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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

How do you thwart theft?
Phil Hawkins, Photographer
Fresno | ca | usa | Posted: 5:58 PM on 08.19.12
->> The thread from Greg Bartram about his incredibly unfortunate equipment theft is a sober reminder that we really have to work to reduce the threat of theft. How do you approach this issue? Please post your thoughts.

I do the following:

1) Drive a common older SUV without any photography markings at all. I see folks plastering their vehicles with company display decals and wonder what they are thinking!

2) My published address is a mailbox; no one knows where I sleep except family and very close friends. I live in a gated community at the back of the development on the second level. When I travel, I leave a light on in the living room and a radio on in the kitchen.

3) Do the common sense things; cover your equipment when you park, park in lighted areas close to normal activity. Tint your windows.

What do YOU do to keep your stuff from crime?
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 6:17 PM on 08.19.12
->> I insure my stuff then try not to worry too much about it.

... of course, all of the things you've mentioned are great too and they make total sense.
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Debra L Rothenberg, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 6:23 PM on 08.19.12
->> TOO many of our colleagues have "photo" all over their car. I was shooting last week and the photographer I was with had 2 press ID vehicles-one said photo, one just said press. I told him to get rid of the one that says photo-it makes your car a target.
IF you have to put items in your trunk, buy a lock box. A Pelican 1560 (
http://www.pelican-case.com/1560.html?gclid=CM3Yjujb9LECFYFo4Aoddx8AKQ) should do the trick-lock it up, then buy locks to lock it directly to the trunk. Can someone still steal it? They can, but it will take time! A friend has a perfect strong lock box but it is from the UK and can no longer be ordered here.

NEVER tweet or FB that you are going on vacation or even where you are-it also makes you a target. I am amazed at how many will have their home address on their Facebook page AND business cards. This just screams "I have equipment, come rob my house/car."

I know someone, a petite young woman, who is always out VERY late and tweets/instagrams every 10 minutes (I am serious) and says where she is. Why not just say "I am out late with thousands of dollars of gear and I am traveling alone, come rob me."

I take the name off of my camera bags and will put the camera away if I am taking the subway alone. If they are robbing IPhones right out of peoples hands, what makes anyone think they won't steal a camera right out of your hands.

Last week I was shooting a concert and they said we were going to be at the soundboard. Upon arrival, they told us we were in the pit-which was small-no room to bring a roller bag and stool, along with a monopod and 400mm in and out (it was 3 different musicians and a finale, so we were going in and out of the pit 4x). Several of us went to our cars to bring the big equipment back but the others kept a lookout as we put the gear back in our car. Some call me paranoid, yet I have never had anything stolen.
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 6:25 PM on 08.19.12
->> Oh, and since the topic was "thwarting theft" I will also add that when I need to park my car near a shoot, I often stop a couple of blocks away and gather my gear away from where I'll be parking. I hate the idea of someone watching me mess with my gear in the trunk and then walk away. If I have two bodies and a couple of lenses in my front seat when I arrive, then I'm less obvious as I get out and head to my shoot... and I give less clues to the goodies in the trunk.
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 7:15 PM on 08.19.12
->> A gun safe...seriously. You can go to any of the major outdoor stores and buy a gun case that your roller bags can fit into side by side as well as store any number of other bodies and lenses, along with storage drives and laptops.

You can literally have them secured to your floor/foundation, however, any would be crook trying to carry a gun safe out your door is a difficult task. This doesn't solve stuff being stolen on the road or make up for insurance, but are relatively inexpensive for what you get and what you can store safely.
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Phil Hawkins, Photographer
Fresno | ca | usa | Posted: 7:50 PM on 08.19.12
->> I teach my workshop students to take off the glaring neon lettering spelling "Canon 5D MKIII" or "Nikon D700" on the shoulder strap. Buy a generic shoulder strap. Their are a variety of them that are better than the stock Nikon or Canon straps. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?ci=283&N=4137411781+4246734082
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Richard Orr, Photographer
Longmeadow | MA | USA | Posted: 8:18 PM on 08.19.12
->> To add to Tim's post....I have a few other things in the gun safe as well.

Except 90% of my work is on college campuses, so you cannot have a gun there (at lest in MASS.)

Everything on a job is brought in the roller bag. And the bag stays within reach most of the time. In some situations I lock the back, and then lock the bag to a pole or something.

