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View Full Version : Travelling Uke Theft Prevention Tips?



kitsunegarcia
01-20-2018, 07:29 AM
I was curious esp from those who are more seasoned on-the-road uke players, how do you protect your ukes from thefts? Is there new technology I am not aware of like GPS locators you can put in cases? Strategies? I'll be on the road more in the next year and will worry about stuff like this more. I didn't really previously because I mostly used crap-a-leles (cost less than $50) so I just left that stuff in the car. You can bet the Tiny Tenor will NOT be left in the car. I already took pictures of it and have it as proof. Does travel insurance cover stolen ukes?

Brad Bordessa
01-20-2018, 08:44 AM
I think a uke is a lot less likely to be stolen than pretty much anything else. It's an unfamiliar item in most places. A purse or backpack is a lot more likely to pay off for a thief than some mystery pack. Just don't ever leave it unattended when out and about - really all you can do.

The TT case has great straps and is perfect for keeping on your person. Sling it on your back anytime you're not sitting down. If you're super paranoid you could paperclip/lock the zippers, but that seems pretty overkill.

I took mine to Italy for a month on trains and around the cities and never had any trouble.

lfoo6952
01-20-2018, 09:12 AM
There are a number of GPS trackers on the market but they require buying a monthly subscription service as well. Here is one example: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/orchestral-strings/tempo-gps-tracking-system-for-instruments-and-gear?source=3WWRWXGB&gclid=CjwKCAiA7ovTBRAQEiwAo8dPcSoh-ki0yR_MYVYroyteAIqXsZMOwdJMsI-qJdKlbcOf2-3dalZoxRoCn8UQAvD_BwE&kwid=19959388920x8011105460x151905500

The monthly fee could add up over the long run, so you have to ask yourself does the value of your ukulele outweigh the cost?

I believe your homeowners and car insurance policies would cover your ukulele. Check with your insurance agent.

Best prevention tip I can give you is if you must carry it with you, don't ever put it down or let it out of your hands. It takes only a second for a thief to swoop down on it and you would never know what hit you. I had it happen to me while traveling in Germany, in the hotel lobby. My homeowner's policy covered my losses, but you must provide receipts and a police report.

sopher
01-21-2018, 12:32 AM
Switch to tuba and no one will steal that! ;)

Rllink
01-21-2018, 04:57 AM
How do you keep your other stuff from getting ripped off? I mean, why is a ukulele any different than everything else you travel with?

kitsunegarcia
01-21-2018, 05:31 AM
Maybe you live in a chill place? Idk
Maybe you don't pay notice that other people are eyeing your stuff? Again i have no idea.
here's my push back...

Why would anyone steal a uke?
In my town, people not in the know think I am carrying a violin or other instrument. I have been asked that several times by strangers. So they may not want it once they realize what they have taken. So far most ukulele people I have met are not the stealing type.

And why is it different?
It attracts attention wherever I go. I seriously cannot enter a room with this thing in my hand and not have some comment about it. That applies mainly to non-ukers and i suspect I will have greater interaction with them over time.
Most things I carry do not elicit that kind of attention so I don't have to worry as much about it being messed with.

kitsunegarcia
01-21-2018, 05:34 AM
Switch to tuba and no one will steal that! ;)

Good thinking sopher. I'll make the cross over right away! :cool:

kitsunegarcia
01-21-2018, 05:41 AM
There are a number of GPS trackers on the market but they require buying a monthly subscription service as well. Here is one example: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/orchestral-strings/tempo-gps-tracking-system-for-instruments-and-gear?source=3WWRWXGB&gclid=CjwKCAiA7ovTBRAQEiwAo8dPcSoh-ki0yR_MYVYroyteAIqXsZMOwdJMsI-qJdKlbcOf2-3dalZoxRoCn8UQAvD_BwE&kwid=19959388920x8011105460x151905500

The monthly fee could add up over the long run, so you have to ask yourself does the value of your ukulele outweigh the cost?

I believe your homeowners and car insurance policies would cover your ukulele. Check with your insurance agent.

Best prevention tip I can give you is if you must carry it with you, don't ever put it down or let it out of your hands. It takes only a second for a thief to swoop down on it and you would never know what hit you. I had it happen to me while traveling in Germany, in the hotel lobby. My homeowner's policy covered my losses, but you must provide receipts and a police report.

