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Higher Education –> More Likely to Steal from Hotel Rooms

Hotel TowelsIn a very strange survey from Germany, they found that those with higher education were actually more likely to steal items from hotel rooms. The devil, however, was in the details.

Of these ‘stolen’ items, 69% were actually bathroom amenities like soap, shampoo, and other hygiene products. More surprising was that 1.3 million towels were stolen. Most surprising, only 9% of thefts were committed by those with a high school education. Room telephones and televisions each represent 2% of items stolen from a room.

I don’t know, does higher education make us smarter or bolder?


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  1. Causation does not equal correlation. Perhaps the reason that people with higher education steal most items in hotels is because people with higher education are simply more likely to stay in hotels. According to this survey, if 9% of people who stay in hotels have only a high school education and 100% of them steal something then the survey would suggest that because only 9% of items are stolen by people with a high school education that they are the least likely to steal!

  2. The Daily Mail article is totally misleading, and doesn’t support the conclusion they put in the headline. Even taking the survey at face value, the conclusion is just wrong.

    The survey indicates that 53% of thefts are by people with higher education. That means that if an item is stolen, 53 out of 100 times it’s stolen by someone with a higher education. But it doesn’t say what fraction of guests have a higher education. If more than 53% of the guests have a higher education, they steal *less* often than other guests.

    Here’s a simple example. Suppose a hotel has 1000 guests, and 900 have a higher education. Suppose 1/5 of the educated guests steal, and 1/2 of the uneducated guests do. Then there are 900 / 5 or 180 thefts by educated guests, and 100 / 2 or 50 thefts by uneducated guests, for a total of 230 thefts. Now, 180 / 230 or 78% of the thefts are by educated guests, even though the educated guests are much less likely to steal!

    Bottom line: Without knowing how many guests have each level of education, you can’t say which group is more likely to steal.

    Second bottom line: Don’t trust the Daily Mail when it comes to statistics.

  3. It’s a bit disingenous to call taking toiletries “stealing” them… I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked housekeeping for extra soap/shampoo to take home because I liked what they happened to be providing. Never been turned down.

  4. Add me to the list of victims. They got my GPS and acriesocses (power cable, leather case, dash mount adapter) the night of the 11th.The worst part is that I *always* lock my vehicle doors and set the alarm, I just had my hands full that night and forgot to go back out and do it.I’ve filed a police report online with Fairfax County P.D.

  5. .Stealing doesn’t depend on the Education of the person.Sometimes its a kind of disease that should be treated. Other times one steal because he has no job to bring money to live. Although he got a high education but is forced to steal as he has no job or good money to live.

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