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The Urban Geek As A Mugger Magnet?

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the beat-up-the-biggest-one-first dept.

Security 2063

CGP314 writes "I live in London and whenever I travel around, I feel like a huge target for muggers. Usually I take my laptop, iPod, cell phone and occasionally a PDA around with me. As with many geeks, these items hold within them far more value to me than anything I leave behind in my apartment. So I would like to know what my fellow urban geeks do to try and keep their valuables safe while traveling with them. I've switched my iPod headphones from the distinctive white to a boring black as a means of camouflage; are there any other suggestions?"

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Frist with INFO! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292112)

If you were to look up "dumb ass bitch" [] in the dictionary,
there is most certainly going to be a picture of this
woman. She's cruising around a part of town where cops are
in the process of busting drug dealers, and when they stop
her, she refuses to produce her drivers license.

Did it stop there? Ohhhhh noooooo! She gets out of the car,
disappears (how the cops let this happen I don't get), and
when she comes back she is still defiant. So they slap the
cuffs on her.

Did it stop there? Uh...not quite. As the 6'6" 300+ pound
cop is walking her to the car, she grabs the guy by the
nuts and starts to squeeze. I don't mean in the good way

Can you guess what happened? He beat the ever loving shit
out of her! Busted lip...broken teeth.

Just a warning ladies - most "real" men would never hit a
woman under any circumstances, unless you mess with our
balls. Once you cross that line you are fair game. It's a
survival instinct and any gender distinction you might have
had before is just simply gone. All we see is a mass of
hate trying to hurt "the boys" and you will be dealt with
most severely.

Feelings (2, Insightful)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292114)

I've felt this way many-a-time during middle and high school. I used to have locks on EVERYthing to prevent my stuff from being stolen.

Re:Feelings (4, Insightful)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292154)

Yeah, I just noticed that question at the end. Goes to show how reading is a good thing. I'd have to say the iPod headphone switch was a good move. But I don't think a laptop can be that easily concealed. Unless you have a cheap backpack or something, that'd about about all you can do to look inconspicuous. The most basic thing is to keep your stuff outta sight. I tried the cheap look once. It works pretty well, I must say.

yeah (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292116)

>"are there any other suggestions?"

Martial arts

btw; First post

Carry a gun (2, Insightful)

cyrax777 (633996) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292118)

Im not kidding get a Carry Concealed Weapon Permit.

Re:Carry a gun (5, Insightful)

telstar (236404) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292124)

"Im not kidding get a Carry Concealed Weapon Permit."
  • All that'll do is give the crazy soccer mom's another opportunity to blame DOOM for deaths...

Re:Carry a gun (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292173)

Oh, fantastic. The average iPod, laptop and PDA nerd pulling a gun on a mugger might just be the only thing stupider and more likely to get someone actually killed than the average joe doing it. Try not to shoot your own foot, or better yet, do- and then slump over and make sure you don't have any more bullets to get you in trouble.

Re:Carry a gun (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292144)

Wouldn't help the author, who lives in London.

Re:Carry a gun (3, Insightful)

eggz128 (447435) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292148)

Yeah, good luck with that in LONDON.

Re:Carry a gun (2, Insightful)

orz (88387) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292158)

I think it's a bit hard to do that in London that it is in the US.

Re:Carry a gun (2, Insightful)

Mskpath3 (764785) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292225)

England has (very famously) prosecuted a disabled man for using pepper spray for fighting off a mugger [] . I hardly think a concealed carry permit is even a remote possibility, seeing as how practically all firearms have been 100% banned in the country.

The basic freedom of self defense is seriously eroded in the UK. I have to chuckle when people like to throw around "Oh, Europe is truly free compared to the US.". Sorry - if you can't even fight off a mugger with pepper spray, you're a serf. Nothing more.

Re:Carry a gun (-1, Troll)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292163)

I live in London...

I guess you didn't see this? They don't trust their citizens to own guns. No worry for the muggers! They don't have to risk being shot to steal all your high tech gadgets.

Re:Carry a gun (1)

tmillard (757681) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292248)

When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.

Re:Carry a gun (2, Insightful)

Ralph Yarro (704772) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292169)

Im not kidding get a Carry Concealed Weapon Permit.

