It’s a pretty terrifying prospect: return home or to your studio only to find broken glass, a busted lock, and empty shelves. DJs and producers often own lots of very valuable gear, so today we look at a few ways to help get your gear back and start making / mixing music ASAP after getting robbed. Even if you don’t think you’ll ever have anything stolen, read this article to learn what you can do now to make things easier if it ever happens!
BEFORE: KEEPING YOUR GEAR SAFE
A big part of being ready for any major disaster is any amount of work you’ve done to prepare. This is why people have car insurance, earthquake survival kits, road flares – but as a DJ or producer there are quite a few things you can do to make sure a break-in isn’t the end of your hard-earned gear and knowledge.
Secure Your Gear
The obvious deterrant to theft is being smart about how you store your DJ gear. Lock your doors, even when you’re at home, and restrict access to anyplace where you keep expensive gear. This goes beyond just locking your front door:
Buy locks! Many pieces of DJ and computer gear have Kensington lock ports on the back of them. You can lock your gear to a harder-to-steal object like your desk.
Keep it on the D/L: thefts are usually not random – so make sure anyone who knows that you’ve got a complete DJ or production setup in your house or studio is trustworthy.
Hide your small items: If you’ve got small-but-valuable items like a back up harddrive or an OP-1 synth, consider finding an out-of-site spot for them to live when you’re done using them. Robberies often are fast – grab what you see and run with it – so any effort to hide things could pay off.
This is the ultimate saving grace – having insurance that covers your personal possessions and gear. If you do one thing on this list, do this one. Renter’s insurance covers your possessions in your home, but it also often covers items that are locked in the trunk of your car – which is big for any DJ!
Renter’s insurance can be very cheap – as low as $10 a month. Even if you never have to take advantage of it, the peace of mind of being able to get the entire value of your DJ gear if it gets stolen is well worth it. If you’re running a business, you might need to note in your application that you make money with the gear being covered as that often effects what type of policy they write you.
One bonus tip: for students living in college dorms, if your parents have renter’s or homeowners insurance, that might also cover you. Ask your parents to ask their agent! It’s worth it. Trust me.
Document Your Gear + Purchases
The only way that you can make sure you know everything you have is if you document it! This is important for if you do ever get something stolen. Here’s a few documentation steps to take:
Photograph Your Gear (ideally in context): this is good mostly so that when something happens, you can easily have proof that you really did own this thing and you’re not just making it up.
Make A List Of Serial Numbers (software and hardware): the police will want serial numbers on all of your physical gear so they can get it back to you if it’s recovered. Having software serials written down will allow you to reactivate them on your new machine.
Photograph Your Receipts: Every time you buy a piece of gear, just snap a quick pic of your receipt. This will allow you to quickly provide your insurance agent with an estimated value
There’s a service out there called Prey that you can install on computers and smart devices that allows you to track a device after it has been stolen, see where it’s being used, and even take photos of the person using it. Police departments are often confused at how well this works – but having evidence of where a piece of your personal property is and the ability to show the cops really makes a difference. It’s worth checking out as it’s free!
Back Up Everything
Here’s a great way to create some backup compulsion in all of you. Next time you leave your home or studio where you spend most of your time mixing or producing, look back at it and imagine what you would do if suddenly everything in it vanished. This is why backing up your data is so important.
If you’ve got a great library of songs and incredible playlists, back them up. If you’ve got an amazing work in progress album, back it up. You should be doing this every day, but we know that’s not always realistic. Find a system that works for you and commit to it.