Ex-'Zip It' A
Date Added: Jan. 23, 2005
For many, traveling is a fun adventure. For others, though, it is a stressful ordeal rife with risks and threats. Fears that packing our essential items in suitcases opens us up to thieves and other threats are common and understandable. This chain letter warning, complete with photos, plays on that fear. While it points our a real security issue to beware of, it misses several bigger points.
FOR YOUR PRE-CAUTION!!!
Please use "clam shell" luggages... luggage with zipper are not good enough....
see the attached picture and you know why...
just using a pen or any pointed tools... one can easily open your luggage...
What the chain letter and photographs above portray is basically correct - certain types of suitcases can, even if locked, be opened by using a pointed object to separate the zipper's teeth.
A zipper is, in essence, a strip of interlocking teeth, each with either a hook or a hollow. When the zipper's slide is moved along the strip, a wedge forces the hooks on one side into the hollows on the other. Reversing the slide pries the hooks out of the hollows.
On a well-made zipper, the interlocking teeth are very secure and can be released only using the slide. But in cheaper zippers, a pointed object inserted into the teeth could pry them apart. In general, zippers with metal teeth are more secure than plastic teeth. The suitcase shown above has metal slides, but a plastic zipper strip, making it more prone to being released in the manner described than an all-metal zipper would be.
A hard-sided, or "clam-shell" style suitcase that uses a metal latch and lock system would be more secure, since there's no zipper to pry apart. A hard-side suitcase also would protect you from another, somewhat more believable threat a soft-side suitcase is susceptible to. A thief who really wanted to get into a suitcase like the one above could just as easily do so with a knife. Such an approach would be quicker and easier.
However, I believe the point the author of the above was trying to make was that, even within a secure airport where knives and other sharp objects are carefully guarded against, a thief could still nab your stuff using a simple ink pen. Again, this is basically true.
However, there's a bigger security risk being depicted above than soft-sided luggage. The final photo shows the would-be thief extracting a handful of credit cards and a cell phone from the case. Security experts recommend strongly against packing items like credit cards, IDs, cell phones and other electronics in a bag you do not intend to have within your control the entire time you travel. Such items should never be checked as luggage at an airport or left within access of hotel/motel staff. If you can't carry them with you all the time, don't take them.
Not even clam-shell luggage can protect your valuable items from thieves if you're careless. Break this chain.