Today I’ve got more tips on being safe on the road to vendors’ events, workshops, and art retreats. And, well, really any time you travel~~
~~Many people told me they leave stuff in their vehicle and, if they don’t have a trunk (SUV’s don’t), they hide stuff under blankets. This may be safer than leaving stuff out in full view, but it’s not enough. Our windows are heavily tinted, and the stuff that was stolen was in the floorboard, not visible (we checked) from outside. There were two other vehicles burglarized the same night, one just feet away, and neither of them appeared to have anything in them: the burglar broke out the driver’s window, yanked up the console cover, and apparently took whatever was inside. Remember: thieves don’t last long if they’re stupid. They know all the tricks: seeing a blanket-covered mound in your vehicle is all the inspiration they need to explore further. Anything you think of doing to disguise what’s in your vehicle is something they thought of a long, long time ago.
~~If you have the option of springing for secured parking in a protected lot, it may well be the safest choice. I had always thought parking in a lot with security cameras, somewhere near the front entrance, was safe. Nope. This time we were parked in view of the lobby–you could see our vehicle while standing in the lobby–in a well-lighted parking lot with at least three security cameras, all right next to a very busy highway. None of that made a difference. The police officer and the hotel manager both said this is something that has happened before at this hotel despite the lights and cameras and very visible parking. Oh, and a security vehicle driving around 24/7 (we didn’t see anyone doing that, but the manager claimed there was someone).
So my advice? Take only what you have to have, and take it into the room with you every single night. Take everything out of your vehicle, including things like cords and car chargers (the police officer said thieves will break in just for one of those). Maybe you’ll want to empty the center console and glove compartment and leave the doors open–this seems excessive, but there’s this: they used a crowbar to pry out and shatter our window, and although I had the glass replaced, the frame is never going to be the same unless I have the entire door replaced. Even if they hadn’t found a single thing to steal, they did significant damage to the vehicle, not even counting the–gack–blood and broken glass we keep finding. Your best bet would seem to be to show a potential thief that there’s nothing hidden anywhere inside, no reason for him to waste his time exploring with little reward.
And good luck–in the end, after you do everything you can to protect yourself and your stuff, you just have to hope for the best. A sad commentary, but true~~
To end on a happier note about traveling, check out Jill Berry’s Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Map-Making.
MORE RESOURCES FOR MIXED MEDIA ARTISTS