Personal Security Tips
Applying proper precautionary measures and increasing your awareness of the potential risks around you is important to your protection. The information contained in this page has been compiled to help you avoid becoming a victim of crime.
Protect Yourself from Crime
- It is a good idea to carry as little cash as possible and rely on credit cards, debit cards, or checks.
- Prevent luring criminals by displaying large sums of money while in a crowd.
- Do not keep all of your valuables in one place while traveling. When carrying a purse or wallet, have only a few dollars placed inside. Credit cards, large sums of cash, driver’s license, keys, and jewelry should be divided and carried separately, for example, in a different coat or in a sweater pocket.
- To prevent becoming a victim of "shoulder surfing," a practice used by criminals to obtain account or card numbers or PINs by observing customer transactions, be careful of anyone watching your credit or debit card transactions.
- Immediately check your wallet or purse if you are ever jostled or bumped while waiting at a station, boarding or leaving a train, or passing through a train station. This may have been a pick-pocket attempt.
- Beware of arguments, commotions or other distractions aboard trains or at stations. These incidents may be staged to distract your attention while your pocket is picked. Check your money immediately.
- Handbags should be carried tightly under the arm with the clasp toward the body.
- Never let it dangle by the handle. Keep it with you at all times and always keep it closed.
- Men should carry wallets in their inside coat pocket or side trouser pocket. Never in the rear trouser pocket.
- If your pocket or purse is picked, announce it immediately to let fellow passengers and railroad employees know there is a thief in the area.
- Never leave luggage or other personal belongings unattended while purchasing tickets or waiting for a train.
- Traveling the same route every day can lead to a false sense of security. Crime prevention is a daily job and should be an important part of your trip. The more alert and aware you are, the less likely you are to be the victim of a crime.
- Briefcases, pocketbooks, backpacks, and suitcases should be marked for identification purposes. When possible, use a business rather than a home address.
- If you use the overhead compartment on the train, do not assume your valuables are safe. As an added precaution, record model and serial numbers, especially of cell phones, laptop computers, and other electronic devices, all of which are popular with thieves. That will help identify them if they are lost or stolen.
- Always park in a well-lighted space and be sure to lock all doors, close all windows, and secure valuables in the trunk where they will not be visible to a would-be thief.
- If you are a victim of a crime, or if you witness any suspicious activity, report it immediately to Amtrak Police at 800-331-0008 or by dialing 911.
Tips for Travelers
- Purchase and carry sufficient travelers checks
- Record and leave credit card and travelers check numbers in a safe place apart form luggage, or with someone you can contact easily.
- Check your homeowners insurance policy for coverage provided while staying in a hotel. If insufficient, consult your insurance company.
- Remove valuables from your automobile when it is parked.
- Carry only those items you will use on the trip. Leave your valuables at home. If you do carry valuables, use the hotel safe.
- Know your surroundings. Ask local residents about “problem” areas in their city and avoid them if possible.
- Never open your door until you are certain who is outside and that the person has a valid reason for entering your room.
Personal Security in Hotels
- Do not discuss your business or travel plans in the hotel lobby or public areas where they may be overheard. Discuss your travel plans and movements during your stay with as few people as possible.
- Selecting a hotel room on the third to fifth floor generally will keep you out of reach of criminal activity from the street, but still within reach of most fire truck ladders.
- Do not entertain strangers in your hotel room.
- Never leave valuables in your hotel room exposed or unattended, even in a locked suitcase.
- Place valuables such as money, jewelry, airplane tickets, credit cards, passport in a hotel safe deposit box or room safe.
- Familiarize yourself with escape routes in case of fire or other catastrophe.
- Use the door chain or bolt lock whenever you are in your room.
- Use the door viewer (peephole) before opening the door to visitors.
- Do not discuss your room number while standing in the lobby or leave your room key on a restaurant or bar table.
- Keep your room neat so you will notice disturbed or missing items quickly.
