Is theft common?

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
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Cracked Key
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Is theft common?

Post by Cracked Key » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:45 pm

I realize that anything is possible on the playa but there's clearly a strong bond between true burners and the spirit of BM. I imagine some people might get the urge to take something valuable (eyes of the beholder) whether out of impulse or desperation. The ultimate question is, if things do get stolen what do they normally steal? I've seen from some other posts that bikes can easily disappear though if I end up not having one, what else might go missing?
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TT120
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by TT120 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:43 pm

While some thefts do happen, I'm not sure it's any worse than any other city. Most thefts are opportunistic so if you keep valuables out of sight and or locked up, you should be fine.

Bikes are probably the number one thing that gets misplaced or stolen and I'm betting generators and cell phones are a close second.
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Ratty
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Ratty » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:37 pm

Liquor and cigarettes shouldn't be left unattended. Cell phones may be irresistible to a thief. We put everything away when we go out. At night we leave some lights on in our tents and shade. They're solar so might as well put em to good use. Mainly we don't have anything to steal.
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motskyroonmatick
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by motskyroonmatick » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:29 pm

I've been to 14 consecutive burns and have not had anything stolen. I do lock up my bike and generator and stow away appealing things on the big burn nights. That being said unlocked bikes have been stolen right out of our bike racks before. Always lock your bike when not in use.
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AntiM
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by AntiM » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:56 am

Someone stole our mannequin mailbox last year. I am still heartbroken over the loss of Fernando.

We have yet to have someone rummage through camp, but it happens. Love thy neighbor, but lock your valuables up, especially on Burn Night.

We do leave a cheap beer cooler "out" as a decoy.

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Token
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Token » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:16 am

Like any high-density city of 70000 people, crime happens.

Some is rather innocent; like borrowing an unattended sledge hammer cuz you were pounding in big stakes and you brought a tiny 16 Oz carpenter hammer ... you have every intention of returning it but as you were finishing up the most amazing art car serving ghost pepper infused vodka shots comes by and sweeps you to the winds.

Some are more sinister; like a douchebag drugged out/ drunk as a skunk moron wandering your camp in some far out trip sees your boom-box and decides they need theme music as they stumble their way along. Most bike theft falls in this bucket.

Then there is the evil fucks; folks that have a purpose of stealing valuable stuff like nice bikes, generators, laptops, phones, tools, anything that has easy resale value. They do it all week opportunistically but then ratchet it up for burn night on Saturday and do it systemically.

And finally, there is the “I lost it but I’m so dehydrated, exhausted, confused, that I truly believe I’ve been burglarized”. That also happens.

You get it all, most is just brain farts and jackassery, some is malice.

Remember the rule: if you can’t afford for something to be lost, stolen, or destroyed - don’t bring it to BM.

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Dr. Pyro
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Dr. Pyro » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:17 am

I've had my heart stolen a few times. Does that count?

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AntiM
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by AntiM » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:02 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote:I've had my heart stolen a few times. Does that count?
And here we thought you simply were constructed without one. Poor darling. I leave mine at home.

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Savannah
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Savannah » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:41 pm

Cracked Key wrote:I realize that anything is possible on the playa but there's clearly a strong bond between true burners and the spirit of BM. I imagine some people might get the urge to take something valuable (eyes of the beholder) whether out of impulse or desperation. The ultimate question is, if things do get stolen what do they normally steal? I've seen from some other posts that bikes can easily disappear though if I end up not having one, what else might go missing?
Yep--bikes, nice tools left out, unattended bottles of alcohol too close to the street, or generators not chained down. If valuables like phones, wallets or iDevices are left in plain sight in an unlocked vehicle, those also sometimes go walking off, especially on Burn Night. My campmate in 2009 lost her ipod that way.

I lock up my bike (even just to itself if necessary, so it can't be ridden) so I've been lucky; nothing of mine has been stolen, to my immediate recollection. I DID once have an expensive pair of scissors get borrowed and then innocently passed around, until the original person who borrowed them was unable to trace them and they were simply unfindable. That was heckin' annoying. (I no longer lend things out unless the person I'm lending to knows they may not lend the object to anyone else, & why. The object has to return to me first, then someone new--with the same understanding--can borrow them.)

Token's summation of the different kinds of theft--opportunistic, organized, or not-actually-theft at all--is really good.
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tatonka
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by tatonka » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:35 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote:I've had my heart stolen a few times. Does that count?


Image
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XPTom
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by XPTom » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:35 pm

it is common for bikes to be "borrowed without permission" ....because many think if you didn't lock it you gave them permission.... eye of the beholder thing
How many old burners does it take to change a light bulb? Just one to change the bulb..... and five more to reminisce how good the old bulb was....

flexibility is the key to success....... and poor planning is the key to flexibility

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Savannah
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Savannah » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:29 pm

XPTom wrote:it is common for bikes to be "borrowed without permission" ....because many think if you didn't lock it you gave them permission.... eye of the beholder thing
Yes. So always lock your bike, even if just to itself so it can't be ridden. Of course--don't expect a super-expensive, recognizeably nice bike to remain intact if locked only to itself, because it can still be lifted and carried short distances, but self-locking will work for cheap bikes, which are what most burner bikes should be anyway.

. . . No one really thinks they are "borrowing without permission" (though they might rationalise it as such) unless it's a community "Yellow Bike" (they're bright pea green).
Savannah wrote:I DID once have an expensive pair of scissors get borrowed and then innocently passed around, until the original person who borrowed them was unable to trace them and they were simply unfindable. That was heckin' annoying. (I no longer lend things out unless the person I'm lending to knows they may not lend the object to anyone else, & why. The object has to return to me first, then someone new--with the same understanding--can borrow them.) '
Oh my God, y'all, my dear friend Motsyroonmatick just mailed me a really lovely new pair of fancy titanium scissors because 1) he worried he was the one who ran off with them (HE WASN'T), and 2) even if he wasn't, he felt like that injustice should be rectified!

Too amazing. :shock: :D
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Wigwam
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Wigwam » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:43 pm

I would agree with most of the advice here. There are three categories of "stolen". Things that are taken. Things that are lost. Things that are misplaced, borrowed, left somewhere...

I generally recommend not bringing anything that can't be replaced. Don't bring your antique family heirloom ring or dishware. Bring a spare set of keys and secure them somewhere you can find them. Lock things in your car or hide them that are eye candy. Lock your bike. Every time. Have a spare key for that.

Finally, remember, if you set if free and it doesn't come back....yeah...whatever...
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XPTom
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by XPTom » Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:46 am

Savannah wrote:....... unless it's a community "Yellow Bike" (they're bright pea green).......
When I learned the yellow bikes
were green I knew this community was special
How many old burners does it take to change a light bulb? Just one to change the bulb..... and five more to reminisce how good the old bulb was....

flexibility is the key to success....... and poor planning is the key to flexibility

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dragonpilot
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by dragonpilot » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:06 pm

One of the best ways to get your bike taken: don't lock it when using the porta potties. "But I was only in there for 10 minutes!"
Don't bore your friends with all your troubles. Tell your enemies instead, for they will delight in hearing about them.

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