In London???

Re:Carry a gun (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292177)

How is this flamebait? Offtopic, perhaps, because the guy is in London (so he can't get one), but I hardly think the mere mention of firearms is flamebait.

Re:Carry a gun (1)

Doug Neal (195160) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292221)

London's not in the USA yet.

Not a problem here (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292119)

Amongst my many gadgets I carry I also have my concealed weapons permit and a locked and loaded Glock 36 with HydraShok .45 ACP Hollowpoints.

Re:Not a problem here (2, Funny)

IAR80 (598046) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292161)

I often take a LAW with me.

Re:Not a problem here (2, Insightful)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292170)

I totally agree, right now hoping to get a Glock 26 for CC. However, he lives in London. The UK has enacted a total gun ban, and consequently, violent crime rates have gone up. Way up. London, along with Paris, are now the crime capitals of the Western world. As a previous poster said, the best thing to do would be to leave London. I'd say not only leave London, but move to a region where self-defense isn't a crime.

Re:Not a problem here (1)

Ithika (703697) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292212)

I'll think you'll find that is complete bollocks, for want of a more eloquent way of putting it. Glasgow, for example, has the highest actual murder rate and highest rate per person out of the whole country.

My (west coast) flatmate is quite proud of the fact. :)

Re:Not a problem here (4, Interesting)

name773 (696972) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292215)

you know, i'd rather have my stuff stolen than live with shooting someone... even a crook.

Re:Not a problem here (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292228)

Got any evidence of these violent crime rates shooting way up in London? Or is this just another a case of 'proof by blatant assertion'? I call BS, crime rates in the UK have been going down across the board for years.

While you're digging out crime statistics, how about some US & UK gun related death figures? Particularly interesting are those ones about how much more likely you are to get shot if you own a gun for 'your protection'...

Re:Not a problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292196)

Also I suggest renting a stack of Charles Bronson movies.

Re:Not a problem here (1)

Q Who (588741) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292211)

Let me guess, it is not a problem there, because you shoot targets really well in the shooting range?

I guess it will be very entertaining when your weapon will be used against you the moment you get it out.

Every geek with his protection: (0, Redundant)

konichiwa (216809) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292120)


not much you can do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292123)

Make backups and look menacing.

Oh yeah. And leave London.

Even living in NYC for years I never worried about this sort of stuff...

Re:not much you can do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292210)

Oh yeah. And leave London.

Even living in NYC for years I never worried about this sort of stuff...

Werd. NYC has really changed from the old days. Unless you are trying to buy crack on 168th Street in Harlem I don't think this is much of a problem.

Re:not much you can do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292243)

That was my point.

Even traversing occasionally through the Bronx I never worried much (had an NY state EMT course plus some service work I did up there, periodically, sometimes at night, sometimes during daylight hours and I'M A GIRL!!).

Now back in the late 80s, even the Upper West (say 86th & Columbus) was a lot sketchier.

You know... pre-Rudy.

ATTENTION: Important information about John Kerry! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292125)

John Kerry has been COMPROMISED BY THE JEWS!!!!! []

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.


Can it run Linux (664464) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292126)

Please steal my account!

Login: Can it run Linux
Password: slashdot

omg ror lolf (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292188)

it's already stoled

wait a minute... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292127)

you go outside?

its all about the accessories (5, Insightful)

lawngnome (573912) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292128)

Ditching the white earphones was a good first step - I would also suggest not using a fancy case to carry around your laptop - those leather targus bags just scream "look at me! expensive stuff here!"

Re:its all about the accessories (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292176)

I agree, but should clarify. The reason to disguise your iPod ownership is not because they're particularly attractive to thieves (they're not), but because they flag the owner as likely being gay.

Re:its all about the accessories (5, Funny)

Suburbanpride (755823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292219)

I carry my shiny 12 inch Powerbook inside an old bag that I picked up at an army surplus store. I alwasy get strange looks whien I sit down in a coffee shop and instead of pulling out a tattered note book, I pull out a laptop.

Recently while on a train, I had my laptop, iPod, and digital camera sitting out on my lap. Carrying $2500+ used to make me nervous, although I've gotten used to it now.