At home, I have German Shepard. Two kids. A mother in law.

No one wants to come in our house. Sometimes I don't even want to come in our house.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (12) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Greg Bartram, Photographer
Dublin | OH | | Posted: 8:30 PM on 08.19.12
->> Good thread.

I NEVER park between SUVs or vans...I prefer to park between two cars (I drive an Explorer), and I like to be tall and visible.

No vanity plates saying 'SHOOTER' or anything like that, and no magnetic signage. There's always going to be someone who reads this as 'please break into me'.

It's funny... I wasn't thinking about anything but shade when I parked the other day, because my son was in the car with me, and I didn't want him to bake when we got back to the car.

The lockbox is something I'm going to look into. It'd need to be something I could get out without too much trouble, because my car is the one we use when family's in town, since I can fold up the back space and seat more folks.

My old business card has my address on it, but my new one won't.
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Nik Habicht, Photographer
Levittown | PA | USA | Posted: 8:44 PM on 08.19.12
->> Back when I was working I drove either retired police cars with the spotlight on the A-pillar, a working scanner/antenna on the trunk, or later a 02 Tahoe that was free of any decals and had an Alarm.

In the early years, when I had a large variety of gear, I tried hard to get it ready, while still at the paper -- taking what I needed for the job up front with me, so I could get out unobtrusively. When I was driving the cop cars and parking in sketchy neighborhoods, I leave the scanner cranked with the police band selected, rather than ambulance/fire dispatch. Nobody went near the car....

Once I made the switch to digital, I pretty much had two bodies with 16-35 and 70-200 lenses attached; a belt system with batteries, 28-70, 85, teleconverters, strobe, and case for 70-200, the 300/2.8 in a long lens bag, and a non-descript bag of strobes and pocketwizards, as well as a Lowepro Stealth backpack with the computer. I could open the back of the Tahoe, and nobody would really see what there was, given the non-descript nature of the bags carrying the gear, and the large assortment of jackets, rain gear, towels, box of sunscreen, cooler, and other assorted junk acting as camouflage.

At night I'd back the truck into the garage and shut the door, before bringing the gear into the house. In the morning the reverse -- from the street it frequently looked like the opening scene of a cop or EMS show, as the garage door rises, to reveal illuminated headlights, and a rolling truck as soon as the door was up.

Just try not to stand out -- practice being the grey man, moving around unseen.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 9:09 PM on 08.19.12
->> A couple of tips from the Sports Shooter Newsletter Archives:
http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/2105
http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1791
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Marvin Gentry, Photographer
Birmingham | AL | USA | Posted: 11:05 PM on 08.19.12
->> Here is the box I have mounted in my suv.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/tractor-supply-co-reg-underbed-truck-box-36-in...
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Marvin Gentry, Photographer
Birmingham | AL | USA | Posted: 11:07 PM on 08.19.12
->> I forgot to put in my last post : think tank roller will along with laptop backpack, and another small bag
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Debra L Rothenberg, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 11:31 PM on 08.19.12
->> http://www.trainingmasters.net/acatalog/Car_Security.html

this is what a few photographers here in NYC have. I haven't had any luck in ordering this, or finding a reseller in the USA.
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Sid Hastings, Photographer, Photo Editor
St. Louis | MO | United States | Posted: 12:13 AM on 08.20.12
->> One other things for those with trunks -- if your car has a remote release from the interior of the vehicle, disconnect it, so someone who smashes your car window can't automatically get access to the trunk.
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Chris Royle, Photographer
Bournemouth | England | England | Posted: 6:50 AM on 08.20.12
->> good tread, make sure no one is following you back from a job, i carry a monopod in my hand when i can't park near a venue when i have my 400mm with me (that will hurt) and i don't have my gear at the website Registrant's address.
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Mike Burley, Photographer
Dubuque | IA | USA | Posted: 10:30 AM on 08.20.12
->> I live in Dubuque, Iowa, so I don't really have to worry too much.. but when I lived in LA/CHI I always put gear in my Pelican case sealed with 2 heavy combo locks. I used a thick bike cable to secure it to the child seat harnesses which are under plastic tabs in my trunk (which are attached to the frame of the vehicle). I'm sure you could get the gear if you really wanted to, but it'll take time - At least it'll thwart the "smash and grabs".

