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Camera Security – Safeguarding Your Camera Gear In Vehicles  

Whether you are a professional or casual photographer, your camera or camcorder can be very valuable – be it in physical value – or the personal value of the photographs or videos the equipment contains within it.

For whatever purpose you carry photographic gear – one time or another you will end up leaving your gear in your vehicle left alone. You know you should not do it, but sometimes you don’t have a choice, or you feel you won’t be away long.

The scenario is simple, and very predictable. You place your camera under the seat of your car, in a bag on your back seat, or you may even have had the time to put it in the trunk. You may even take a few extra precautions such as covering your camera bag with an article of clothing, or some other item so it won’t stand out to the casual thief walking by looking in your car window.

But we have all heard the stories. We never thought it would happen to us. We only left our car for a few minutes while we went into Starbucks, or dashed into sidewalk café while driving through some exotic destination. As you walk back to your car – your heart sinks – you see that your window is shattered with glass lying on the ground.

After a few frantic seconds of tearing apart the inside of your car thinking the thieves did not find your camera gear you find you weren’t that lucky. You lost – they won. You now end up with that unpleasant feeling of loosing your gear, photographic memories, or work product.

You call the police, make a report, and become a statistic – Report Number 07-123441.

As a police detective, I’ve investigated a countless number of such cases just like I outlined above. The locations are usually similar. A beach or business parking lot, side street, airport or hotel parking lot, or any other countless destinations where people like us park our cars. Obviously, these types of thefts are more common around busy parking destinations (especially where tourists park). When you look at tourist destinations as a whole, almost all of them report a spike in thefts during the tourist season; however, we can be just as vulnerable when we park our car on main street, wherever we might live.

Why do thieves target parked cars?

The answer is obvious to al – thieves know that parked cars can sometimes contain a treasure trove of expensive items that can be fenced quickly. I have interviewed many car burglars who have told me that they could break into three cars and find nothing of value, but on the fourth car – bingo! – they hit the jack pot. Unfortunately that jack pot may be the time they hit your car when it is parked just for a few mins.

Many of these thieves are locals, some who operate alone, others who work in a team – some being involved in gangs, or groups who use their rewards to help pay for narcotics.

So what’s the solution?

Surely the first rule as mentioned previously is not to leave items of value in parked cars – that’s obvious – but many times unrealistic. If you had to leave your camera gear in your car, you pretty much know the drill there too – have a good, high volume alarm - park in safe, well lit, and well traveled location that has good security, visible security. But you do have other layers that your really should consider.

If you end up in situations where you are forced to leave your camera gear in your vehicle, you should consider one of several new camera security bags that have been released on the market. Some of those include the DuffelSafe 100, DaySafe 100 or 200, along with the new Console Vault.

The DuffelSafe 100 by Pac-Safe is the largest portable, camera security bag on the market today; large enough to secure several cameras, lens, and related gear in one bag. The bag is equipped with 3 anti-theft design features and multiple carrying options. The DuffelSafe features a patented eXomesh security system which is slash proof high-tensile stainless steel mesh, laminated between the inner and outer layers of the bag. This flexible steel mesh protects the bag from being slashed open by knives.

That’s only half the security. The Duffel Safe 100 locks closed using a 30mm brass padlock that prevents anything from being removed from the bag. But it’s the security locking cable that provides the best security layer. Once the bag in “cinched” shut, the bag has a built-in locking cable which allows it to be secured (physically locked) to a secure object in the trunk, or frame of your car seat. The locking cable is a heavy duty plastic coated, 4 mm high-tensile stainless steel cable. The security cable zips neatly away when not in use. This bag provides a great layer of protection for you gear, in a size that should accommodate a multitude of camera gear. For more info on the Duffel Safe 100, and other camera security bags, please check out the products listed at —
www.corporatetravelsafety.com

I do want to make one thing clear that these solutions are not 100 percent foolproof. If a thief has ample time and the right tools, he can steal anything, anywhere. However if you talk to any law enforcement detective – ask them how many times they have caught a street thief – opportunists – who have been caught with bolt cutters. Not too many. Most car burglars carry a screwdriver, a pry bar, or some other device to open a window or trunk. A thief would need a pair of bolt cutters to cut the security cable on this bag.

You can use other camera security bags too to protect your gear. The same protection is provided in the DaySafe 100 and DaySafe 200 (a larger version of the 100), which resemble day packs, but feature the same security mesh and cable locks.

Another option is the Innersafe 19L which is a unique bag in its own right. Imagine having the ability to use your own day pack, or other bag for that matter, and converting it into a mobil safe. That's what the innersafe does. As a matter of fact it is the same security safe included with the DaySafe 200. You simply slide the InnerSafe into your own bag which then provides your gear with with eXomesh protection. The bag also has the security cable that allows you to secure the bag to a stationary device.

Probably the strongest layer of security you can put in your car is a safe. Until now, the only way to put a safe in your car was to buy a steel lock box and bolt it in your trunk. A new car vault has recently been introduced into the market place. The car vault is a steel vault that is made to fit into the center console of most large trucks and SUV’s. The vault is made to fit the inside dimensions of your center console, and bolts down onto the cars steel frame. The vault is hinged with either a high security key lock, or ready to open combination lock. Depending on the model, these vaults can hold a large camera body and lens. You really have to see one of these vaults to appreciate its quality towards security.

At least by considering these items you may provide your gear a better chance of staying with you vehicle if were targeted by a car burglar.

To see a range of camera security products, including camera security straps, security bags, and other unique mobile security devices discussed in this article, see the camera security section at www.corporatetravelsafety.com.

 
 
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