I have thought about gym security and how my personal belongings may be at risk and become target of thieves at large while I visit the gym for a workout. I have often visited various gyms and have witnessed a few instances which have gotten my attention.
In one instance, I was getting ready to start the workout session when I saw a guy next to me looking nervously around for something. I asked if he had lost any thing and he said someone had broken into his locker and stolen his personal belongings. I don’t know if you’ve ever lost your personal items but it is a painful and scary feeling. I helped the guy (I didn’t ask for his name feeling uncomfortable) look around for any personal items that might be his but we were unsuccessful. He finally left after his search and I never saw him again. That incident scared me and made me think about steps I need to take to protect my personal belongings at the gym and I came to the following conclusion:
1- Never bring more personal items to the gym that you need. Limit your items to the driver’s license if you're driving, car keys, membership card, locker key and maybe the phone. If you do not drive to the gym, leave the first 2 items at home. Never bring your wallet with all the items in it or any additional key (leave the extra keys in your car).
2- Choose a locker in the middle of the happening place, close to traffic and visible from the showers, the sauna or the gym itself. Never choose a locker at the most isolated location, way in the back with no traffic or visibility from the happening public areas like the showers, blow dryers, bathrooms, steam rooms, or the gym machines.
3- Chose a strong and heavy lock that’s hard to break.
In another separate instance, I saw one of the gym workers (dressed in a gym T-shirt) breaking into a locker helping the owner recover his items because he had either lost his key or had left it in the locker. It made me think about gym security again:
Does the guy with the gym uniform really work for the gym? How do I know he is not a thief with a T-shirt he bought from the gym store, and the guy pretending to be the locker owner is not his accomplice?
Now, this scenario will override the controls I suggested implementing in the first instance above. A locker with a heavy lock located in a heavy traffic area may deter an inexperienced thief but how about a sophisticated thief who dresses up in a gym uniform, pretending to be helping a patron while he is breaking into your locker? Most people would not pay attention or even suspect that he might be a thief. That’s why limiting your losses is very important because there is always a chance your items might be stolen from your gym.
So, carry only the minimum at all times, especially when you go to the health club and consider gym security controls.
If you are a gym owner, make sure you do employee background checks, teach your employees on how to detect suspicious persons and activities as well as how to follow-up on those cases, designate a special area for visitors to place they personal items, install cameras and monitor activities in the areas where personal items are placed, and inform visitors to place their items only in the designated and monitored areas for security purposes. By providing these added gym security measures to your clients, you will build a secure environment where they can lose the excess weight but never their personal items and identity.
Return to the identity theft prevention section from gym security.