Back in the early 90s, I was stationed in San Diego, California with the Navy. Being an avid scuba diver, I would often take off with a buddy and do a little beach diving to photograph sea life in the kelp beds.
On one particular trip, my dive buddy and I returned to my truck after our first dive to discover the back of my truck had been broken into. All of our secondary dive equipment, dive bags, and extra tanks were stolen. I was heart broken.
So, what does this have to do with photography you may be asking. Other than the obvious, I was doing underwater photography. Actually, I learned a very valuable lesson that day. I have never forgotten the lesson and still use it to this day.
Never advertise your hobbies on your car!
In talking with the police and filing the report, one thing they pointed out was, I was advertising what I had in my truck. I had cute little bumper stickers and license plate frames telling the entire world how proud I was to be a scuba diver. It was extremely easy for the thieves to find my truck and know that I was going to be gone for about an hour.
Today, I do not put any bumper stickers or license plate frames on my vehicles advertising my hobbies. Those neat little stickers saying, “I Love Nikon” or “I Love Canon” or “I’d Rather Be Taking Pictures” just scream “Free Camera Gear”. The bad elements in the world know we usually leave extra camera gear in our cars and we tend to wander away for hours at a time.
I’ve recently read that one of the latest threats to our camera gear’s safety are thieves who, after identifying you as a photographer, will follow you until you stop at a convenience store or a local restaurant and then break-in and steal your photo gear in a matter of seconds.
Here are a few tips to make life a little more difficult for would-be thieves.
1. Do not put cute photo related bumper stickers and license plate frames on your car.
2. Do not leave your camera gear laying out in plain sight. Put the gear in your trunk, throw a jacket over the top of it, or only take enough gear that you can carry with you.
3. Keep your head on a swivel. In other words, be aware of what’s going on around you.
If you have any similar experiences or some suggestions to share, please post a comment below.