Oh that homeowners insurance tip is a good one. Thanks! Travellers insurance is crap as it does not cover musical instruments.

70sSanO
01-21-2018, 06:26 AM
Depends on how you are going to travel, but nothing is foolproof. If someone wants it, it will be gone. On occasion, I will lock my ukulele in the car or hotel room with a Master Python cable lock around to waist of a ukulele case and then use another cable to secure it to something. The Python model I have cinches up tight enough around the case that it doesn't slip over the upper bout. Cable locks are notoriously poor security devices and are pretty much a joke in the cycling world, easily cut, but hauling around 10lbs of chain is a bit of overkill.

Unless it is an area I'm really concerned about, I think it is safer locked in the car or a room than being carried around. It might be tough to keep track of it every instant. Also, it might be a bit conspicuous carrying a small instrument case all around that may or may not actually contain an instrument.

John

resophonic
01-21-2018, 06:46 AM
Ukuleles are so small and light that they are easy prey for a thief. Your best bet is to keep it by your side at all times possible and keep it out of site as well. In a cafe or restaurant maybe cover it with a coat so it does not stand out. I travel with a fairly pricey National Reso-Phonic uke and use a large enough piece of luggage that the ukulele fits in. In your hotel room keep it in a drawer or under the bed. Do not leave it anywhere unattended. Going to the restroom? Take it with you if you are on your own! Never leave it in a car (a hot day will also ruin it). Check with your insurance agent to see if your homeowners insurance covers it. If someone has a made in China ukulele it is probably not worth it, but instrument insurance is actually pretty cheap if you have something nice that you take out a lot.
James Clem
Portland OR

Joe King
01-21-2018, 12:50 PM
I would get one of the Fremont rectangular uke cases, and have several metal plates screwed on each side of the outside of the case that were embossed with big 3" tall letters that said:

"BIOHAZARD: HUMAN MEDICAL WASTE"

Hopefully that will deter both the curious and the criminals.

Graham Greenbag
01-22-2018, 04:04 AM
I was curious esp from those who are more seasoned on-the-road uke players, how do you protect your ukes from thefts? Is there new technology I am not aware of like GPS locators you can put in cases? Strategies? I'll be on the road more in the next year and will worry about stuff like this more. I didn't really previously because I mostly used crap-a-leles (cost less than $50) so I just left that stuff in the car. You can bet the Tiny Tenor will NOT be left in the car. I already took pictures of it and have it as proof. Does travel insurance cover stolen ukes?

I have real sympathy for you with this problem and it’s not one that is just specific to Ukes. Have a nice looking Camera, Computer or Bike and in some places there’s always going to be the type that will lift it. The only ways I’ve found to tackle such theft are basically to do without, to hide and to disguise - locking it up is taken for granted in that mix. I don’t take nice kit anywhere doubtful and I generally don’t buy anything that that I’d be gutted about having stolen; if I have something nice I never display it and never voice its value in public so an expensive Uke would normally be hidden out of site and wouldn’t travel in a traditional hard case unless that was within a plain bag or suitcase. I did find the Tuba case comment funny but liked the hidden concept, Tuba Cases are very big and heavy so your average thief isn’t gong to run off with one ............. think old large case with bricks plus Uke.

Sadly the bottom line with theft is that you can’t completely isolate yourself from it, but the good news is that you can partially do so by concealing items and making them much more difficult to remove.

Pukulele Pete
01-22-2018, 04:12 AM
106096 ???????????!!!!!!!

kitsunegarcia
01-22-2018, 09:05 AM
I would get one of the Fremont rectangular uke cases, and have several metal plates screwed on each side of the outside of the case that were embossed with big 3" tall letters that said:

"BIOHAZARD: HUMAN MEDICAL WASTE"

Hopefully that will deter both the curious and the criminals.


Haha! Don't laugh but I do have access to clean bags that say "biohazard"on them. You've given me ideas...

Joe King
01-22-2018, 11:25 AM
Haha! Don't laugh but I do have access to clean bags that say "biohazard"on them. You've given me ideas...

