6) Keep It Hidden
When you're out, make sure that if your gear isin your car it's covered by a blanket or towel, or keep it in your trunk. If you have to leave it at a jam space or venue while you grab lunch before a show for example, put it in a room that's out of the way such as your green room instead of leaving it in the corner of the stage. Sometimes though it can be easier to leave it out in the open so that any staff can keep an eye on it, and letting someone know you're leaving it there for a while is helpful, but you can't always count on other people to watch it for you. Ask a staff member to lock up a room with your band's gear while you go grab food, or ask if you can put it backstage behind some boxes, out of sight.
7) File a Police Report
This should be obvious, but I can't tell you how many times people I know have gotten their gear stolen and have NOT filed a police report. Most people get a few pedals or a guitar stolen and they just think that's where it ends, there's nothing they can do about it or that the police won't be able to find it. One very important reason to file a police report is that if your gear is stolen by a thief or group of thieves who have been stealing for quite a while and the police arrest them, they cannot return your stuff to you because you have not reported it missing. That stuff stays on record for a very long time, so even if you give up on it
8) Alert Other Establishments
If your equipment is stolen the first thing you should do is call the police and file a report, the second thing you should do is notify every pawn shop, music store, and rehearsal space in the area of the theft. Send them the serial numbers and pictures via email or fax, or even in person. Good thing you used tips 1 and 2 huh? It should also be noted that many of these establishments do not have an email or fax that you can reach them at, so you should make posters or flyers and put them up anywhere you can.
9) Get Insurance
Many companies these days offer insurance on your gear. Some of us don't have money for this and that's understandable, but at the very least covering your favorite, most expensive, or most essential pieces of gear will give you incredible peace of mind. Too many people assume their gear is covered by their home or auto insurance, and not only are they wrong the vast majority of the time, but even when it is covered there is a very low limit on how much you are able to get from your insurance company. Losing $5,000 in gear and finding out your insurance will only cover up to a $500 limit is not something you want to be surprised with.
10) Contact Information
Make sure you put your contact information in all of your cases. If you feel like doing even more, then put your contact information on your actual gear. Even taping a business card or scrap piece of paper with your information on it will work. Keep them in all of your cases and it'll make sure that if it gets stolen or even if you lose it, you have a better chance of it being returned to you. It's a slim chance, but every bit counts.
11) Don't Think It Won't Happen To You
This is probably the most important tip. Remember that it can happen to anyone, and the more time you spend on protecting your gear, the harder it will be for anyone to get away with stealing it. Be smart, be cautious.
Hopefully this article has given you some ideas on how to keep your gear safe, and at the end of the day the last thing any musician wants is to be without our instruments. Use these tips to give yourself peace of mind so that you can focus on the music, and not have to worry about your equipment.