Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Crime Transportation Technology

Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Devices For Luggage? 293

New submitter SkinnyFatSmoothNeck writes "I'll be taking a long train ride in the coming month and I'm looking for ideas and recommendations on anti-theft devices to be used for carry-on luggage. The obvious precautions are always taken: never letting the bag out my sight, wrapping the bag strap around my leg while stowed and so on. But as this is a long ride, there will be a couple of nights involved. The first thing that came to my mind is a two-part device that triggers based on a specified proximity and is controlled from a remote (ie.: the device would be placed inside the bag and trigger a loud alarm if it strays outside of range). Perhaps a more advanced, albeit more expensive, device could also include GPS tracking. But beyond that, what other creative, ingenious or downright sensible solutions do you have to offer?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Devices For Luggage?

Comments Filter:
  • hooked on high tech? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hurfy ( 735314 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:44PM (#42630947)

    Low tech answer is the alarms for elderly people getting up out of bed/chair. Just an alarm box with magnet on a string clipped to person. If they get up it pulls the magnet off the string and sets off the alarm. Should be $50 or less. Clip the string to bottom of bag and hook the alarm to a chair leg or fixture nearby.

    Or a GPS device with the tracker app and a tablet...of course if the tablet is in the bag.....


  • luggage loser (Score:5, Interesting)

    by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:46PM (#42630965)
    this is what works for me: hideously ugly and decrepit luggage. Since 1992. Never failed once.
  • dead or alive? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chaseshaw ( 1486811 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:46PM (#42630967)
    is your goal theft prevention, or thief incapacitation?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:54PM (#42631021)

    You could try a carabiner to attach it to something; but I think that would just advertise that there might be something worth taking.

    My real solution, which I use when traveling, is to budget for a loss, and not carry anything in detachable luggage I can't replace. Ireplacables (or difficult to replace) goes on my person.

  • ..Blend in (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Archon-X ( 264195 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:58PM (#42631053)

    Use ugly, beaten up, non descript luggage.
    Place your valuables (cash, cards, passport) in a small bag - and stuff it down the front of your pants.
    Carry a 'fake' wallet with your day cash, and an expired card or two. Money belts / around the neck pouches are no secret. If you get jumped, they'll look for them. If someone has their hands down the front of your pants, you've got bigger problems.

    I find these are the perfect size for the passport: [] - and you get a travel tower, too!

    Most importantly: don't panic, and don't be over-protective of your luggage. Oppurtunistic theives (presumably these are the ones you're trying to prevent) - take body language seriously.

    I kind of get the feeling you're taking the trans-siberian train (or similar).. If that's the case, just relax.

    The above is tried and tested personally 3x across russia, iran, turkmenistation, ouzbekistan, tadjikistan, kazakstan, mongolia, china, nepal, south america, cambodia, ukraine, etc etc etc - in buses, trains and bikes.

  • Re:just google it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by swampfriend ( 2629073 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:02PM (#42631447)
    Don't put an alarm on your luggage. Please. For the sake of all the other passengers, please don't use one.

    I don't have any hard science to back this up, but past experience compels me to guess that you are likely to set it off accidentally many times for every one time it's set off by theft.

    It will cause problems if you are separated from your bag by security personnel in the course of routine security measures, and that might subject you to non-routine security measures.

    A proximity alarm will not prevent someone from taking just the things they want to steal and leaving the rest. An alarm that activates if the luggage is opened seems to me like a more expensive alternative to a crate.

    If I were a thief with your luggage and it started making an alarm noise, I would get rid of it and distance myself from it as fast as possible, without caring about the longevity of the contents. You can see how this might work on a train. Even a loud alarm would be hard to hear when it's sitting on the trestles twenty miles behind you.

