Crime Trends

Common Hotel Scam

Common Hotel Scam 585 391 Greg Ellifritz

If you ever stay in hotels, you should read this short article.  This is an extremely common scam.  I’ve responded to complaints of this happening more than a few times in my police career.  Interestingly enough, this scam is probably more common in the USA than in foreign countries.  Many locals in foreign countries don’t have the English language skills to pull this one off.


Be especially alert for calls like this in the early morning (4am-6am).  That’s when I’ve seen this scam happen most often.  People are drowsy and less aware when they have just been awakened from a sound sleep.

Two Great Travel Scam References

Two Great Travel Scam References 746 382 Greg Ellifritz

In doing research for my future book on travel scams, I recently came across these two excellent resources.  Together, they provide a solid education to keep you from falling from the most common travel swindles.



How To Spot Signs of Being Scammed While Traveling



The video below focuses on Barcelona, but you’ll see the same scams all over Europe and most of the rest of the world as well.


Barcelona SCAMS: Tips For Avoiding Crime and Pickpockets in Spain.


Violent Airplane Passenger- When to Get Involved

Violent Airplane Passenger- When to Get Involved 240 135 Greg Ellifritz

Recent news has been full of stories about violent and out of control airline passengers.  It’s fairly common.  People get nervous about flying.  They often use alcohol and drugs to self medicate.  On my flight home from a training class last Monday, there was a passenger in first class (a white male in his mid 60s) who was so drunk he actually fell down on the jet bridge getting off the plane.


Other passengers become irate with crowded airports, regular delays, cancelled flights, and mask mandates.  They lose their shit and attack passengers and crew.


Take a look at the article below about the passenger trying to open the door and breach the cockpit in flight.  The airline crew beat him over the head with a coffee pot until fellow passengers restrained him.


Emergency Landing After American Airlines Crewmember Hit Erratic Passenger With Coffee Pot


What would you do if you were on the flight described above?


For me, I’m not getting involved if a passenger attacks another passenger or a crew member.  If I am attacked, I’m going to fight.  If the cockpit is attacked, I will fight.

I’m especially worried about the cockpit attack.  If the attacker crashes the plane, we all die.  I also worry that an armed pilot will fire on the attacker.  Where is his backstop?  That’s right, his backstop is all of us riding in the plane.  Less than ideal.  I’ll beat someone’s ass to prevent being hit by a miss or pass through bullet the pilot fires.

Is Mexico Safe for Tourists?

Is Mexico Safe for Tourists? 399 297 Greg Ellifritz

I really like Mexico.  I’ve visited more than 20 times and lived there for a couple months last year.  One of the most common questions I get from my readers is about the tourist safety amid cartel shootouts and hits.

My general assertion has always been that tourists are quite safe in Mexico as long as they stay away from drugs and hookers.


Last week two Canadian tourists were killed near Playa del Carmen. It made me question my advice.


Nope. These weren’t tourists. They were drug dealers and the cartel put a hit out on them.  Read the link below.



You are likely in less danger as a tourist in Mexico than you are walking around your own home town.


Terrorism and Travel

Terrorism and Travel 787 218 Greg Ellifritz

This link provides an important batch of resources for researching terrorism trends in other countries. I find much of the information provided by the US government to be fear mongering.


I don’t pay too much attention to the US State Department Travel Warnings. I find that similar warnings from the governments of Australia and Great Britain to be far more accurate.


“Terrorism kills more people than sharks, but it still doesn’t kill many: your odds are 1 in 25 million worldwide (in the US, it’s even less likely). When you travel, it’s far more likely (1 in 5,862 in the US) that you’ll die in a plane crash than you will in an act of terrorism.”


Everything you need to know about terrorism and travel

Understanding the Kidnapping Business

Understanding the Kidnapping Business 300 200 Greg Ellifritz

When I teach travel safety classes, I always get lots of questions about kidnappings.  One must be alert to the possibility, but there are lots of tactics that you can employ to reduce your risk.  I have an entire chapter on the topic in Choose Adventure: Safe Travel in Dangerous Places.



In addition to the mitigation tactics I describe in my book, I also find it helpful to understand how kidnappers get paid and their general business structure.  The article linked below provides some fascinating insight.


Kidnapping for ransom works like a market. How it is organized is surprising.


Latin American ATM Scams/Thefts

Latin American ATM Scams/Thefts 1920 2560 Greg Ellifritz

In my book Choose Adventure: Safe Travels in Dangerous Places, I cautioned tourists to avoid “helpful” locals at the ATM machine and to shield the keypad from view while you are entering your PIN number.  Watch this short video to see real-life examples of ATM scams and thefts.  It’s very well done and you can see how smooth many of these criminals are.


Watch Out for Scammers at the ATMs in Mexico


Checkpoint Bribery

Checkpoint Bribery 630 418 Greg Ellifritz

While I don’t think this is a good plan in our current policing culture (it will likely get you arrested anywhere you try it in the USA), I have used some of these techniques in foreign countries where I’ve traveled. It’s good to have information like this “just in case.”


How to Bribe at Checkpoints – Prepper Negotiation Skills



Thoughts on Kidnapping

Thoughts on Kidnapping 500 253 Greg Ellifritz

This guy is a security specialist in Mexico. He has a very good perspective about the violence that occurs in third world countries and how travelers can better protect themselves. Here are some of his thoughts about kidnappings.

Most Dangerous Countries for American Tourists

Most Dangerous Countries for American Tourists 700 633 Greg Ellifritz


A deep dive into the statistics about total tourist deaths, tourist deaths per capita, and how US government travel warnings don’t often tell the whole story about which countries are “safe” to visit.


For what it’s worth, I’ve traveled extensively in 15 of the top 25 countries where American tourists most commonly get killed.  I am obviously still alive.  Most of these countries are no more dangerous than any big city in the USA, some are much safer.  As a tourist, you are far more likely to die in a car crash than be killed by a terrorist or criminal.


The most dangerous countries for American tourists, ranked