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Old Dec 25, 2011, 2:43 AM   #1
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Default Carrying a camera in a high theft area

Advice to tourists about my next destination includes things like:
- Don't carry any bag or case that looks like it contains money or valuables.
- Don't use a one strap shoulder bag, i.e. messenger bag or purse, because if the backrider on a passing motorbike grabs it you'll probably be pulled to the ground.
- Anything that dangles from your belt is a target. It can be cut off faster then you thought possible.
etc., etc.

The location has a well deserved reputation for petty theft but many visit without being victims. Still, what's a DSLR toting tourist to do? Fallback position is to bring only my Canon S95, carrying it in a pocket accessible only from the inside of a garment. My DSLR has spoiled me, I wouldn't want to take that step backwards.

Then I realized bags that dangle or hang are easy to steal because they and their attachment points are visible. What if I go the the Big & Fat Men's store and buy a tent in the shape of a shirt. Have it altered so it won't fall off me. Carry my camera or messenger bag under the shirt. Sure it would look goofy as hell and slow down access to the camera. But I think thieves look for low hanging fruit and would pass me by. (or, yikes, rise to the challenge ;-)

Obviously the first line of defense is to pay attention to my surroundings, watch for people who are moving in relation to me and let them know when I've spotted them and keep the bag on the side away from traffic. I know how to do that. Wondering what else I can do.
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Old Dec 25, 2011, 5:16 AM   #2
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Keep your valueables between you and a companion. That makes them harder to get at.

You can't make yourself invulnerable to that kind of thing. All you can do is make youself less vulnerable than the others around you.
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Old Dec 25, 2011, 6:15 AM   #3
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You don't need to outrun the tiger, just need to outrun everybody else
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Old Dec 25, 2011, 9:36 AM   #4
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You don't need to make one yourself -- these kinds of things are available commercially. They are called "photographer's vests" and are very handy in all sorts of circumstances.
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Old Dec 25, 2011, 11:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrderek View Post
You don't need to outrun the tiger, just need to outrun everybody else
Actually, you only need to outrun one other person.

The more "target rich" the environment, and the less vulnerable you are, the greater your chances of escaping unscathed.
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Old Dec 25, 2011, 11:20 AM   #6
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An aquaintence of mine confessed that he used to fund his drug habit by hanging out in the Mens Room at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. He would wait a minute or so as a man stood at a urinal, then simply walk up behind him, take his wallet, and run away. He quickly learned that his victims would remain standing at the urinal as they cursed him, so he didn't need to run. He became so emboldened by his successes that he took to reaching under stall doors and stealing trousers, so he could even get the loose change out of the pockets, and still, no one ever chased after him.

You are most vulnerable when you don't know you're vulnerable.

Merry Christmas.
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Old Dec 25, 2011, 9:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tclune View Post
You don't need to make one yourself -- these kinds of things are available commercially. They are called "photographer's vests" and are very handy in all sorts of circumstances.
I've seen vests with internal security pockets but none designed to be worn over a DSLR hanging by the next strap. Seems that the vest would be so large that when it wasn't over the camera the cargo's weight would make it shift and swing every time the wearer moved. That's a recipe for a lens in a vest pocket to knock against something.

Besides, a photographers vest is a sign saying one is carrying small, easily resold valuables.
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