I ride Amtrak quite frequently. It’s one of my go-to ways of traveling to see family, and there’s still somewhat of a nostalgic charm every time I ride the train, even amidst the delays, crowds and hassles, of which there are many.
There’s a bit less formally when riding the train – on Amtrak, for example, you aren’t assigned a seat on most trains. So, you’re free to plop down where you like. You’re also free to visit the cafe/dining car and use the bathroom, but don’t have the luxury of really knowing that your stuff will be there when you return.
It’s simple, really. When flying, you’re stuck in a giant metal tube 30,000 feet up. If you go to use the restroom and return to find your laptop missing, there’s only so many people that could have taken it and they can only run so far, considering, well, they’ve got nowhere to go. 🙂
On the train, especially one in the Northeast corridor, or in California, it could be making multiple stops, sometimes many an hour.
An Easy Way for Thieves to Steal on a Train
Here’s what they do, and it’s rather ingenious. They wait for an unsuspecting person to use the bathroom or grab a snack from the cafe car shortly before arriving into a station along the route. As the train pulls into the station, they quickly go to work stealing the persons bags and belongings, perhaps to make it look as if it’s their own. In all honesty, if they’re seating nearby to begin with, I doubt anyone will question them grabbing any bags from the overhead rack, as they’d look like they would just belong to that person anyway. When the train rolls to a stop, they quickly exit before the person the person returns from the restroom or cafe car. Because the train will quickly pull away from the station in a matter of a minute or so, there’s very little time to react, if in fact the person has actually found out their belongings are gone. By this point, the thief is long gone, and so is your stuff.
Here’s what you need to do to protect yourself
- Don’t ever get up as a train approaches a station. Stay seated and have an eye on all of your bags.
- If it’s nighttime and you’re sleeping, if you have a bag, loop it around a leg or arm, so if someone were to grab it, they’d end up jostling you in the process. For bigger bags up on the rack, consider adding some noisy bells to the outside handle, or something else you’d hear if it was moved.
Now you know how to better protect yourself the next time you ride a train.
Do you have any other safety tips for riding a train?
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