Earlier in the year, we talked a bit about Lenstag, the online database website where you can register the serial numbers of your camera bodies and lenses. The idea behind this is that in the unfortunate event that someone steals your gear and try to resell it elsewhere, a potential buyer can look up the serial number to see if that item is indeed a stolen item. The serial numbers are also added into Google Search, so the buyer doesn’t even have to go into Lenstag’s website.
Lenstag recently release an intriguing infographic that shows which gear are most sought after by thieves and which places are the most popular targets for theft.
Most Popular Location for Gear Theft
Whether it is from being careless and leaving your camera bag in plain sight in the backseat or forgetting to lock your car, 29% of gear theft occurs when your gear is in your car.
So how do you protect your gear in your car? First of all, it goes without saying that you should leave your camera bag in the trunk whenever possible. Gear that is just sitting in your front or back seat in public view is asking for trouble. If you can, try to also park close to your shooting location or at least in an area with busy foot traffic. The more onlookers walk by your car, the less likely that a thief will try to break into your car.
As we mentioned in our article on how to protect your gear from theft, it is also a good idea to have either a motion alarm like the Tool Guard or a GPS tracking system like the PocketFinder in your camera bag for those time when you do have to leave your camera bag in your car.
At 25%, the house is surprisingly the second-most popular location for gear theft. When it comes to high-dollar electronics, camera and lenses are some of the easiest to pick up and leave with. There are of course many safety precautions that you can take whenever you leave your house, from alarm system to double checking the entry points of your house.
If your camera bag has the GPS tracking device that we mentioned before, it can help the police department track down your stolen gear. Additionally, using a serial tracking service like Lenstag can also help you and the police find your gear.
Most Stolen Camera Bodies and Lenses
Although you may think that full-frame DSLRs would take the top spots for most stolen DSLRs, the top three are actually mid-range to advanced APS-C DSLRs:
Although the most popular bodies are all mid-level DSLRs, the most stolen lenses are all high end, professional Canon L lenses:
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
- Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Standard Zoom Lens
- Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM Lens
The Lenstag Stolen Gear Infographic
What Else You Can Do
Having your gear stolen can be a very costly disaster, especially if your livelihood depends on your gear. There are some actions steps that you should take to minimize the financial damage. The first is to make sure you insure your gear. Whether it is through a dedicated photography insurance company (I use APA Insurance) or your homeowner’s insurance, having insurance means that your bank account doesn’t have to take a massive hit in order to replace the stolen items.
The second is to register your gear on the manufacturer’s website and on serial tracking websites such as Lenstag.
Finally, whenever possible, keep your gear in front of you where you can see it. Earlier in the year, we posted an article about a thief who walked away with a Pelican case containing $6,000 worth of camera equipment during a wedding ceremony. The wedding photographer placed the case at the back of the ceremony and was shooting in front of the ceremony by the altar.
Luckily, the videographer caught the act on tape, as you can see at the end of this video clip. The police did eventually track down the stolen gear and arrested the perpetrator.
So in the end, mind your gear when it’s in sight and when it’s stored away. It’s not as hard as you think for someone to just walk away with your bag.
To learn more tips, check out our article on how to protect your gear from theft.