Write it down!

Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday folks – for those of you that Twitter and have me on follow, you’ll know that we had our cars taken out from under our noses (literally while we slept) early Tuesday morning.  By the time I woke up and got dressed for work (at 6) they were gone…

Suffice to say, the wind has kind of been taken out of my sails here, and after an entire day of dealing with police reports, insurance claims, DNA testing (yes, they took DNA from us), finger printing, and pretty much feeling like our private living space was totally disrespected and violated, I didn’t have much of a mood to put anything together for Wednesday.  With another weekend looming large and trying to resurrect some excitement for Tracy’s pending birthday, I am afraid today’s post will be no picnic either, as this is more of a lecture on security.  To make it photo-related, let’s look at it form an inventory perspective.

Say you were the victim of a crime – all your photo gear was taken from you.  Could you produce the records needed to replace everything?  With cars it’s easy, as insurance is in place, titles are held, and banks have documents as well that you can fall back on – but what about other items?  It took some digging through the Mac, but I was able to find the serial number for my iPod.  Do you know your serial numbers?  What about that expensive zoom lens?  What about your SLR serial number?  When was it purchased?  What was the purchase price?  What about the computers?  Software licenses?  Think about it – you’ve invested some serious money into this, whether it’s a hobby or a profession.  Do you have the records to produce in that worse case scenario?  If not, take my experience with the cars and apply it to your gear – write info down!  Update your inventories, and keep records of everything!  Finally, don’t tempt fate – lock things up.  Get a lock box or some kind of safe – and don’t leave things out in the open – it’s just an invitation waiting to be seen and responded to, so take precautions now to avoid lots of heartache and headaches later.  Here’s a sample spreadsheet to get you started:

Inventory Spreadsheet (right-click, and select download or Save as and the file name is “inventory.xls”)

That’s it for today folks – so, sorry for the “downer” of a post, but felt there was something there that could be learned by all of us – so enough of the doldrums now – forget the past and move into the future with positivity – so get out shooting, and be careful out there!  (Hello Hill Street Blues! 🙂 )  We’ll see you back here tomorrow, and hopefully the podcast that I’ve been meaning to finish will go up early next week.  Until then, keep on shootin’ (photos)!

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12 comments for “Write it down!

  1. June 11, 2009 at 4:56 am

    Really sorry to hear about your cars Jason. Somethings just never cease to amaze me. Hope it all works itself out for you and Tracy.

  2. June 11, 2009 at 8:51 am

    This may seem like a downer post (and I’m sorry it was triggered by your bad experience) but it is such an important point to make! I live in Florida in hurricane and wildfire territory and this stuff is very important to document and know. I love the idea of the spreadsheet for my photography equipment and electronics. I think I’m going to try that. But don’t forget to also keep the receipts because the insurance company may want them as well. But if the spreadsheet is backed up off-site (such as in cloud storage) at least that data is protected against loss of the receipts by house fire, etc.

  3. June 11, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    So sorry, Jason…

    I really appreciate that you turned it around to serve as a reminder for the rest of us to make sure we have things covered on the photo/electronic front. I’ve told myself to do that for a few years now and just haven’t really followed up.

    I’m going to post about it for tomorrow to help get the word out too.

    Great tip. Terrible “inspiration” for it… but a great tip.

  4. June 11, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Sorry to hear about the cars Jason. That is a major bummer but thank you for the security reminder and inventory spreadsheet.

  5. June 12, 2009 at 7:01 am

    That so sucks Jason, I am so sorry to hear this news. Hope the get the Bas%^&*!!

  6. June 12, 2009 at 7:32 am

    My question would be – why do they need YOUR DNA and fingerprints? You’ve already been violated by having your vehicles stolen. Did they think they would NOT find your DNA and fingerprints in the vehicles? Seems like an excuse to collect private data on you and your family, and THAT scares me more than auto theft.

    • June 12, 2009 at 10:26 am

      Because they found 3 sets of DNA in the car and needed comparisons to determine which one was “suspect”…and they didn’t take our fingerprints….

  7. June 12, 2009 at 9:06 am

    how many of your cars went missing in one night? What kind of cars do you have that we so desirable thiefs took more than 1? You don’t have to answer…my mind is just racing at the thought of them taking multiple cars from the same residence. I am so sorry for the headache this all must be costing you right now. It will pass and I think you will have helped many others by then and will be able to feel good knowing that you do.

    Thanks for the spreadsheet. I would add that people should also email themselves or save to an online source the spreadsheet when finished…in case their computer ever was stolen or in case of a fire.

  8. June 12, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Jason – I’m so sorry to hear the news. I know how violated any theft makes a person feel and I hope this situation resolves itself quickly. Keep us informed and thanks for the great reminder.

  9. Hali
    June 12, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    So sorry to hear about that, I hope things turn out better than they did at the start of yesterday. Reading your post was the boost I needed to make sure that my inventory information was up to date, I’m just sad that it took something like that to make it happen. Thank you for the spreadsheet and I hope your weekend is better.

  10. June 14, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Wow! Can’t believe somebody went after two cars in one night. Brazen!

    Sorry to hear you’ve had to go through this. Thanks for the reminder to all of us. I actually photograph all of my equipment, keep a database and associated photos, store that on my backup drive and keep a DVD of the inventory off site.

    No, not paranoid. Just a former network operations guy who always makes off site copies of everything. 🙂 Glad to say I’ve never had to refer to my inventory database to date. Knock on wood!

    Good luck finding out who did this. Hope they arrest the folks. Have a good weekend.

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