Re:its all about the accessories (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292244)

Very good point about the computer case. A regular backpack (what I use) is a lottery for thieves; it could contain anything from some cheap books to an expensive laptop. A more specialized computer bag would almost certainly contain a laptop. If I were a thief, I know which one I'd try to swipe.

Get a gun (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292129)

Certain states in America have concealed carry laws... come here and pack a gat.

Re:Get a gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292207)

Stop talking in that damn nigger language.

Re:Get a gun (1)

KingDaveRa (620784) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292238)

Yes, because laws like that are what made the world such a wonderful place.

Sickens me so much that a slashot topic should be like this. I'm amazed we live in such a world. Having said that, I walk around London with my hands planted firmly in pockets and I hold onto my wallet for dear life. London isn't any worse than any other city though. The fact there's more people about makes it easier for pickpockets and muggers to do their work.

Look Alert (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292131)

It's not what you have, it's whether you look like an easy target or not. Look around as you walk, be alert, notice people and make sure they know you notice them, but don't stare. Don't slouch and stare at the ground.

Re:Look Alert (5, Insightful)

scrotch (605605) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292235)

Do what I do:
- cut your own hair. badly.
- get pierced a few times.
- get a tattoo or two.
- wear old clothes. don't wash them often.
- use an old bag (bookbag/shoulderbag).

Look like you might take something rather than have something taken from you. It's remarkably easy, and it helps you avoid people that judge others by their appearance...

And never carry any weapon unless you're 100 percent confident that it couldn't be taken from you if you were surprised by four large men.

Re:Look Alert (5, Insightful)

jnik (1733) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292249)

Look like you might take something rather than have something taken from you. It's remarkably easy, and it helps you avoid people that judge others by their appearance...
Except maybe police and security personnel, who are notorious about that sort of thing.

I've always found that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292132)

Making it appear that you have a girlfriend always seems to throw off people looking for geeks to mug.

Tae Kwon Do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292134)

May not be a very obvious defense, but it's effective.

well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292135)

... that's easy, add a gun to what you carry. If you're in America it's the 2nd amendment and your right... er... only your right if your're 18 and usually only if you're 21 ... and only if you pass a check, and only if you buy a certian type of gun and only with a permit... so, um carry a bat ??

Some ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292137)

Since you're a Londoner, these aren't options for you, but they work for me:
  1. Don't be (or look like) an utter wimp.
  2. Put your valuable stuff in a bag, rather than waving your PDA, iPod, and other geek crap around in an effort to make yourself look l33t.
  3. Carry a gun, and if someone tries to rob you, blow his head clean off.
Like I said, impossible for you, but perhaps of use to readers in the rest of the world.

Re:Some ideas (1)

gspr (602968) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292252)

Carry a gun, and if someone tries to rob you, blow his head clean off.
Ah yes - the way to go to make the world a better place! *Sigh*

Well, in a perfect world. (4, Funny)

re-Verse (121709) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292138)

Tap in to the matrix and suddenly "I know Kung-Fu

Yeah, that would be nice.

Wearable computers? (4, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292141)

Do you think THIS is one of the reasons people have been interested in wearable computer devices? So they are less of a burden to carry around with you? Hrmmm...

Now to clarify the question, is this guy a huge target because he carries too much crap or because he's huge?

Get a gun (3, Insightful)

eggstasy (458692) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292142)

Or at least a self-defense course.
People all over the world should be given the right, nay, the duty to defend themselves with lethal force from the worthless scum of the world.
I've been mugged several times myself, so please excuse my bitterness.

Re:Get a gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292162)

This is London!

They have a communist mayor for crying out loud!

It's a classic example of, when guns are outlawed...

Just ask Julia Roberts, Madonna, and every other celeb in London who's been (sometimes violently) mugged.

Re:Get a gun (1)

fredrickleo (711335) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292198)

Yeah, learning to fight is probably the best thing to do. May I sincerely recommend Gracie Jiu Jitsu, it is an excellent style that can be used in many situations and will allow you too out manuever oponents who may be larger, stronger or faster than you, seriusly its about technique and "Gracie" is easy to learn and you can practice with your friends with out getting hurt.

