Someone Stole My DJ Equipment! How Do You Keep Yours Safe? (6 Lessons I’ve Learned)
Actually no one really did steal my DJ equipment, well it’s happened to me before, but not recently. The above photo was given to me by a DJ who had a laptop stolen from his car in the last few weeks and he allowed me to use it so I can write my next blog on theft prevention habits and techniques and hopefully teach others some lessons I’ve learned over the years. As a matter of fact, this did actually happen to me before, someone smashed the back window of my car, unlocked it from the inside and stole my laptop. When I called the insurance company they told me that they don’t insure laptops being left it cars because it is so common that they just don’t go there, so that’s golden rule number one, never leave a laptop in your car. So in this next blog I am going to teach you a some important lessons and practices that I’ve learned or habits that I have developed over the years about how to keep your DJ equipment safe from potential thieves and greatly minimize the chance of having your DJ equipment stolen.
Lesson 1. Never leave your laptop in the car, not even for one minute
So I’m going to talk about golden rule number one, it should go without saying but I guess until you get stung you never know but laptops are like eye candy for thieves and that’s why insurance companies don’t go there. They are small, easy to carry and often worth a lot of money which makes them highly likely candidates for being stolen. Mine was actually stolen from my car overnight whilst staying at my girlfriends house. I know how it is, you finish DJing at 1 in the morning, you are tired and don’t have the energy to take all your gear inside. Although recommended to take it all in, you don’t have to, no one’s going to run off with a 25kg speaker on their shoulders in a hurry but a laptop, yes they will. What you can do is take the laptop inside the house, and put a black table cloth to cover all the other equipment in your car so it’s hard to see at night, or fit whatever else you can in the boot of the car where it’s out of site. Now if you are going straight from your DJ gig to a friends party or a night club and you will be parking in a public space at 2 in the morning, then at least put your laptop in the boot of the car where it is not visible and put all equipment down on the floor of the car and cover it up.
Lesson 2. When you get home after a DJ gig take all the gear inside the house
Now I know I said in the last lesson that if you are really tired, at least take the laptop in the house, but if you want to be really safe you should take ALL the gear in the house, garage or wherever you store your equipment. Don’t be lazy. Your DJ equipment is your lively hood, it’s how you make an income and I’m sure you put all your hard earned savings into buying the best equipment around so you should bite your tongue, put your head down and just pack the gear away where it should be, out of the car.
Lesson 3. If you must leave it in the car, then at least park your car in the drive way
Once again, i’m going back on the last lesson saying that you should not be lazy and take the gear inside the house or garage, but if you are really stuffed and have no energy, then the next best thing is to put the car in the drive way, or if you have no driveway then park it under a street light where it can easily be seen if your car alarm goes off or you hear any strange noises. And as for your laptop, that rule has no exceptions, you always take that inside.
Lesson 4. Don’t tell many people where you store your equipment
This one also seems like a no brainer but some people just can’t keep their mouths shut. I gotta say that one of the most common ways thieves know who to steal from is by hearing through the grape vine that you have some equipment stored in a particular place. You should really keep this type of information on the down low because it’s a sad world out there and once this info gets in the wrong hands, you can bet that someone will be plotting to steal your equipment. I’ll tell you a quick little story about when I was a kid, I had my BMX bike stolen from my drive way. No I didn’t lock it away but the thing is I lived in court and we had very little people pass by my house and it was a safe neighborhood. Yeah, well one day, after putting all my pocket money into this BMX and buying a cool chrome frame, and all the accessories, one day it just disappeared from my drive way. I was gutted, who would do such a thing? I’ve left things outside my house all my life and never had anything stolen and then I put together this BMX and someone just steals it from me. Well it wasn’t too long before I put two and two together and realised that a friend of a friend who actually wasn’t really my friend was the likely candidate, he was one of the few people that knew where I left it. So I learned two lessons from that one, one is that don’t trust anyone except close friends, especially a friend of a friend who doesn’t really know or care about you, and two, don’t let people you don’t know too well where you store all your valuable equipment or one day you will come home and it will all be gone.
Lesson 5. When you are packing up your equipment, pack it first, move it to one side of the room, away from where you were setup and away from the door, before you take it to the car
So you just finished DJing a party and no one seems to wanna go home, people are all very drunk and still talking among each other like the music never stopped. Now I don’t want you to be cynical but anyone in the room could take your equipment, most of them are intoxicated and probably won’t think 2 seconds about it so this is what I do. Once I have packed a piece of equipment, I move it a few meters away from where my equipment was, somewhere away from the door. All you have to do is turn your back for one second and the clown of the party who wants to impress his friends will grab one of your lights or the laptop and take it out the door with him. So make sure you pack it away from the doorway, and also packing it separately from the area that you were setup helps you see if you left anything behind as once you are finished, the area you were setup should be totally empty. I’ve had DJs working for me totally forget to bring UV lights and smoke machines home and I was like, ‘How on earth did you do that?’, they just didn’t even notice til they got home and the party was miles away so it was a pain to go back and get it. When you pack it from where you were, to a new spot a few meters away, you can see what is packed and ready to go and once it’s all ready to go, and what’s not. Another bonus is, then it’s easy to delegate some tasks some helpful guests to help you carry an item or two over to the car.
Lesson 6. Lock the car between trips when loading/packing the car
This one’s another no brainer but I’m gonna point it out just in case you are one of this trustful, naive people who thinks that no one would ever steal your equipment. Each time you pack a piece of equipment to the car, once again, don’t be lazy and lock the car when you go back to get the next piece of equipment. You’ve got a room full of intoxicated people pouring out of the venue and all it takes is one low life clown to open your car and take whatever he wants. Plus, if the equipment get’s stolen from your car and it wasn’t breaking and entering your insurance company will not cover you because you left the car unlocked. If they smash the windows and take your equipment however then that’s another story and your insurance company is much more likely to show some concern and possibly replace your stolen equipment.
So take precaution DJs, you never know when someone is going to strike and crush your dreams so the best thing to do is be fully prepared and do all you can to prevent the theft from happening in the first place. Anyway thanks for reading this blog and if you found the information useful then please SHARE this on on social media and leave your comments below (all comments will be moderated, no spam please) and I will be glad to hear from you and even answer your questions.
Paul Anthony is the Managing Director of Event Master Pro and Discosource DJ’s based in Phuket, Thailand. With over 20 years experience as a Professional DJ he built a nation wide DJ service across every major city in Australia teaching over 50 DJs his craft and now developing the EMP online application for DJs.