    I think the most sensible security advice, which has probably been repeated elsewhere here, is that you shouldn't be carrying anything you couldn't stand to lose. If there's some kind of special circumstance here you should just talk to the people at the train station if they have a safe, a cargo cage, or some other secure place so that you aren't wrestling with paranoia the whole time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:44PM (#42631677)

    Luggage theft depends on the country. It is/was common in Italy for decades. A couple of points:

    a.) You are asleep. Even if you are disturbed you will not wake up quickly and will not realise what's going on.

    b.) The lock on the cabin door is useless

    Here's what worked for me back in the day when I was backpacking:

    1. Get a compartment where you can pull down the seats to form beds (this only applies to old style European trains)

    2. Have 3-4 companions in the compartment

    3. Put all of your bags next to the window

    Result, any theif is going to have to climb across 3-4 sleeping people to have a hope of getting near the bags. It's an impossible task

    Couchettes are more dangerous as they consist of bunks with a central aisle that you can't block. In that case, sleep with your baggage between you and the wall. That gives you a bit of a chance

    Lastly, if there are guys hanging around in the corridor, talk to the concierge and insist he remove them as they obviously don't have couchette tickets and shouldn't be there. I wish you luck but your milage will vary as sometimes (often?) the concierge is bribed.

    I speak from experience here, I once woke up to find someone rummaging around in my young daughters toy bag - which looked like a handbag. I came close to throttling the guy. He claimed to be looking for cigarettes.

  • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:33PM (#42631901) Homepage

    TSA checkpoints are at train stations as well.

    That was something I could never understand. Why would the TSA even need to be concerned about trains? A terrorist wouldn't board a train with a bomb. A terrorist would plant a bomb in a strategic location somewhere along the tracks, and blow it up from a safe distance. Of course, the TSA desperately needs to justify its existence and taking the security theater show on the road is one way to do it. Wait a year or two and they'll be in shopping centers, theaters, malls, sports events, and your neighborhood. Your papers, please.

  • Check in a gun (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bubblegoose ( 473320 ) <[bubblegoose] [at] []> on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:41PM (#42631929) Homepage Journal
    Having a gun, any gun, even a starter pistol, subjects your luggage to tighter security. For instance, when I checked a rifle for a hunting trip, the TSA walked me back to a room, made sure the rifle was unloaded and watched me lock the case. Then they handed me a receipt. They pay extra attention to that piece of luggage. When my plane landed, someone escorted my locked case out to me, matched the tag on the on the case with my receipt, checked my ID and gave me my case. There is no way they would have lost that piece of luggage. I bet if my case had been lost or stolen, there would have been a lockdown and search. Lifehacker detailed that same thing, I guess professional photographers pick up a $20 starter pistol just for this purpose. []
  • Re:decoy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Saturday January 19, 2013 @01:31AM (#42632313)

    " If your luggage appears to be the least valuable luggage on the train, it will be stolen last."

    BTW, from time to time there are sales of found luggage at train stations. Tens of thousands of pieces are left on trains each year, you can bid on them with their original content. It's a cheap way to get sturdy luggage for small money. You could choose one that looks worse than it is, to deter thieves.

  • by TekWare ( 1792534 ) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:48PM (#42634861)
    You are exactly correct on this. I once spent some time in the Amazon in Equador. Was rained on for days. On trip back out of jungle, caught jungle bus (rooftop ride), only to encounter the bridge was washed out. Hiked 17km with all my gear to get to Tena. Literally caught bus to Quito by running in front of it. Hoped on bus for a long bus ride. Two hours later bus was stopped at army checkpoint where we had to show our papers. Everyone was allowed back on the bus but me. Spent 4 hours standing next to guys with machine guns (furious staring does not harm them), until I was able to stop a pickup truck and hired the guy to take me to Quito for $10US. Spent the night in the back of the truck lying on sacks of coffee beans watching the Southern Cross as we drove through the Andes Mountains. He dropped my off at Quito International at 6am with minutes to spare. Had time to shrink wrap my backpack and board my flight - still in the same clothes and boots I was wearing in the jungle the day before. When I landed in Panama you have to push a red button at customs. If the light flashes green you go on your way. If it flashes red you get searched. I got red. They made me take the shrink wrap off my backpack, as they were asking me where I had been and what I was doing. Long story short, she only got the zip on the pack open about six inches, as I was explaining I had just came from the Amazon Jungle. She was getting a good whiff of me by then too. The zip was quickly done right back up and I was sent on my way.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury