Question about getting your gear/money stolen
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Dec 9, 2012 2:45 AM Last Post By: christopher_has...
Aug 7, 2012 3:44 AM
Question about getting your gear/money stolenHi all,
We are off next month to Kenya & Tanzania for an organised safari with a driver/s. I'd like to know how common it is for your gear or money to get stolen from you, not from a robbery, but from either your driver or hotel staff sneaking into your room, that sort of thing?
I've had it once before (not in Kenya) where I'm sure my driver stole from me, and I have two sets of friends that were in Kenya last year and they believe their driver stole items from their backpacks when they weren't looking.
Is this a common occurance? How to prevent it from happening? Obviously keep valuables with you at all times, but it doesn't seem so cool to say to the driver up front, that if anything goes missing, it will be him that will be the chief suspect.
Aug 7, 2012 4:26 AM
1Petty theft does happen in Kenya but it's not that common as people are very religious. I never had any problem when staying in hotels or travelling with a guide.
Violent theft (car jacking, theft at gunpoints) does happen, which is why it's important to abide by the security rules.
Aug 7, 2012 8:29 AM
2Not sure about that, catw, I've seen quite a lot of petty theft in Kenya!
You can prevent anyone using a spare key to get into your room by using your own padlock on the door. If you have a combination padlock, no need to worry about losing the key.
I'm not sure about how to stop your driver nicking stuff as I've never had a need for a private driver. I travel by public transport and never had anything go missing, but presumably if your luggage is in the car, you'll also be inside it at the same time (moving from one place to another rather than just out on a day trip?).
However, don't leave valuables lying around on the seats and keep car windows closed in towns, to avoid anything being snatched through the window when in slow moving traffic.
Aug 7, 2012 3:25 PM
Aug 8, 2012 12:07 AM
4There are small thieves but if they are caught, they may get beaten to death by passers-by before the police can arrest them. Theft is frown upon in Kenya, it's a social shame to have someone in your family who stole something, because of the deep religiosity in the population. There are definitely pickpocjets here and there, but theft in hotels or by guides is not something common because people know they risk being identified and being arrested - the matter is taken seriously by the police.
However there're also armed thieves, and these ones are really dangerous as the population cannot act against them.
Aug 8, 2012 3:47 PM
5I have several friends who agree that theft is more likely in a big hotel. I don't have the budget for those places - I stay in small, family-run guesthouses and have never lost so much as a safety pin. I think it comes down to a few logical factors. First, serious thieves will try to get jobs at hotels with high-value guests as there is more to steal. Secondly, there are many staff in a big hotel who might gain entry to your room, as opposed to just one or two in a guesthouse. Thirdly, the confusion during the changing of work shifts in the big hotels gives thieves a chance to cover their tracks. They might blame the previous shift, or the following one. And fourthly, there is quite a lot of collusion at the big hotels, so the people at the desk may only pretend to help you.
Safe deposit boxes seem to be a major problem for tourists. You only have to read the Kenya hotel reviews on TripAdvisor and you will come across many sad stories.
Small hotels are less likely to steal from you because if you call the police they will immediately know that it is one or two potential suspects.
Good advice from kaz by the way.
Aug 12, 2012 11:28 PM
6Lets leave “Kenya” or “Africa” out of the converstaion and just look at the world in general. Leave valuables (money, camera, iPad, Iphon etc) laying around and if you are not careful, it could grow legs and walk away. My wife and I have lived in Ethiopia for a number of years and always been careful about stuff and never had anyting stolen here. A couple of years ago we were home in the states and must have relaxed a bit. My wife’s purse was stolen while she was shopping. The store video caught the incident and eventually the person was caught. She was looking at items on the shelf and while she was a few feet away from her cart and had her back turned a person took the purse and kept on moving. The moral of the story is you need to be careful whether you are in Africa or the US.
Nov 11, 2012 4:22 AM
7I stayed last month at a hotel in mtwapa, Kenya. once, I probably neglected to lock my room...came back in half an hour and my luggage was stolen. i'm certain it was the staff...I had friends who came over who always knew that several people were always questioning them when they came in; and the room was on the second floor, past the registration desk, past several guys who worked at the hotel who always seemed to be around the entrance.
the week before, when I checked into the hotel, I asked the woman at registration if she could store my valuables. she said nervously: you have valuables?? yeah, like my passport, a little bit of money. she was one of the honest ones.
the reason she was nervous was that the week before, another tourist had said to the registration person, can you keep my valuables, and apparently that employee took that idea personally, and ran off with the valuables, leaving the job behind.
I stored my valuables with the owner of the hotel; but lost some things in my luggage that were personally quite valuable. the owner offered me two beers as compensation, lol.
that's why i'm reading this thread: I'm going to cuba next, and last time I stayed at a casa particular, little stuff got stolen, so I was looking for advice.
if you search: 'stolen hotel' you see that this kind of thing happens everywhere. and as I told the hotel owner, three weeks before Kenya, I was in san Francisco on my way home from my nursing job, and stopped to help a seriously injured person...my bicycle got stolen while that was happening, even though someone was trying to take care of it for me. and I live with a big group of students nearby in Oakland, ca; stuff that has been stolen from this group house include laptops, bicycles, ipod, phone, even a coffee maker.
there are thieves all over the world, not just in developing countries.
it hurts to get stuff stolen. but it happens everywere.
the only advice I have is to keep atm cards, several accounts with cards in different places, one with you and one stored...and don't keep much cash. but that doesn''t help in out of the way places with few atms...I also have a pocket sewn into my shoe that holds about 5 bills. and a money belt. after I got my luggage stolen, and later got my stuff out of the owners safe, I kept my money, iphone, passport, on a money belt that I even slept with for the rest of my trip.
Nov 11, 2012 8:46 AM
8Sorry to hear about that. It sounds like another inside job. For the benefit of those still in Kenya, the risk of theft decreases when the hotel is smaller. The smallest guest houses, though they may not look as inviting, have fewer people who could gain access to your room, and when only a few people work there (often from the same family) they know it would be easy for the police to track them down, and they behave accordingly.
The serious thieves get jobs at the top-end places. Don't be falsely reassured by ultramodern buildings, strong looking locks or card swipe systems. Those won't stop the insiders who will gain access anyway.
One tip you didn't mention: When arriving in your room it is actually a good idea to unpack your luggage and spread it around the room. That makes it harder for someone to take all your belongings in a quick snatch. Your advice about valuables is good though.
Being in Mtwapa didn't help your chances either. It is a very transient place - it is the busiest red light district in Kenya after all (not implying that was the reason you were there though). On top of that, it is a real black spot for drug abuse, and just like San Francisco, the proceeds of theft often go to support habits.
Dec 9, 2012 12:43 AM
9In defense of big hotels in kenya it's not always true that big time crooks work there. I've stayed at some quite nice places in Mombassa, Malindi, Samburu, and Mara area and not once had problems with things being taken. Of course as a rule of the thumb we made sure we didn't flaunt stuff around and always kept things like cameras, phones, cash and credit cards and so on on our person. Whatever we felt was not safe we kept with the reception. So far though we've been lucky. I think it all boils down to how careful and smart you are about what you leave behind.
Dec 9, 2012 1:41 AM
10Some years ago, I stayed in a budget hotel in Dar es Salaam for one month, stayed inside quite a lot since I was doing writing and twice another hotel guest (a middleaged white man, a young white girl) tried to enter my room. It is so much easier to blame Africans.
Dec 9, 2012 2:45 AM
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