St. Louis doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to crime – it seems you can’t go a week without hearing stories about car break-ins or a band in town for the weekend having their equipment stolen.
However, the streets of downtown may have become a little safer as a recent theft ring linked to more than 100 break-ins over the past several years has been broken up by St. Louis police.
Six individuals have been charged so far and more than 800 pieces of stolen property have been recovered, ranging from purses and cellphones to laptops and music gear.
In fact, there was such a large volume of stolen goods confiscated that a new page had to be created on the police department’s website in order to help return everything to their rightful owners.
Good News For Touring Bands
Our city has long been known as the capital of band thefts. And while everyone in the music industry understands you can get ripped off anywhere when you’re on the road, the risk in St. Louis is considered to be much higher.
Whether St. Louis is truly a hot spot for band thefts compared to similar cities or it’s just conjecture based on the publicity these stories receive, it still has a negative impact on the music scene in our city.
Who knows how many great bands have skipped St. Louis on their tours because of the negative reputation?
The good news? Since the arrests a few weeks ago, police have noticed a marked decrease in the number of break-ins.
While our city still has a lot of work to do in cutting down crime, hopefully breaking up this organized thieving ring will put a dent in property theft.
Tips For Keeping Your Equipment Safe On The Road
If you follow the indie music scene, you’ve probably seen this meme somewhere on social media: “A musician is someone who loads $5,000 worth of equipment into a car worth $500 to drive 100 miles to a gig that pays $50.”
As many bands ranging from regional acts to those on the national stage will tell you, this is often not even an exaggeration. Since your gear is obviously essential to any band, it is crucial you take steps to protect your equipment when you are on tour.
- Try to avoid trailers – Trailers are far more obvious targets and make it much easier for thieves to make off with an entire band’s worth of gear.
- Invest in locks and GPS tracking – Heavy duty locks, GPS tacking devices hidden in vehicles / gear and alarms can go a long way in preventing gear from being stolen and help increase your chances of tracking it down if you are ripped off.
- Don’t leave your equipment unattended. Ever. – Even if you are just stopping somewhere for lunch, always have someone watching your equipment. Your gear can be stolen even if your vehicle is visible from inside the restaurant.
- Unpack every night – Obviously if it’s unwise to leave your gear in the car even for a quick lunch, it is crucial that you move everything inside when it’s time to crash.
- Go incognito – it may seem like a good marketing plan to plaster your band’s name on the side of your van, but that super sweet logo is just a bull’s-eye for crooks. Keeping a low profile can help you avoid the attention of thieves.
St. Louis needs to turn its reputation around since we are a very convenient stop for many touring performers. Hopefully the recent bust is a big step in that direction.