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Dec 1, 2002, 8:29 AM

Post #1 of 7 (2161 views)


San Miguel de Allende

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Iím traveling to San Miguel de Allende from February to May. We are planing on staying at a hotel until we find an apartment of some kind. My boyfriendís a writer, but needs a computer. We have a laptop, but I was worried about theft in hotel rooms and apartments. How often does something like that happen? Does anyone bring their computer down with them? Do you leave it in the room if youíre not there? I would love some more info one this subject.



jennifer rose

Dec 1, 2002, 9:06 AM

Post #2 of 7 (2004 views)


Computer theft in hotel rooms

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When I stay in a hotel -- whether in the US or in Mexico -- I leave my laptop in the room. Yes, it's a risk. But leaving your clothing, personal effects, and your unconscious body at night is a risk, too. I tend to believe that there's less chance of risk at more costly hotels than in the kind which cater to backpackers.

There are a number of anti-theft devices, including cables and sirens, which are available for purchase.

You stand the risk of theft in apartments, houses and even your very own car. Insure, accept the risk, or take the damn computer around with you wherever yuo go, like a ball and chain.


Dec 1, 2002, 10:22 AM

Post #3 of 7 (1987 views)


Re: [jadasan] San Miguel de Allende

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We've left various electronic devices including computers in hotels and apartments throughout the US, Canada and Mexico and have never been robbed. I was beaten to a pulp in a rape attempt in the Hotel DeSoto in Savannah, Georgia, once, and there was a murder in the Bonaventure Hotel, one of the finest in downtown Los Angeles, one weekend I was there for a conference and the body was apparently carried out in suitcases, but never did I lose a computer.

I was robbed or burglarized five times in four years in Los Angeles and had a murder occur in my backyard while I was away, but never did I lose a computer.

A friend did lose an empty computer box out of the back of her pickup parked on the street in San Miguel, along with a bag of Christmas wrapping paper she'd brought back from the States and was too tired to finish unloading the truck the night she arrived.

She'd kept the box because computer companies often recommend that you keep packing materials in case you have to ship the compter back for repair. If the computer had still been in the box, yes, it would have been stolen.

I bet there are at least 5,000 computers, probably more, here in SMA, all sitting contentedly in hotels and apartments and houses. Undoubtedly a few get stolen each year. It's called life. Keep backup disks someplace else.

Carol Schmidt


Dec 1, 2002, 10:24 AM

Post #4 of 7 (1967 views)


Tipping the maids will help

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I've hauled a laptop around to download photographs, etc. and I always tip the maid, mozo, and other help, in my hotels. It helps, at least I've still got my laptop. BTW at one hotel a maid returned (50 peso reward) an expensive combo lock ($38.50) to me TWO YEARS after I left it in a room! It pays to tip in Mexico.

Pernel S Thyseldew

The Old Gringo

Dec 1, 2002, 8:45 PM

Post #5 of 7 (1951 views)


Re: [jenniferrose] Computer theft in hotel rooms

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Generally speaking, I certainly believe one is "safer" in Mexico than in similar locales in the US. Having said that, I will pass along what I learned to do from extensive travels for a "rich uncle" and the need to safeguard "sensitive" or high value property. I carried a hard-sided attache type case (mine is aluminum but any hard sided case will do) and chained it to the drain trap of the sink in the hotel bathroom. I used a case with a combination lock and a bicycle style cable and lock. You can secure your case to luggage racks or airport furniture etc. with it as well. It won't stop a serious, determined thief but certainly deters an "opportunist." And BTW, I ALWAYS locked up the case in a similar fashion in the US, where I felt the threat was more real.

What is perhaps more important, is to develop a "relationship" with the maid(s) and staff. I always ask their names and get them to tell me about themselves and their families and share some of my story with them. I am genuinely interested in talking to and meeting people wherever I go in Mexico and I don't mean to imply that I ask people their names and about their families as a subterfuge for security purposes. As always, people are very warm and friendly. Displaying warmth and friendship in return pays large dividends. Also, I always tip either in cash or a small "regalito" or both. Again, I don't mean to imply that a tip or gift is buying security, it's just a nice thing to do. As Jennifer reminds us, it's good to remember your postman on postman's day!

Any more, I don't really need to bother with the "case". The more one is assimilated into a society the more one is able to "relax" and develop a new sense of "threat" based on the culture one is living in. The old rules no longer apply. Besides, nothing says "steal me" quicker than nervously clutching a bag holding some "goody". Whatever we own, owns us too.

Mexico is such a wonderful place when one is finally able to "exhale" and relax.

For some good ideas on traveling with a laptop go to



Dec 1, 2002, 11:51 PM

Post #6 of 7 (1912 views)


Re: [The Old Gringo] Computer theft in hotel rooms

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"The Old Gringo" writes:
....I carried a hard-sided attache type case (mine is aluminum but any hard sided case will do) and chained it to the drain trap of the sink in the hotel bathroom.....

A sink drain trap would serve as very little of an obstacle for even a casual thief. Although the pipe itself is of relatively large diameter, as it's under no pressure, the trap normally held in place on each end by nothing more than compression couplers (in newer installations, they're not even metal anymore, but rather Schedule 40 PVC). These couplers will flex and give if you give the trap a hard twist or kick, allowing the briefcase to be removed from the premises and opened at the thief's leisure. Additionally, placing the briefcase on the floor of the bathroom exposes the contents to the risk of water damage (or more likely your bathroom not getting cleaned) as the standard hotel bathroom cleaning in Mexico typically includes a healthy washdown of the floor with a very wet mop and/or some splashed cleaner/water solution.

If your hotel room is so equipped, one of the best places I've found to security chain items to is the bracket used to mount a television set to a wall. They use all kinds of large bolts to connect the TV set to the bracket and the bracket to the wall in the interest of keeping the television set from going out for an adventure. In the absence of this option, the daisy chain technique, where you loop the security cable or chain through the handles of other pieces of luggage, the suitcase rack, a chair or two, and possibly a shirtsleeve or piece of underwear can be used. Unless you cut the security chain or cable itself, you've got to disassemble or break a bunch of junk, or schlep an amazing collection of chained-together items out of the hotel room.

The Old Gringo

Dec 2, 2002, 7:06 AM

Post #7 of 7 (1886 views)


Re: [ET] Computer theft in hotel rooms

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Thank you for your post. Perhaps the person seeking advice will be helped by it. I am familiar with the construction of sink drains and as I said it would be a deterence for opportunists and not stop a determined thief. I usually looked the room over for the most secure point for attachment. I never had any problems traveling through 28 Mexican states, the Balkans, the middle east etc. Perhaps I was lucky. I suspect it was at the most risk in So. Fla or worse still, Wash. DC!

Yes, water on the floor is potentially a small problem but my particular case was protected by a gasket that seals when the case is closed. The important thing is that when one has the chain/cable the possibilities become almost endless. I'm sure a resourceful person can come up with many more innovative solutions.

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