Buying a large dog

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I haven’t got a dog and a cat just doesn’t cut it as far as a robbery deterrent. Some time back, in the “film” days of photography I was robbed.

It is still painful to recall the event.

My cameras are not just means of earning a living, they were also my friends, so to lose one is a disaster. Ask any photojournalist how they feel without a camera and they will all tell you the same story – it is like having your arm chopped off!

In my case, I would carry my cameras in a large battered grey bag. Two Nikon FA’s, one Nikon FM2N, a couple of motor drives, a Metz 45 CT1 flash, plus filters, three lenses, tripod adapter for a Manfrotto tripod, spare cables, wires, black tape and a notebook. Two of the three cameras were always pre-loaded with film and a lens mounted ready to go. This is nothing out of the ordinary, it is just the usual kit and kaboodle for an active commercial photographer.

Keep reading, as much of this tale may refer to you. The other evening, my wife and I went out to dinner, leaving the porch light on to make finding the keys for the triple locked front door easier when we came back. Returning an hour later we noticed the porch light was off. Having been robbed last year and my wife losing all her jewelry, I opened the front door with dread.

My fears were totally founded. We were greeted by entire chaos. Every drawer in the house had been tipped out on the ground, every cupboard’s contents strewn all over the floor and the hatch in the bathroom ominously open.

Also ominously open was the battered grey camera bag, which had been left behind for once, since I was having a “night off”. Needless to say, the bag was empty, other than the flash gun and a few filters that the kamoy had left behind.

With the house dead-locked everywhere and all windows barred, the kamoy had removed some roof tiles and come in through the ceiling. Apparently this is a common way to gain entry to what is otherwise an “impenetrable” home. The felon comes one evening and removes the roof tiles then returns the next day and does a quick robbery as soon as the occupants are out, taking anything that is small, valuable and easily carried. Like my cameras!

So what can you do to try and stop this dreadful scenario happening to you? Well, the first thing is to attempt to make your home as secure as you can possibly make it. Consider bars in the ceiling as well as the usual ones on the windows. Motion detectors around the house can make sense. So does a large dog.

After all that, what else can you do to protect your investment in camera gear (and other valuables)? Well, it’s called insurance. I was led to believe that cameras could not be insured, so did not have any insurance. This was incorrect advice. A very brief chat with Jack Levy at Macallan Insurance Brokers revealed that you can insure your cameras against theft from your home. This is as part of the house insurance policy. You would, of course, have to detail all the items you want to insure on the policy.

Of course, insurance does not stop your cameras being stolen. Insurance also does not replace your prized camera with one exactly the same – in many instances this may be impossible following model changes and availability from the manufacturers and other such variables. In my case, the beloved Nikon FA’s are definitely not the current model, but at least it will be such that you can go shopping without it costing you an arm and a leg.

Being robbed of anything is a dreadful experience. Losing your cameras really is like losing an arm, a devastating experience. I sincerely hope this never happens to you, but in the meantime a large dog will help.