You have a new photo camera, you go on a photo trip far off, you join a public event, but you want to bring back an imperishable memory: Put all the aces in your hand to ensure that your photo camera will be stolen as soon as possible. It pumps adrenaline up, it helps find an excuse to purchase a new camera, it brings new life into the economy. So, here is the advice you must absolutely follow.
To start with, if your camera is not visible, it may not be stolen. Wear it high and proud. Even more when you go across a Brazilian favella or a Summer croud.
Don’t look around
It’s best to never know where you are, who’s around and what is happening. Walk with the eyes in sky and the surprise will be delighting!
Don’t hold your camera
A lash or a strap or any other link would be a very bad idea: Any hurdle impeding the flight of your photo camera could limit the possibilities of a snatch-and-grab robbery. Handle it in one hand, without any strap; It’s a surer way.
Be proud of its performance and its price
You have to admit that some robbers are not perfectly aware of the photo gear brands and models. Canon, Nikon or Sony are easy to sell by they don’t know it for sure, you must help them recognize the type of camera you have for them. I saw photographers using gaffer (or any other black scotch tape) to mask the brands, logos and model markings of their cameras. This is much too hard on the thieves! They hesitate, they are no longer sure what you have… Forget it! Even when somebody will explain that gaffer is thick enough to protect the camera body or lens against small hits or that it can help maintain the traps and openings perfectly close even in humid or dusty environments. This is for pussies! You’re a real photographer! Don’t be timid. The more expensive the camera, the more important everybody knows.
Similarly, always use the camera strap from your camera (It is littered with logos and markings that will attract even the shorter-sighted thieves: Remember that with this dwindling economy even the older thieves cannot retire).
I hesitate to propose the most effective technique (it’s normally used only by the elite of stolen photographers): Keep your photo bag half open on your shoulder. If it has a recognizable logo, it will lift hesitations from robbers willing to limit themselves to banks and trains: They just have to take the bag and run. Much more productive than stealing a single camera.
Demonstrate your purchasing power
If you go to a photo trip, you’d better bring Armani jeans, Chanel scarves, Rolex watches, and any other expensive and recognizable accessory which will confirm to the would-be thief that you certainly have both something to steal and the means to purchase it again later.
Keep your bag open
My pro advice: An open bag with hanging straps is an open invitation. Be polite and make it. It works even with shy or young thieves. Temptation will be too strong to forget.
Overall, ignore the advice of some seasoned travelers who are also ugly penny-pinchers when they tell you that they use those little plastic wires to close their bags. They are complicated to handle by a thief in a hurry and you could easily open and close them. That’s counter-productive, for sure! And remember that this would be a very bad idea for checked-in plane luggage. Remember not to use a padlock (which would be an issue for Customs) and prefer to keep expensive gear in open bags. As we are here, think twice before keeping expensive things with you. checked-in luggage has the triple advantage of being stolen, lost or totally crushed during airport handling.
Your hotel is your friend
If nothing worked in the airport, you still can ask for help in the hotel: Leave your unused equipment well visible on the bad in your hotel room. If there is even one less-than-delicate people, he will be tempted. Even a surprise visitor could take advantage of the opportunity to offload you of your new hardware already used for a couple of weeks and will provide a good reason to go and buy a new camera.
With this tips list, I sincerely hope that you will go and travel with a light mind. I will be happy to have participated to the non-commercial exchange of goods that you were trying to promote by your tourist activities. What a lovely thought just before leaving for holidays.