Curious about theft. Solar system security.

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Curious about theft. Solar system security.

Postby elKay » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:45 am

My husband and I have our tickets- this year will be our first burn, and we are happily preparing all that we will need for the days on the road and week on the playa. One thing that I am curious about is how worried we need to be about theft. I know that it happens, but is it common in BRC? I live in a pretty safe place, where we often leave their doors unlocked when no one is home. I read somewhere here on eplaya that parts of the solar components were being taken from some of the deep playa art projects. But what about things left at camp while we go out in the evenings?

My son (for a birthday/thank you for paying for my college gift) is building us a large and probably expensive solar system to power our camp, which will include a vintage trailer and separate shade structure. We plan to secure it, probably in the bed of our truck, but are wondering how secure we need it to be? Protection from some opportunist asshole is much easier than what needs to be done if there are professional thieves roaming the camps. Should we relax and just use a few straps?

I know that there are no guarantees.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:36 am

I have never heard of the theft of a solar system. (that just sound wrong--alpha centary came by and stole our planets. But I digress.) The major catagory of on-playa "theft" is some drunk rides off on your bike because you haven't locked it. Not pertinent here. The second is small items with value--ipods, cash and the like. I'd say that a decent lock would do. I don't think anyone's going out with bolt cutters taking solar systems.
However, I am not the final word on this one, and I'm pretty much working from hearsay, so just because this is the first answer, doesn't mean that it's the best.
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Postby Trishntek » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:37 am

One thing to consider is that people are on foot or bicycles for the most part.

Another thing to consider is there is a $300 price tag for most people to even attend which thins out the takers to a given level.

There is a significant law enforcement presence.

Fourth, from my understanding, when theft does happen, it is mostly due to stuff being left out in plain sight. Things like tools and bicycles and other easily obtained items.

We have personally had no experience with theft, but we do keep things in their places and do not leave stuff laying around without reason. It seems theft is less common in BRC than other communities.
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Postby elKay » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:51 am

Thank you for your replies, and your answers are just what I was hoping they would be.
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Postby gyre » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:02 am

Sorry, but there is deliberate theft, and people going through rvs, etc.

Solar should be hard to steal.

Security fasteners are probably the approach to take here, when locks are awkward.
They range from easy to custom made.

If you chain anything down, get true security chain.
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Postby elKay » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:10 am

gyre wrote:Sorry, but there is deliberate theft, and people going through rvs, etc.

Are they breaking RV locks? My trailer is the most important thing that I am bringing along. It is a 1963 airstream that was left to me 2 years ago when my little brother died. He lived in Florida and always wanted to bring it to burning man, but got sick and never made it. I will be bringing his ashes too. The door is practically unobtainable, maybe I should leave it unlocked?
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Postby gyre » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:18 am

I would use the lock.

I think they are looking for unlocked areas usually.

Got any suggestions for replacing the deadbolt on a 73?
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Postby gyre » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:20 am

Like classic cars, airstreams are meant to be used.
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Postby elKay » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:24 am

gyre wrote:I would use the lock.

I think they are looking for unlocked areas usually.

Got any suggestions for replacing the deadbolt on a 73?
It does not say what year it is for, but I bought this one and parts of it with parts of my existing lock. It was very easy, and the price is good.

http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/RV_ ... ts-343.htm
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Postby Savannah » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:42 am

If it were me, I'd lock the door. Thieves prefer easier targets (unlocked doors, items laying around) to noisier, harder, less-defensible-to-witnessing-eyes choice (break & enter). Items locked away are harder to covet. Also, if your RV is locked, for all they know, you're in there asleep. Most thieves don't want confrontation, they just want some stuff.

My campmate's mp3 player walked off on Burn night through an unlocked van door, and was probably in plain view through the window. That's my only secondhand experience with it. But I hear constantly about neglected booze, scattered tools & bicycles walking away. Just one more good reason to introduce yourself to your neighbors. If they know who you are and what you look like they're much more likely to greet someone loitering around your camp.

Bring a spare key for your campmate if possible, or devote special attention to securing it; people lose their keys all the time. Some carry one & hide the other. Not everyone is comfortable hiding one, though.
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Postby AntiM » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:05 am

I have heard of tools and pricey generators vanishing on burn night. Locking things up would be prudent. However, if they really, really want your stuff, they'll have it. Most don't want to bother.

Drunks rummaging through coolers for booze, that happens.

Some drunks took my velvet ropes and stanchions, but we recovered them from the Esplanade the next morning. They'll be nailed down this year.
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Postby phil » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:13 am

Somebody stole our bacon from our cooler one night last year. That's our only theft in 15 years, but we know a guy whose entire tent and its contents were stolen.

It's all anecdotal; I'm sure someone somewhere has a list of reported crimes on the playa, but I wouldn't guess how many people don't report the petty theft that goes on.

On the whole, I expect honesty and get it. But I don't tempt fate by leaving cash, cameras, and the like laying around all night in the open.

I understand you don't want the system stolen, so secure it as best you can and make sure your insurance agent has the system covered just in case. I think your division into opportunists is correct, as opposed to professionals.

The issue is 'sleep at night.' Do enough security you can sleep at night without worrying about theft. Have your son build in a motion detector alarm. :->
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Postby Simon of the Playa » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:24 am

get to know your neighbors...it's amazing how once you have a vested interest in something, or somebody, they will in turn watch out for you...

i like to believe people are basically honest, and yes, there are some professionals who prey on the confusion of the last couple of nights to go after easily pawnable items, but all in all, i have found BRC to be more trustworthy than any city or community i have ever lived in.

it's up to the citizens to police the community, not only for theft, but for inappropriate UNWANTED behavior, and or violence. The notion of being Banned from the best place on earth is a strong motivator in keeping people from doing things that might incur such a punishment.