Most of all, just do be stupid. If you're in a rough neighborhood, wait till people walk by before you pull out your gear. Even at home, I don't display my gear to/from the car.. It always stays in my beat up old Pelican which looks like it houses an old word processor or dirty undies.
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Sid Hastings, Photographer, Photo Editor
St. Louis | MO | United States | Posted: 5:56 PM on 08.20.12
->> One more idea -- I try to always pull memory cards before walking to my car. If I'm robbed, well, I've been robbed, and the cameras are insured, but at least I have the images in my pocket....
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John Stoops, Photographer, Student/Intern
Seoul | ROK | South Korea | Posted: 12:54 AM on 08.21.12
->> Shoot Cannon.
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G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Dallas | TX | US | Posted: 3:32 PM on 08.21.12
->> A part of me would like to post some thoughts here, but knowing what I do about my relationship with karma, I'd totally be setting myself up for a break in.

That said, Sid -- nice!! I'll remember that one.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 8:13 PM on 08.21.12
->> The only REAL way to plan for, and deal with, theft is to have a plan in place to replace what is stolen. To that end everything I have is insured and scheduled at replacement cost. I am very lucky in that my wife works in insurance so each year when the renewal comes in the mail she goes through it to see what changes (there are ALWAYS changes) have been made and what we need to do to keep ourselves covered.

My truck couldn't be MORE branded short of a full on wrap job. If I'm going out to eat (before or after a job)I roll the TT with me. That's what the wheels are for, no? When coming back to the truck or car at night I carry my Bogen 681 by the foot and have BOTH sections unlocked. If I need to swing it at someone I know that it will telescope 6'. The arca mount on the mono should help with the 'thwarting'.

At home my security revolves around
http://www.sportsshooter.com/ericcanha/samson/ He is VERY protective of the freezer.... He's on a diet of 100% raw meat and he knows where it's kept...
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Jacob Langston, Photographer
Orlando | FL | | Posted: 8:23 PM on 08.21.12
->> I thwart theft by shooting with 7-year-old, broken down company equipment. I couldn't pay a thief to take this stuff.
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 11:03 PM on 08.21.12
->> Being one of a few people in a town of under 2k people with a vowel at the end of my name, some of the less bright locals got the idea that I was placed here in witness protection. My family is not in that "business", but I have made it known we know how to use the "tools". We have had some vandalism that was done by a competitor (seriously). The police chief suggested sitting out in front of my studio with an assault rifle was probably not the best option. BUT...no more vandalism.
Be smart, get insurance, make sure to offer free pix for the police & sheriff dept calenders, and be nice to your neighbors.
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Margaret Bowles, Photographer
Tampa | FL | | Posted: 9:04 AM on 08.22.12
->> As one who has had everything I owned, including $60,000 of camera equipment, stolen out of my house in a daytime break-in while I was out running errands, I insure everything with replacement value insurance. I have an ADT security system that I ALWAYS arm, even if I'm leaving for 10 minutes. I have one room that I have installed a deadbolt on the bedroom door, and I keep my equipment there. I keep back-ups of my archives in a separate location. I almost never leave gear in a car. I try to avoid walking to my car alone at night, but that's not always possible. In the end, if someone wants to get your stuff, they probably will, so insurance is essential.
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Matthew Bush, Photographer, Photo Editor
Hattiesburg | MS | USA | Posted: 10:26 AM on 08.22.12
->> Anybody missing a lot of gear in Cali ?

http://sandiego.backpage.com/ElectronicsForSale/1400-nikon-d3-system-packag...
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 10:08 PM on 08.22.12
->> Same guy and same scam that he ran on eBay about 2 years ago. Reported to eBay. Guessing his location is a military base as he was operating out of Fort Drum in New York at that time. He was difficult to trace because of this and was using a phone number on the base.

Same write up as he used then. Same pictures. Looks like he runs the same scam over and over. My only guess is that he's out of California now because he got transferred to a new base or relocated otherwise.
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Kevin M. Cox, Photographer
Galveston & Houston | TX | US | Posted: 3:41 AM on 08.23.12
->> Is anyone using something like these? Expensive, but I assume it would be pretty effective.

http://www.truckvault.com

http://pptexas.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=pptexas&Category...
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 7:37 AM on 08.23.12
->> http://images.wikia.com/deadliestfiction/images/d/df/Claymore2.jpg
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Thread Title: How do you thwart theft?
Thread Started By: Phil Hawkins
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