Yeah, I was also thinking of one of the Coleman portable coolers that you see them use on tv medical shows to carry harvested organs for transplant, but unless you have a sopranino, I dont think larger ukes will fit. you could put the BIOHAZARD and red-cross ambulance symbols on it...maybe get a bag of dry ice for a nice effect so if/when you opened it, folks might think it was real (at least until all the dry ice evaporated)....

A soprano might fit into one of the Haliburton-type aluminum briefcases (like in the photo above by Pukulele Pete), but those cases themselves cost $$$ and even with the BIOHAZARD signs on it, folks might want to steal it just for the briefcase.

If I had to take a uke everywhere and did not want to worry about theft, it would be a Makala Dolphin, which I would then cover with stickers supporting children's cancer research and other worthy and sympathetic causes, and hope (even falsely) that any would-be thieves would be compassionate and just leave it alone.

If the Dolphin did get stolen, then it's only ~$50 to replace so no huge loss.

70sSanO
01-29-2018, 08:15 PM
There are a couple of locking security straps that I have come across. Steelcore is one manufacturer that makes them. Also Lockstraps has one with a loop and locking carabiner. They are at Home Depot. The combo lock is not that impressive, but the strap is pretty nice. You can youtube them and see the theft protection against cutting. Steelcore makes a 3' strap that would work quite well on hard shell ukulele cases with a waist.

Once you secure the case, you are way ahead of the game.

John

lfoo6952
01-30-2018, 05:03 AM
When I was at NAMM, I came across a new type of GPS tracking device from GearSecure. There is not much information available on their website and I didn't have time to stop by their booth to speak to them about it, but here is the link to their website: https://www.gearsecuremusic.com/how-it-works

sculptor
02-01-2018, 10:06 PM
Switch to tuba and no one will steal that! ;)

That much brass has a certain amount of value at a scrap yard. :) That's often why people steal bronze sculptures.

-- Gary

Pukulele Pete
02-02-2018, 02:46 AM
One of these may help if your uke is stolen.https://secure.thetrackr.com/products/online-pixel-5-pack?gclid=CjwKCAiAtdDTBRArEiwAPT4y-wsTf5K6ElLEM6evLyYtdiiDgNHt1uA-_DgqouMjS0Vtz0N9EKlXThoCyv4QAvD_BwE

A piece of paper with your name glued to the underside of the soundboard that you need a mirror to see may also help.

Dionysis
02-03-2018, 12:10 PM
One of these may help if your uke is stolen.https://secure.thetrackr.com/products/online-pixel-5-pack?gclid=CjwKCAiAtdDTBRArEiwAPT4y-wsTf5K6ElLEM6evLyYtdiiDgNHt1uA-_DgqouMjS0Vtz0N9EKlXThoCyv4QAvD_BwE

A piece of paper with your name glued to the underside of the soundboard that you need a mirror to see may also help.

This particular item would help you find a stolen item only if the item is in the vicinity of other people who have the TrackR app on their phone. Something like a uke you might want one that talks with the cell phone network directly instead.

sculptor
02-03-2018, 06:27 PM
Some travel insurance companies do cover the theft of musical instruments but
there are lots of exclusions so you need to have a conversation with you travel agent
or travel insurance provider and make sure you are careful to follow their advice.
For instance if it's stolen form a car it better have been locked in the trunk and needed
forced entry to get to.

-- Gary

PS I do a travel work on the side...

Rllink
02-04-2018, 03:31 AM
So if one does put a tracking devise in their ukulele, and then you ukulele gets ripped off while travelling, what is the plan then?

mjh42
02-04-2018, 08:47 AM
A watchful eye and insurance. Of course locks and deterrents are used for a reason. Watch the medical waste stickers while they might deter thieves they will draw attention when traveling through airports and across boarders. Thieves will find a way if interested. We carry a rider on our home owners insurance for my wife's violin and hardingfela. Needed professional appraisals and photos to be submitted. When traveling to Norway with hardingfela wife carried photos with instrument shown with proof the instrument was in the USA so upon return through Customs she could prove she did not buy it on the trip. With low and mid range Uke's I'm not sure a separate insurance rider would be worth it, for very high end or vintage/historical Uke's worth looking into.