Shame, and Public Shame goes a long way too.

or a good spanking on the pneumatic spanking machine.
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Postby Elderberry » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:52 am

I've heard that generators sometimes disappear. I've also heard of people's tents and all of their possessions disappearing too, though I think most of those stories were because the person forgets where his tent and stuff were, and not being able to find it, just blamed it on thievery.

Crime happens everywhere. Probably less at BM than in the default world. My advice is just do what you can to prevent crimes of opportunity, like lock your bike, don't leave small valuables out in plain sight, etc.; basically, just use common sense.

We camp with a theme camp, so there is usually someone around at all times, which helps.

Also, you might want to be a bit more vigilant on burn night.
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Postby knowmad » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:08 pm

jkisha wrote:I've heard that generators sometimes disappear. I've also heard of people's tents and all of their possessions disappearing too, though I think most of those stories were because the person forgets where his tent and stuff were, and not being able to find it, just blamed it on thievery.

Crime happens everywhere. Probably less at BM than in the default world. My advice is just do what you can to prevent crimes of opportunity, like lock your bike, don't leave small valuables out in plain sight, etc.; basically, just use common sense.

We camp with a theme camp, so there is usually someone around at all times, which helps.

Also, you might want to be a bit more vigilant on burn night.

Very true
one burner I know set her tent up out on j or h but failed to notice what Time; It was her first burn, she garbed her water and hit the dust.
and then how in the hell I'll never know she shows up at my bus "hey dude" and I ask "Where you live."
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Postby dragonpilot » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:34 pm

elKay wrote:
gyre wrote:
Are they breaking RV locks? My trailer is the most important thing that I am bringing along. It is a 1963 airstream that was left to me 2 years ago when my little brother died. He lived in Florida and always wanted to bring it to burning man, but got sick and never made it. I will be bringing his ashes too. The door is practically unobtainable, maybe I should leave it unlocked?


If there's jsut a couple of you, locking is good...keeping in mind if someone wants to get in bad enough, no lock will stop them. Be sure to hide an extra door key somewhere in a magnetic Hide-A-Key thingy. Keys get easily lost on the playa.
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Postby gyre » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:08 pm

elKay wrote:
gyre wrote:I would use the lock.

I think they are looking for unlocked areas usually.

Got any suggestions for replacing the deadbolt on a 73?
It does not say what year it is for, but I bought this one and parts of it with parts of my existing lock. It was very easy, and the price is good.

http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/RV_ ... ts-343.htm

Great price if it will fit mine.

The offset is weird and unusual on the airstreams of my era.
Few locks work without modifying the door.
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Postby elKay » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:25 pm

I don't know anything about 73s. But it did not fit mine, so I mixed it up- used some of the new pieces attached to old parts and it is perfect.


Thanks all for the security info. Sounds like taking normal precautions ought to protect us, with no guarantees.
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Postby gyre » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:34 pm

If you need help choosing security fasteners, let me know.

Ideal for panels, I would think.



Sounds ike the same issue with yours.
There is a lock available that fits.
Not a great lock, not cheap, but goes right in.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:48 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:I have never heard of the theft of a solar system. (that just sound wrong--alpha centary came by and stole our planets. But I digress.)


Is it time to digress yet?

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Postby elKay » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:35 pm

I think that it IS time to digress.

Gyre, I am sure that you already know about airforums.com, but in case you are not, there will be someone there who can point you to your lock- if it is available.
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Postby BBadger » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:57 pm

I always thought it'd be funny to carry around a pair of bolt cutters for your costume, just to get everyone nervous about their belongings.
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Postby MyDearFriend » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:27 pm

BBadger wrote:I always thought it'd be funny to carry around a pair of bolt cutters for your costume, just to get everyone nervous about their belongings.


A naked man with bolt cutters would make me pretty nervous, for sure.
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Postby Dr. Pyro » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:38 pm

Oh oh, MDF, I have some really bad news for you then.
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Postby ygmir » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:14 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote:Oh oh, MDF, I have some really bad news for you then.


crap Doc, don't ruin the surprise!!!!!
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Postby Trishntek » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:48 pm

ygmir wrote:
Dr. Pyro wrote:Oh oh, MDF, I have some really bad news for you then.


crap Doc, don't ruin the surprise!!!!!


At least the drilldo is still a secret,,,,,that is,,,,, errrrr

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Postby Savannah » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:14 pm

A naked man with bolt cutters would make me pretty nervous, for sure.


In the interest of full disclosure . . . me, clothed and smiling with bolt cutters would deeply unsettling, too.
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Postby Foxfur » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:56 pm

I'll be bringing bolt cutters; 14", 24", and 36"; lock pick sets; padlock defeaters, and vehicle entry tools.
And... I'll be bringing my locksmith's license :).
I'm not the best entry guy, but if someone is locked out of their vehicle or lost their padlock key, AND they can provide proof of ownership or ID and fill out an identity-affadavit form, it'd be nice to save them having to break a window or do ??? to a bike they're locked out from.
I'm also bringing a key punch that can crank out keys for Master brand locks. I will have none of this "I only have one key" bullshit! You come see me :). I will make you a spare or two, see if I don't. :x
I can hand duplicate keys with files and will be bringing blanks for most padlock brands.

Public bikes that jackasses padlock will be liberated. Though I suspect a Ranger throwing some jedi mind tricks their way would be a sweeter spectacle with less personal arse risking.

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Postby Savannah » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:59 pm

@#$%&#WE$RW$T^ sweet.
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Postby Jax Dee » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:06 pm

Savannah wrote:
A naked man with bolt cutters would make me pretty nervous, for sure.


In the interest of full disclosure . . . me, clothed and smiling with bolt cutters would deeply unsettling, too.


:lol:
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