Stealing at conventions has become so prevalent that organizers are starting to take notice and fight back. However, they can do little to stem the tide of pilfering if the con-goers themselves refuse to take responsibility for their own property.
Don’t want to be the next victim of theft at your favorite convention? Here are five tips:
Attach a wrist or neck strap to your digital camera.
One of the items that are most often lost or stolen at conventions are digital cameras — whether they are cheap and cheerful point-and-shoot affairs or professional equipment that are worth as much as a small car. Keeping your stuff on you can be as simple as attaching a wrist or neck strap to your camera’s purpose-built attachment hole, so that you don’t lose it in the crowd even if it slips from your hands.
Once a strap is in place, you also have to train yourself into taking pics with it still attached to your body. After all — what would be the point of the strap if you didn’t use it anyway?
Own multiple mobile phones? Bring just one, and make it the cheapest.
Many of us carry more than one mobile phone on a daily basis, to make sure we are easy to contact wherever we are. However, at intensely crowded events like anime conventions, carrying multiply mobile phones can become more of a liability rather than an asset.
Instead of bringing your iPhone or your Blackberry to the con, swap out the SIM card and bring your old Nokia 3310 instead. You will still be able to contact your friends via calls or texts, and your phone will be ignored by thieves because it is old and not worth much on the black market.
Do not carry your stuff in purpose-built bags, such as laptop carriers or camera totes.
Purpose-built bags will protect your stuff during transport, but it will also advertise to thieves of what you have in your possession. For example — what do you assume if you saw someone with a Belkin backpack or a Crumpler messenger bag? Exactly — a laptop owner or a camera enthusiast, with some really expensive toys worth stealing.
It’s better to stow your stuff in neoprene sleeves and stuff them inside a regular bag. They will still be protected from bumps and bruises, and will fly under the radar of most thieves.
Buy a laptop cable if you plan to exhibit or demo with it at your booth.
If you often man booths at anime conventions, chances are you will be bringing a laptop along with your wares. To prevent your equipment from being carried off by thieves, always register it with the convention staff.
As an additional safety precaution, have the unit bolted to your exhibitors’ table with a cable lock. They are easy to find at hardware and gadget stores, and will save you from a lot of headaches when somebody’s itchy hands lands on your laptop.
Don’t bring anything you aren’t prepared to lose.
Just like traveling overseas, don’t bring your stuff to anime convention if you’re not prepared to lose it. Seriously, do you really need to bring your brand new iPad even if you don’t need it, just to show it off? If there is no point, don’t bring it. Thieves cannot steal stuff you do not have.