Ten Tips to Keep a DSLR From Being Stolen

Protect Your Expensive Camera Equipment From Thieves

Man reaching into backpack

 Fredrik Skold / Getty Images

When making the switch from point and shoot cameras to DSLRs, one aspect of the DSLR that you have to consider is how to protect this valuable equipment from potential thieves. You might not have worried about having a cheap beginner-level camera stolen, but that attitude must change with your advanced camera equipment.

Try these tips to figure out how to travel safely and to protect your DSLR camera and equipment from being stolen.

Be Smart at Night

If you’re traveling to nightclubs or if you’re planning to drink alcohol, leave the DSLR camera behind. If you may want some photos of the nightlife, use an inexpensive point and shoot camera. You’d be surprised how many people lose their cameras or have them stolen, during a night on the town.

Camera Bag Options

When traveling, you will want a large camera bag that is comfortable to carry but that offers some padding and protection for your equipment. Try to pick a bag that isn’t too colorful or “flashy,” something won’t necessarily draw attention to the fact that it contains an expensive camera. In addition, select a bag that doesn’t have multiple pockets, so it’s easier for you to find the camera, shoot the photo, and return the camera to the bag. If you're wearing a backpack camera bag, make sure you're aware of your surroundings so someone cannot open the bag while standing out of your light of sight.

Find a Way to Attach the Camera to the Bag

If you know you won’t be taking the camera out of the bag for a while, try attaching the camera’s strap to the camera bag with a clip. If a thief tries to quietly reach inside your bag to grab the camera, it will be more difficult with the camera attached to the bag.

Keep the Camera Bag With You at All Times

Treat your expensive DSLR camera like a large stack of $20 bills. You wouldn’t leave a pile of cash unattended, so don’t leave your camera bag unattended, either. After all, a thief doesn’t see a camera; he sees a stack of cash when he’s considering stealing your DSLR camera.

Make Sure Your Equipment is Insured

Some household insurance policies protect you from theft of your personal property, such as a DSLR camera, while traveling, while other policies do not protect you. Check with your insurance agent to see whether your DSLR is protected. If it isn’t, find out what it will cost to add protection for the camera, at least while you’ll be traveling.

Pick and Choose Where You Carry the Camera

If you know you’re going to spend most of the day traveling in an area where you wouldn’t feel safe having the camera visible, just leave it at the hotel, preferably in a safe in your room or at the front desk. Only carry the camera in places where you expect you’ll feel safe using it.

Pick and Choose Where You Use the Camera

When traveling in unfamiliar areas, you must use some caution with where you shoot photos too. If you’re in a location where you don’t feel safe having the camera in full view, leave the DSLR in the camera bag and wait to shoot photos until you're in a safer location. 

Track Your Serial Number

Make sure that you have written down your DSLR camera’s serial number, just in case it is stolen. Police can more easily identify it for you when you have the serial number. Keep this information in a safe location … not in your camera bag, where it will disappear along with the camera, in case the bag is ever stolen.

Try to Avoid Crowded Areas

Don’t carry your camera bag into an area where a thief could be hiding in a large crowd, where he could jostle you “accidentally” while grabbing the camera out of the bag. Be smart about your surroundings.

Listen to Your Inner Voice

 Ultimately, just use some common sense about your surroundings. Try to avoid drawing attention to your expensive DSLR camera in a spot where you’re concerned about thieves, and you should be able to feel safe about your camera.