We’ve heard about hidden cameras in hotels, changing rooms, bathrooms, and Airbnb’s and I’m the first one to say that these occurrences are extremely limited. However, I’ve also written that just because these are “limited” incidents, organizations should consider sharing information about these incidents so their travelers can be proactive in their discovery. Recently I was very surprised when a news story broke of a family finding a hidden camera in their cruise ship stateroom, which was pointed directly at their bed.
Florida Family Finds Hidden Camera on Cruise Ship
Last week, a Florida family claimed that they found a hidden video camera in their cabin during a three-night Carnival cruise from Alabama to Mexico. Here’s a link to the Miami Herald news article, which includes a link to the video that the family took when cruise ship personnel removed the camera.
The placement of this hidden camera is currently being investigated by Carnival Cruise Line and at this time it’s unknown who placed the camera behind the TV in the family’s cruise cabin. Was it placed there by a cruise ship employee, the cruise cabin room steward, or past cabin guest? Unfortunately, we even have to consider that the guest who “found” the hidden camera may have placed it there themselves for other self-serving purposes. You know my background as a police detective, we have to keep all investigative options open. I have my own ideas, but we have to wait for the results of Carnival’s investigation (If we ever learn them) before we jump to any conclusions.
Again, this is not the first time where travelers have found hidden cameras filming in private locations like bedrooms and bathrooms. Here are just a few incidents to help refresh your mind if you’ve not followed some of these cases.
Newsweek Magazine Article on Hidden Camera’s in Airbnb’s
Last week, Newsweek Magazine published an article outlining several incidents involving hidden cameras at Airbnb’s including the recent case where an Airbnb host had placed hidden cameras in covert “smoke detectors” hidden in the guest bedrooms over the beds. In this case, police found videos of guests going back several years.
A few days ago in Greenville South Carolina, a traveling nurse found a hidden camera inside the alarm clock on the nightstand next to her bed of her Airbnb. Here’s a video of this incident where the owner of the home was arrested for video voyeurism.
A male employee of a bar was arrested for placing hidden video camera “pen” in the women’s restroom where he worked. A female patron found the camera when she was using the bathroom. The woman found the video pen when it accidentally fell to the floor and then discovered it had a camera built into the pen. The male bar employee was then arrested. Here’s a video of what a camera pen looks like, as well as a video showing the quality of the video shot with the “spy pen.”
Hidden Camera in Starbuck’s Women’s Restrooms
Here’s a report of another creep who was going around London installing hidden cameras in women’s public restrooms at various restaurants and coffee shops. In the most recent case, the creep installed a hidden camera in the bathroom vent of a well known Starbucks. Thankfully a woman found the camera and the voyeur was arrested. Interesting note that they found him with a backpack that had additional hidden cameras, memory cards, and tools. Here’s a link to the report, as well as photos of the camera in the vent. This is not the first time hidden cameras were found at Starbucks, as here’s a similar another incident.
The concern is that anytime you travel, you need to be cognizant that some creep could have placed a hidden camera in a private location where you would expect privacy – be it a bathroom, hotel room, Airbnb, or now, even a cruise ship cabin.
I conduct travel safety awareness training across the county and overseas, and have yet to find someone in my audience who “did not” want to hear advice on how they can better protect themselves while on the road. I believe any organization that supports travelers, be it companies or colleges, should consider including this type of content in their traveler awareness training – when appropriate.
During my “Street-Smart Travel” presentations, I include a segment that covers hidden camera awareness, as well as how to spot them. If you’re responsible for travelers in one way or another, think about the type of content you provide them be it via email alerts, internal travel department website postings or in-person pre-departure training. Additionally, what is the depth of travel safety information you provide your travelers? Is it just cursory, or does it empowers your travelers to be proactive regarding their own safety, security, and health on the road?
If you would like to provide your travelers with more in-depth travel safety training, here’s a link to my “street smart” travel presentations or reach out to me personally.