Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stealing all your eTrash!

The scene of the crime:  A parking lot located remotely from the beach, not in sight of its owners.  Easy pickings for the smash-and-grab criminal, if you leave electronics in your car.

Summer is here and the crime rate is up.  Our sleepy little town has turned into a minor "Spring Break" destination, it seems.

From the Brunswick News, recently:
A man reported someone entered his vehicle and stole a purse, a camera, a tablet computer, a E-book reader, a backpack, a GPS unit and $60 in cash Saturday. He said he and his family were at the beach when the items were stolen. Entry was gained by breaking one of the vehicle's windows. The stolen items were valued at $1,600.
Owning a lot of electronic crap is expensive.   And one problem with owning this stuff is that it gets ripped off, with regularity.  Such items are portable and easy to fence or sell.   Not carrying a lot of this stuff with you is one way to avoid losing it.

Tourist areas are particular targets for thieves - who look for cars with out-of-state plates, parked at the beach.   If you have your luggage inside and your GPS on the dashboard, well, they smash - and grab.

If you have to take this stuff with you, bring a beach bag and put it in it.  Put electronics in large ziplock bags to keep out the sand. The fellow above had a backpack stolen - guess what the thieves used to carry away the loot?  Carry it with you, if you don't want it stolen, or lock it in the trunk of your car.

Or, you could leave it at the hotel, I suppose.  From the same issue of the Brunswick News:
A man reported someone stole his tablet computer from a hotel room Saturday. He said he left the room to go to the gym, and when he returned, the computer was gone. The responding officer spoke with the female who cleaned the room. She said she cleaned the room and came back 20 minutes later to replenish the towels. She said she did not steal the computer. It was valued at $860.
If your hotel room has a safe, use that.   Otherwise, keep this stuff with you at all times.  Even a sleepy little Southern town (especially a sleepy little Southern town!) can be a haven for thieves.

One good idea, that I have been lackadaisical about, is to write down the serial numbers of all this crap.  The Police sometimes catch these folks, and if you can identify which items are yours, you might get them back - and the Police can better prosecute the criminal.

I set up a simple document in WORD and wrote down all the serial numbers of the electronic crap, bicycles, and the like and then uploaded to Google Docs - just in case the computer is stolen.

But the best idea of all is to own less electronic crap - less small stuff that can get broken, damaged, dropped, easily stolen, or otherwise create a financial loss for you.  While it may seem like you "need" all of this to get by, you'd be surprised how little you really need, for a day at the beach.