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Thread: Sign: Don't leave valuables in car

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
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    Seattle
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    Sign: Don't leave valuables in car

    My "security" system, which has worked so far for 15 years of parking all over the place with camera gear inside, frequently for days at a time, is to make my car look like a pig sty. In the back of my car I keep a box filled with trash, dirty old blankets, worn-out socks, newspapers, etc., and whenever I leave something important in the car I take a couple of minutes to spread all that junk around on the seats, dashboard, and of course covering up the camera gear. I frequently throw an old tee-shirt on the top of the car too, or sticking out one of the windows. The idea is that theives are unlikely to break into every car in sight-- they choose which ones look most promising, so one that looks like a hippy trash-heap will almost always get passed over. I usually leave the car unlocked too, to save a broken window. The only "incident" I have ever had was returning to the car once the whole inside smelled like cigarette smoke. Apparently someone got in the car and had a smoke, and then left, without touching a thing.

    ~cj

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
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    266

    Sign: Don't leave valuables in car

    I do quite a bit of driving around with my equipment. That ranges from the Domke F1X ("I'm a big camera bag, STEAL ME") with Nikon 35mm and Bronica ETRS kits, 35mm's laying on the passenger seat, and three huge tool boxes in the back, to all that plus three crates of cords and tungsten lights, a Speedotron kit, enough light stands for a small Indie film, and the 8x10 in its trunk case (looks like it has to be expensive) and other misc. stuff.

    What do I do for security? Well, I'm going for a week long trip to long island next week, and here's how it goes:

    A week before the trip, move everything down to the darkroom in one corner, and take an invintory of everything from filters to lenses and cameras. Compare this with my insurance rider. All of my gear is insured under a "Photograhpic Equip." floater, which covers it for theft, damage, or loss anywhere in the US. I go through the list, whatever isn't on it gets appraised and added, and the small misc. items simply get written down and have an estimated total "misc" value added.

    In short, cameras are tools. I need them to get the job done. I'm not going to let them sit home (and be of no use) because I'm afraid of having them stolen (or losing/breaking them).

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    153

    Sign: Don't leave valuables in car

    I read somewhere on the net, but can't remember where, about a photographer who leaves a note on his windshield when parked at a trailhead. The note goes something like this:

    Joe, I got here a little early, so I'll be out target shooting. I have my high powered scope, so I'll keep an eye out for you. See you in a bit.

    Then the photog leaves a few bullets scattered on his seat for effect. He claims it works.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Aug 1998
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    76

    Sign: Don't leave valuables in car

    A relative who is a law enforcement officer for the Forest Service passed on another tip to preclude break-ins and theft: Don't leave coolers is plain sight. It seems that some of the younger criminals will go to any lengths to get free beer.

    If you must keep camera gear in your vehicle, make it as inaccessable as possible by placing items in the trunk/cargo area surrounded by items of lesser value. Most break-ins are of a smash and grab nature -- the perp usually doesn't want to spend much time around the crime scene.

  5. #15

    Sign: Don't leave valuables in car

    One possible approach is to disguise the camera cases and make them unappealing to would be thieves.

    I know someone who stencils "Contaminated Urine Samples" in red on his cases. So far he hasn't had anything stolen. He has been questioned when carrying the case onto airplanes, though.

    I carry Readyload film in the tall .50 caliber ammo cans, painted white. A while back, someone peeked in the back of my car and commented that no one would ever break into a car with three tall cans full of ammo in the back, for fear that the crazed gun nut might be just around the corner and headed back. I didn't mention the three cans were full of film.

  6. #16

    Sign: Don't leave valuables in car

    Ouch! Some painful stories above! Bob, you have my sympathy. I am concerned too when I travel to places where there is a high risk. Renting a car is the worst scenario. Otherwise, I have doubled my mini van's windows with sun shield so that it is almost impossible to see what is in there. It is also a good protection against heat. I never unpack my gear before a hike when there are suspect people around, I avoid aluminum cases and have my gear in gray Tenba bags, they look like hiking rucksacks. I also leave my sleeping bag, nat and some blankets to "cover" the photo gear and protect them from sight and from sunlight. The specific insurances for camera equipment are very expensive if you want to have it insured all year round. What I did was have an extension to my home insurance as well as to my car's insurance to cover a certain amount of stolen equipment, but barely half of the total value of the gear I have with me. For the rest, I tie and I send a little prayer to heaven when my mind is not at rest!

  7. #17
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Jul 1998
    Posts
    3,692

    Sign: Don't leave valuables in car

    "My "security" system, which has worked so far for 15 years of parking all over the place with camera gear inside, frequently for days at a time, is to make my car look like a pig sty. In the back of my car I keep a box filled with trash, dirty old blankets, worn-out socks, newspapers, etc.,"

    Chris - you keep that stuff in it's own special box? I guess I have a special box for it all too - it's called a Toyota Corolla.....
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  8. #18
    tim atherton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1998
    Posts
    3,692

    Sign: Don't leave valuables in car

    "A week before the trip, move everything down to the darkroom in one corner, and take an invintory of everything from filters to lenses and cameras. Compare this with my insurance rider. All of my gear is insured under a "Photograhpic Equip." floater, which covers it for theft, damage, or loss anywhere in the US. I go through the list, whatever isn't on it gets appraised and added, and the small misc. items simply get written down and have an estimated total "misc" value added.

    In short, cameras are tools. I need them to get the job done. I'm not going to let them sit home (and be of no use) because I'm afraid of having them stolen (or losing/breaking them)."

    Jason, is that a rider/floater on your home insurance or business insurance?

    I've found trying to get that kind of coverage for business/professional use is basically exhorbitantly expensive (thought the insurance market seems a lot more competitive in the US than Canada)
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  9. #19
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Rio Rancho, NM
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    4,889

    Sign: Don't leave valuables in car

    Window signs I'd like to see:

    1. "When opening door, be prepared to meet Hugger, the watch-python."

    2. "Caution: Sniper on duty." (multiple NRA stickers on the car, and loose .50 cal rounds on the seat would help)

    3. "Smile. The first picture of you transmitted to police via satellite phone was far too serious."

  10. #20

    Sign: Don't leave valuables in car

    When i first read those signs I too wondered who was watching and waiting to steal me blind. After 25 years+ of parking at trailheads i have seen one auto broke into: some hapless bowhunter left his spare bow in the rack of his pickup and somebidy smashed the window to get to it and bear in mind that this was aparking area just off the main hwy. That said I think you'll find the further you are from a main road the safer you will be. Its just too much trouble to spend an hour driving down a back road to MAYBE? score. The pickings in NP parking lots closer to the road are much better and more sellable. Those who comit crimes at the remote trailheads are often local young folks with nothing better to do. I would be much more worried about leaving somthing in my car in downtown Honolulu( my F3 was ripped off) than a trailhead. Check you car insurance, my homeowners actually covered me while in Hawaii!!

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