Instead of prevention.... (2, Interesting)

biosx (267723) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292143)

Instead of prevention, why not just carry something to defend yourself with? Pepper spray, pocket knife, or a kubaton [] .

Re:Instead of prevention.... (1)

Piggymon (708786) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292168)

Carrying around weapons seems like an excellent way of getting yourself assaulted or killed instead of just losing some stuff.

Re:Instead of prevention.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292242)

You're going to get assaulted anyway.. might as well fight back.

Are you nuts? (1)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292226)

Hey, great idea! Once you're in custody, in the back of a police car, after you've been arrested for carrying an offensive weapon your chances of being mugged drop dramatically!

Seriously, carrying a concealed weapon that could get you a criminal record and a nice custodial sentence of your own is not the way to avoid trouble.

make it look cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292145)

I travel with everything I own in a crummy-looking backpack. Walking around with a distinctive black laptop bag is asking for trouble. Just make yourself look like the least likely candidate to be carrying lots of technology.

Weigh your options... (1, Insightful)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292146)

Is it more important to you to have these items on you while you're out, or is it more important to you that they be safe?

If the answer is that you must have them on you, then try to avoid "bad parts" of town and accept the fact that you're putting yourself in a dangerous position. Pray to your deity. Consider carrying a tazer.

If the answer is that you'd rather hang on to them for the long run, leave the damn things at home.

Not carrying nearly enough.... (5, Funny)

Rahga (13479) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292147)

You'll have to check the laws in your area, but at the very least, the list is missing a knife, pepper spray, brass knuckles, and a packet of instant foam... Bite into it, then the attacker, and do your best to fake rabies. :)

An universal truth (5, Informative)

E_elven (600520) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292150)

Look like you know exactly what you're doing, and that you belong exactly where you are. Don't show fear. Don't run past the sketchy neighboroughs. Don't glance around. Strut. Don't look at maps. Don't stare at people, but return their look if given one.

Hide them!!! (0, Flamebait)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292153)

Nobody will steal them if they don't know you have them. Switching the headphones on the iPod was a good idea. Are you even a geek if you own an the overpriced, low battery, low sound quality item that is the iPod. Real geeks use Zen Xtra, Karma, or iRiver iHP-1x0.

Idea (1, Redundant)

Have Blue (616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292155)

Don't buy a fancy bag that obviously has a laptop in it, just get some generic (or even better, old and slightly beaten up) bag and put your laptop in there, with a padded cover so it stays protected.

Go ahead... (0, Offtopic)

Trailwalker (648636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292164)

Here in Virginia, the concealed carry permit allows one to do an imitation of Dirty Harry.

A lead induced lobotomy cures most criminal impulses.

In London,and those parts of the U.S. where the rights of criminals are paramount, you should at least show the thief how to operate the equipment and then thank him for helping making your trip lighter and easier.

A true geek... (5, Funny)

maxbang (598632) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292165)

doesn't go out. Therefore, I don't really see a problem here.

off-site backups --not just for corporations (4, Insightful)

everyplace (527571) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292167)

Living in cities with anything like a decent crime rate, I view mugging and / or damage to equipment that I carry regularly as inevitible, and plan accordingly. The data that my equipment carries far exceeds the cost of the equipment itself, so I try to keep backups of data on another machine at my house or in another location entirely.

I will say though, I was working at a convenience store a few years ago, and got held up at gun point while developing on my powerbook. All I could think about while handing them the money from the register was to position myself in exactly the right place so that the gunman couldn't see my laptop directly behind me. Ever since that close call, I've stuck to my "guns" when it comes to regular backups.

Re:off-site backups --not just for corporations (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292200)

Yet another Mac-zealott willing to sacrifice his life for his Mac...

Re:off-site backups --not just for corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292217)

Let me get this right: You were at work, in a store, and you got held up at gunpoint whilst working on your powerbook? You know, if you hadn't been so absorbed in something your boss wasn't paying you to do, you might have noticed them come in the door and raise the alarm. I have a tip for the future: when put in charge of looking after a cash register stuffed with cash, try and stay alert on the task at hand and perhaps you won't get robbed so often.

Re:off-site backups --not just for corporations (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292240)

when put in charge of looking after a cash register stuffed with cash, try and stay alert on the task at hand and perhaps you won't get robbed so often.

I don't see why. when a guy walks in the door and pulls a gun, there's not much you can do (unless you manage to shoot him.

Yep, another CCW person weighs in. (1, Insightful)

Scot Seese (137975) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292172)

Exercise your 2nd amendment rights and obtain a concealed carry permit. Oh, wait..

Sorry guys, I couldn't resist, having noted that most of the early posts went the same way. I enjoy having mine. It's not the posessions so much as your life - Remember, when seconds count, help is only minutes away.

Here is what you do (4, Funny)

FS1 (636716) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292174)

1. Don't shower for weeks on end
2. Where cloths multiple times
3. Find the dirtiest, nastiest bag you can to put your stuff in

oh wait your a geek, you already do those three things.

Re:Here is what you do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292251)


1. Don't shower for weeks on end.
2. Wear clothes multiple times.
3. Find the dirtiest, nastiest bag you can to put your stuff in.

Oh wait, you're a geek. You already do those three things.

Common Sense (1)

Cyphen (677350) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292175)

I use a nondescript backpack that looks more like it's for school (of course, I'm still of school age, which makes a difference), and I would suggest not walking up to people saying, "Man, I'm loaded with expensive electronics! I hope no one mugs me!"

Two things (5, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292178)

1. I've lived in London for the last 18 years, since being 18 in fact, all over from Finsbury Park to Streatham, From Acton to Walthamstow, and even in South Kensington and Victoria, which covers a large area. I've never felt particularly at risk. Ever. Admittedly I'm a 6'2 male, and I walk around with confidence in my stride but I've been in far more dangerous places than London.

2. Are you seriously telling me that you carry around with you data that you can't recover ?? No-one expects you to pray to the backup gods religiously every morning before breakfast, but seriously it's not hard to keep things at least roughly synced with a more-permanent base. Use any PC, connect 'em up and hit go, grab a coffee and it's done.

I don't expect to get mugged, but there's always the chance I'll forget to pick up my bag, or drop the portable, or some idiot will spill his pint of beer over me, or (pick some random occurrence). BACK IT UP!

[aside: I *have* heard from Ipod owners (I'm not one such) that the white earphones are in fact the cause of several muggings, and they're crap quality anyway, so I can understand ditching them. That's about the only step I'd take though, and more for quality reasons than safety ones]


I feel ya.... (1)

Daemonik CyCow (719521) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292179)

I know what you mean... What I do is carry myself like a thug, when I am not dressed up for work (GOD FORBID)... And when I run into the wrong type, I just let them know,w ith my eyes, my actions, my feelings, my soul, that I aint anybody they should be ***** with... It's an attitude I learned when I was homeless in the city with a $5,ooo dollar camera outfit in my backpack... And I once had a kid pull a gun out on me... You know what I did>? I looked him in the eye, gave him that (not attitude, but thought, sense, whatever)((quantumn> taht he should not touch me... and I walked right passed him. It's in the attitude. And if your still worried about your PB, well, get insurance...

Uh, don't carry everything everywhere? (1)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292180)

This seems obvious, but I'll bite. How about instead of taking all that crap with you by default, you *only* bring what you'll absolutely need. If you have your laptop with you, for example, do you really need your iPod? Or a PDA? Practically everyone carries a cell phone around nowadays, so I unless you have a riced out one, I don't think the cell phone is as much of a problem as the other big ticket items.

If you must carry it all around, I suggest concealing it in a similar manner as you did with the iPod earphones. Be careful of where you flash your toys around. If, for example, you take your iPod to lunch with you, then when you get up to grab a handful of napkins, stick that sucker in your pocket, not in your bag. Be cautious, but not paranoid. And, it should go without saying, but if you're worried about muggers, don't walk around with headphones on.

Probably not ideal but... (1)

mivok (621790) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292183)

Insure everything and backup regularly. Unless you are really lucky, you will get mugged at some point (or at least you have to assume so), and there is nothing you can do to prevent it completely (although not making yourself an obvious target may lessen the risk somewhat). It's best to make sure that when it happens, it is nothing more than a minor annoyance.

(Disclaimer - I have never been mugged, I'm merely paranoid)

physical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292184)

Ok, for those of us who don't live in Yankee doodle land (US) and can't carry guns. I suggest doing weights and cardio, then taking self defense classes. Then when I stupid bloke tries to take your stuff give it to him and tell him to take a flying F*@#.

You live in Britain... (1)

Nogeel (656959) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292185)

... you have no right to defend yourself against a mugger so get it insured and make lots of back ups ;) (I am an American who has been living in Birmingham, UK for the past 2 years)

Don't let others know what you are carying (5, Informative)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292186)

Just like you've done with the iPod headphones, ideally nobody should be able to tell you are carying a laptop, PDA, etc.

I carry my laptop, PDA and minidisk player (yes, it's not an iPod, but it's still worth quite a bit) wherever I go, but because I use a regular backpack to hold everything, I'm as safe as anyone else. I use a sleeve bag for the laptop, with hard padding all around. That way in my backpack, even when surrounded by books, binders and other things, my laptop can take a fair amount of pressure without any problems. I even rode my motorcycle and my bycicle, and nothing happened (no, I did not fall, but the bumps would have cracked a less protected laptop).

The absolute worse you can do is carry a leather Targus bag. It's as close to wearing a "Rob ME!" sticker on your back as possible.

Insurance (2, Informative)

3l1za (770108) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292187)

You don't say whether the laptop et al is yours or company property... so I'm assuming the former. In which case I think you can get homeowner's (alt. renter's) insurance that will cover these items.

Then make sure you back them up periodically.

And if there's anything sensitive on them, make sure you encrpyt it.

That should cover all the exigencies.
This is definitely a case of plan to fail gracefully b/c once you get tagged, it's a little out of your control...

Problem? (5, Funny)

telstar (236404) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292189)

Most of the joy of gadgets is the researching, selecting, ordering, and receiving anyway ... After you get it, it's obsolete and you've already moved onto the next new thing. Think of muggers as helpers ... They clean out the old obsolete gadgets so you can research/select/order new expensive shiny gadgets.

weapon crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292190)

Carrying a pocket knife around is a bad idea unless your Chuck Norris. Your best bet is concealing your stuff realy well. Maybe buy a cheap shoulder bag that looks like crap. Oh... and try wearing a gilly suit :p

Camouflage (2, Funny)

Rick Zeman (15628) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292191)

Travel with a girl. They'll never identify you as a geek then!

Easy solution... (1)

heretic108 (454817) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292192)

...have the hardware surgically implanted.

Present-day muggers don't usually carry around X-Ray or MRI equipment, and usually don't have surgical instruments in their possession (except for organ muggers, but that's a different story).

Stop caring... (3, Insightful)

Sophrosyne (630428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292201)

Life is too short to walk around worrying about muggers.
I think this has to be the worst ask slashdot yet.

Four rules of thumb (1)

halftrack (454203) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292202)

(1)Insurance and (2)backup for when shit hits the fan. And if you don't want your data to end up in the wrong hands keep it (3)encrypted. (Password + maybe separate crypto key on a thumb drive.)

My sister recently got lifted for her video cam. It was between her feet but someone distracted her for a moment and it was gone. So to avoid getting mugged it may seem that (4)always holding on to your things may help. (E.g. when you sit down; keep your things between your legs and keep the handles in your hands or around your wrist.)

Re:Four rules of thumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292213)

Man, if somebody's sister had a video camera between her legs, I'd be more interested in the footage than the camera... The their could've just stolen the tape!

Hit the gym every once in a while ;) (1)

dusanv (256645) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292209)

I am pretty much as you - my PowerBook and other digital goodies always go with me and somehow I don't feel like a target. The other option is not to take a bath for a week before the trip or better yet, go to the gym for a week without taking a bath and the muggers will be afraid of you - trust me on this one.

Look poor (1)

forklifttruck (734367) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292218)

As someone in the same position I take my laptop around in a dull outdoor rucsac whilst wearing a fleece and jeans and don't look like I'm worth mugging.

Another idea is to put personal/private/important data on a laptop onto and only onto a USB pen drive hidden in tiny pocket where muggers won't find it, cos equipment can be insured/replaced but that data must only be in your hands.

STOP de "get a gun" madness! (0, Troll)

dark-br (473115) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292220)

And have a look here [] at 40 Reasons to Support Gun Control.

The chances are that you will not have the same experience with guns as the mugger anyways and prob. he will take your gadgets AND the gun.

Plus carring a gun is the best way of getting shot at.

Let's meet and talk. (4, Funny)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292223)

I'd really like to help you out with this. Could we get together in person to discuss it? Please reply to this post with the time and place you want to meet, and when you come, make sure to bring all your expensive gear. I'd prefer a time late at night, and someplace out of the way and quiet. Maybe an alley?

I've heard one or two stories of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9292227)

But come on .. what are the real statistics?

Easy Answer. (1)

OS24Ever (245667) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292229)

Renter/home owner/additional insurance for your devices. Then save early, save often on something you keep at home or another safe location.

If someone wants to take your stuff, they will. Even if you could carry a gun it'd probably just mean you'd get shot faster.

Attitude Is Important (4, Informative)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292231)

One of the cardinal rules of sneaking around is to act like you own the place you're breaking in to. That way it's very unlikely people will question you. The same goes for traveling with expensive stuff-- don't be self-conscious about it, because it will show. The trained thief knows how to discern between the guy nonchalantly walking by (who likely has nothing of value) and the guy casting panicked stares around him (who, in all likelihood, is either loaded or stoned-- money either way).

A lot of people are advocating the carriage of weaponry, and I can't agree with that. Just act calm, like nothing on your person is worth being hassled over, and you'll be fine.

Incidentally, I used to traipse around downtown Erie back in my college days carrying a whole hell of a lot of heavy crap-- typically college books, cell phone, Game Boy, a PDA for a brief time, and other miscellaney. I quickly learned the value of a) miniaturizing and b) wearing clothes with lots of pockets. My favorite winter coat has 10 pockets, 4 of which are positively huge. When I had all my gear in it, including gloves and hat, it must have weighed at least six pounds; I remember it would always tip over whatever rack I hung it on. Something to think about, I guess.

incase of theft (1)

ricochet81 (707864) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292234)

dont forget to record your serial numbers and MAC addresses and all that stuff. Not getting it stolen is priority, but having a good record of what could be stolen, especially a wifi card with a mac address some wardriver might pick up. I would image there is some kinda database for stolen wifi cards, and I would assume most thieves dont know how to change a MAC address.

Move to Korea ! (1)

fredrickleo (711335) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292236)

you could also move to Korea ! it's so safe here that you could pass out drunk in the street with your bag of electronics and the worst that would happen is some concerned passer-by might try to wake you up.

Stay out of Hackney (1)

DrJAKing (94556) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292245)

1. Don't listen to the people telling you to get a gun. They are clearly dumb anyway as they should have noticed you live in London and that would mean you would have to hook up with much badder people that street muggers to even get one. But mainly because the best thing to do if you get mugged is hand it over and get over it. A few bits of kit are not worth physical injury, or even worth the trouble of hurting someone else. If you can afford an ipod you can afford a decent insurance policy that would cover it, so just consider the cost of that as peace of mind.

2. Carry your kit in a crappy bag.

3. Walk around gesticulating wildly to the halucinations and shouting nonsense words.

4. Stay out of Hackney.

Stun gun (1)

ivan1011001 (751254) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292246)

Build and carry one of these. []

Tips on how to avoid being robbed (2, Informative)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292250)

This is an excellent site, lots of free material from an expert:

Tips on how to avoid being robbed []

Terminally stupid, almost (1)

catfood (40112) | more than 10 years ago | (#9292254)

Sooooo... it was mid-1999 and I was starting on a contract with a new client in Philadelphia. They flew me in from Cleveland on Sunday night, and my hotel was right on the river. A quick check of public transit maps showed that I could catch the R1 line to Center City and then ride the Blue Line over to Second Street, with only a short walk to the river from there.

Yeah. Right. At eleven o'clock at night. Loaded down with a laptop and travel suitcase. Under bridges and stuff, down unlit streets, not sure exactly where I was going.

It wasn't the brightest thing I'd ever done, but I managed to get to the hotel unscathed, and it impressed the hell out of my colleagues. They knew not to mess with me. :-)

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