Help make your community a safer place to live and don’t let fear of crime restrict your activities. Being alert to your surroundings, installing good locks on doors and windows, and taking common-sense precautions while inside and outside your home can reduce opportunities for crime. To give you that extra margin of security:
- Use direct deposit for pension and Social Security checks.
- Don’t display large amounts of cash in public
- Be wary of talkative strangers when the conversation turns to money. Read every newspaper report on con games and be ready to say no if someone comes to you with a get-rich-quick scheme.
- Travel with friends when you leave home to go shopping, to the bank, or doctor.
- Get to know your neighbors and keep their phone numbers handy for emergencies.
- Work out a buddy system with a friend to check on each other’s welfare daily.
- If you live alone, do not advertise it. Use only your first initial in phone books, directories, and apartment lobbies.
- If you carry a purse, hold it close to your body. Do not leave your wallet or purse on a counter or in a shopping cart unattended.
- If you are threatened by physical force, do not resist. Remain calm and observe the assailant so you can give an accurate description to the police.
- Help make your neighborhood thrive. You could be a foster grandparent or a block parent for children in an emergency. Join a Window Watch to keep an eye out for unusual activity in your neighborhood or help a neighbor who has been a recent victim of crime. A neighborhood where people are active and involved is always a safer, better place to live.
- While in your car, always keep the doors locked. Any time you drive through areas with frequent stoplights, stop signs, or anything that significantly reduces your speed, keep your windows up.
- At stops, leave ample maneuvering space between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- If approached by suspicious persons while stopped, do not roll down your windows.
- If you are being followed or harassed by another driver, try to find the nearest police station, hotel, or other public facility, park as close as you can, and get inside fast. Never lead the person back to your home, or stop on the road and get out.
- If another driver tries to force you to pull over or to cut you off, keep driving and try to get away. Try to note the license plate number of the car and a description of the car and driver. If this effort places you in danger, do not do it. The information is not as important as your safety.
- If you are traveling alone and a car bumps into you, do not stop in a remote location to exchange accident information. Go to the nearest service station or other public place to call the police.
- Never, ever pick up hitchhikers!
- When you park, look for a spot that offers good lighting and is close to a location where there are a lot of people. Lock valuables in the trunk, and lock all doors.
- Extra precautions are necessary when shopping. If you take packages out to lock them in your trunk, and then plan to return to the stores to do more shopping, it may be a good idea to move your car to another section of the parking lot or street. A criminal might realize you will be coming back and can wait to ambush you. By moving your car, you give the impression you are leaving.
- If you have car trouble on the road, raise your hood. If you have a radio antenna, place a handkerchief or other flag there. When people stop to help, do not get out of the car unless you know them or it is the police. Ask the Good Samaritan to stop at the nearest service station and report your problem.
- If you are in a parking lot or parked on the street and have trouble, be wary of personal assistance from strangers. Call a repair service or friend for assistance.
- If you feel threatened by the presence of nearby strangers, lock yourself in your car and blow the horn to attract the attention of others.
Sexual Assault Prevention
- Be alert. Do not assume that you are always safe. Think about your safety everywhere. Your best protection is avoiding dangerous situations.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in any situation, leave.
- Always walk, drive, and park your car in well lighted areas.
- Walk confidently at a steady pace on the side of the street facing traffic.
- Walk close to the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes, and alleys.
- Wear clothes and shoes that allow freedom of movement.
- Walk to your car with keys in your hand.
- Keep your car doors locked and never pick up hitchhikers.
- Make sure all windows and doors in your home are locked, especially if you are home alone.
- Never give the impression that you are home alone if strangers telephone or come to your door.
- If a stranger asks to use your phone, have the person wait outside while you make the call for them.
- If you come home and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry, do not go in. Go to the nearest phone and call local police.
Report Suspicious Activity
Report suspicious or unusual activity immediately by calling the Amtrak Police National Communication Center at (800) 331-0008 or by dialing 911. Do not take any further action!
Help maintain a safe rail network by joining Partners for Amtrak Safety and Security. Amtrak Police need your assistance as an extra set of eyes and ears. Register today and help protect America's Railroad.