Petty theft is nothing new to the scene but it feels as though pick-pocketers have been aggressively targeting festivals this year – and with great success. At crowd favorites like Electric Forest and Camp Bisco, we’ve heard reports of impressively high cell-phone theft. In rare cases the culprits have been caught, but not without leaving many to deal with the headache and hassle of being robbed. Below are some simple steps you can take to help mitigate some of the risk.

1.  Become the Predator


Prey is anti-theft software that is available across almost all operating systems and platforms. Free up to the first three devices, Prey will let you lock down & track your lost laptops, cell phones, and tablets, as well as recover & wipe data, play messages & alarms, and even secretly snap pictures of the thief.  Once you realize your device is missing, simply log on to, click “report as missing,” and the software will immediately begin to collect the data needed to get your gear back.  Note: Do NOT put your devices in Airplane mode to conserve battery – that will practically render this software useless as it disables GPS & cellular data. Low Power Mode is best.

2.  Bag & Tag


While anti-theft software is great, it isn’t fool-proof. That’s where Tile comes in. These little GPS-enabled squares are practical, discreet, and the battery lasts up to a year!  I personally like to inconspicuously sew them into the lining of my camera & laptop bags; there’s even one hidden in the casing of my laptop. At $25 a pop, they’re expensive – but $25/year is not as expensive as replacing any of my photography equipment or Apple products!

3.  Make It Weird


Cell phones are often swiped from back & side pockets so, to deter the perps, opt for a fanny pack with a front facing pouch. I imagine it may be a bit more difficult to not notice someone with their fingers in your fun zone. Or so I’d hope.

4.  Be Low Key


This one should be pretty obvious, unless you’re custy af, but basically don’t put a target on your back. Stay far away from tent locks – they’ll just slice your tent open anyway. If you make it known you have something to steal, you’re just increasing your chances of having it stolen. This applies across the board. If you’re selling anything (like pins, of course) people will know you probably have cash on you – or more goods stashed somewhere. Be smart. Be smooth. Be discreet.

5.  Stay Woke, Fam


While I would never blame a victim of theft, I will say that often there are definitely certain precautions that could have been taken. In an environment where theft is becoming exponentially more common, putting yourself in a vulnerable state is probably not the best idea. I know most of us are there to unwind and have fun – trust me, I love to indulge a bit myself – but it’s also important to be present & alert.  Moderation is key.  Stay woke.  Literally.


  • Backup all devices before bringing them out so your only true concern is recovering the hardware.
  • Enable Firmware password on your Macbook to prevent it from being wiped clean.
  • Artists/Photographers: Open an Inland Marine Insurance policy for your gear. Also DO NOT take off your backpack – ever! But if you must, don’t you dare let it out of your sight. Not even for a SECOND!

Have any other tips you’d like to share?  How do you keep your belongings safe during festival season?  Let me know in the comments!