to remain aware of security risks in the areas they plan to visit. Depending on the location, common threats include theft, assault, sexual harassment, robbery, and civil unrest. Tourist hot spots attracting large crowds also increase these risks. Understanding the unique security challenges for your planned destinations and taking steps to mitigate these risks is essential in preventing potential threats.
Crime Increases in Summer Months
Violent crime rates tend to increase over the summer, to include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, according to a 2014 Department of Justice report. Experts note increasing heat leads to more aggressive behaviors, and more daylight hours, closed schools, and more foot traffic bolsters criminal activity. According to FBI data from 2018 and 2019, youth between seven and 17 years old are more likely to commit crimes on school days than on non-school days. Tourists also run a greater risk of having their bags or valuables stolen while they are traveling, and when they are out of town on summer vacation, their houses are susceptible to break-ins.
The above chart published in The New York Times in September 2018 depicts the number of shooting victims per day in nine cities, on cold and hot days.
Recommendations for a Safe Summer Vacation
Sufficient planning prior to your vacation is often as important as demonstrating safe travel habits during your trip. According to personnel from Concentric’s intelligence and investigations departments, the following steps can help to ensure you have a fun and safe summer vacation:
- Before you depart, visit the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory website for any travel restrictions or alerts related to the destinations you plan to visit. Monitor recent major news and weather conditions in the destinations you plan to visit.Reviewing Concentric’s monthly Worldwide Travel Hotspots report can also help you stay informed of any political and security concerns in various portions of the world.
- Providing your travel itinerary to a trusted individual detailing your planned activities and accommodations can be useful in case of emergency situations, especially if traveling alone. Sharing your location with friends or family members prior to travel helps keep them aware of your movements.
- Refrain from wearing any high-value items or carrying valuables to avoid attention from potential thieves and scammers. Be wary of pick-pocketers in heavily crowded spaces such as subways and keep your items close to you. If you are staying at a hotel, check if they offer a safe or a lockbox to store your valuables or personal items.
- Traveling in large groups can help discourage criminals from stalking and targeting you or others in your group. We recommend maintaining communication with your group and creating plans in case group members get lost.
- Keeping digital documentation of your travel documents on your personal device and for someone to be able to access them at home will be helpful if these documents were to be lost or stolen.
Practicing good cyber “hygiene” and applying cyber security measures on all your devices before travel is critical in lowering the risk of cybercrime. Following these protocols can help minimize the risk of being a victim of cybercrime:
- Add two-factor authentication to all of your accounts for another layer of protection against unauthorized access.
- Download a virtual private network (VPN) such as Mullvad VPN or Proton VPN for your electronic devices to encrypt your network traffic and prevent scammers or cyber criminals from intercepting your personal information.
- Be cautious of “free wifi” networks and suspicious text messages that request personal information such as credit card information or contain fraudulent links. These are common ways scammers can compromise your devices and extract sensitive information. If you use free wifi, always use a VPN.
- Use a password manager such as Keeper to create long, strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts
- Contact your bank to notify them of your travels and request additional anti-fraud services if available. Monitoring your account for unfamiliar charges or withdrawals will also keep you ahead of any potential fraud. Consider placing a freeze on your credit and enrolling in a third-party credit monitoring service.
- Prior to travel, back up all your essential data from your devices in case your devices become infected, stolen, or damaged.
How Can Concentric Help?
If you or your clients are planning to travel this summer and have any questions about security measures or have any travel concerns, please reach out to Concentric. Concentric’s team can provide: