Things I Learned When We Were Burgled

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backups safety security
Last updated 16 November, 2017

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Waking up to a burgled house, a missing car and my DJ laptop also gone, I learned a few sharp lessons, but luckily I had done some things right.

“Phil, we’ve been robbed!”

That’s how I started last Wednesday morning, with my shaken partner shouting the bad news up the stairs at me. Struggling into clothes, I ran downstairs to where she and my one-year old boy were. Like us, my boy was sleeping when they struck, but unlike us, thankfully he didn’t know or care that someone had turned over his home, before making off with the family car.

The purpose of today’s post is not to explain what happened or to ask for sympathy (they broke in through an upstairs window, grabbed laptops, a phone, a camera, car keys, followed promptly by our car, and were out fast – no we didn’t wake up, and yes we’re all OK). No, the purpose of this is to share some lessons I learned from it.

What I learned from the experience

The thing is, nicking insured stuff is one thing (if you’re not insured, please do
it folks, especially if you are in rental accommodation where it’s easy to be blasé), but nicking income-generating stuff is something else entirely, and especially when that stuff is hard to replace. Because I have to be honest, while we counted up the missing things, it was the loss of my DJ laptop that hurt most. It was the only thing from Digital DJ Tips that was at home with me rather than safely locked in the office.

Luckily, I had a backup of all my music, so getting that back was easy; I downloaded it from my cloud storage and was done. What I hadn’t done though was back up my Serato database, and so I’ve lost all my cue points etc. No big deal: I DJ manually anyway and don’t cue or beatgrid much, but it still irks. If I’d have really cared, I’d have done that to be honest.

All my passwords were protected behind a master password – although I wish I’d done the same for the computer itself so they couldn’t log on and look at my family photos and personal emails, for instance. Also, I use DropBox rather than just local storage for boring but important day-to-day stuff; while they now had a copy of all of that, at least I still did too.

So as it turns out, we’re shaken, upset and saddened; but assuming the insurance are true to their part of the bargain, all we’ve lost is a bit of money (you always end up out of pocket one way or another) and a lot of time (I’m writing this in a police station, in a queue waiting to fill in yet another report). Could have been worse. But I really wouldn’t want anything similar to happen to you or your DJing gear. So my advice is: Don’t pretend you’re immune to this stuff. Back up your music, insure your gear, password protect your computer, write down serials and phone IMEIs, and keep all receipts. Oh, and take your car keys to bed with you.

And finally, don’t leave upstairs windows open. There’s sadly likely to be someone with a ladder who’s got his eye on your stuff.

PS: The reason I’m currently at the police station is actually good news: The car turned up, nearby and undamaged. One less thing to worry about. At least I can drive to Sunday’s gig now if I want to!

Well for once I sincerely hope you have no experiences to add in the comments below. Commiserations if you do, but if you feel it would help you to share, please feel free to do so.

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