Secure your recording studio from thieves.

Attack Bunny on Guard - photo

I’m currently living in Berlin, Germany. It’s a non violent place to live and I always feel safe. However, theft and petty crime is rampant. A few months ago our storage space in the cellar was robbed. Last year my wife’s bicycle was stolen from our courtyard. What about recording studios here in Berlin? Unfortunately, I hear about a new robbery every few weeks. In the Prenzlauer Berg studio building complex I am in Jazzanova and Tobi Neuman’s studios were hit. Just last week Richie Hawtin’s custom Xone DJ Mixer was stolen when the Minus office was broken into. In Kreuzberg mySecurity Stencil - photo friend Rob Wolf recently opened a project studio in a newly renovated building and already there were two robberies reported.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a Berlin specific problem. In 1996 my studio was robbed in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. They stole almost everything including my underwear! The only things they didn’t take were my DAT tapes and my Electrocomp-101. Those were the two most valuable things I owned so I consider myself lucky. In the end it worked out for me because it forced me to move into Manhattan were I was much happier.

So what can you do? Nothing can stop thieves if they really want to get in but you can do a lot to deter them. Here are some ideas.

Secure your door. Make sure your door is metal or have an aluminum plate added to weak wood doors. Have at least two strong locks with key hole tampering shields. Have a deadbolt going into vertically into the floor 3-4 inches. Have a peep hole put into the door so you can see who wants to enter if you get a knock. Don’t have your studio or artist name on your door unless you have to.

Secure your building’s door. If you rent a studio in a commercial building talk with the landlord about securing the entrance doors. Put signs up asking people to close and lock the doors at all times. Put signs up stating trespassers will be prosecuted.

Window Bars - photoSecure your windows. If you have windows get security bars. Have window blinds or curtains closed most of the time.

Get some Radio Shack timers for your lights. When your away at a gig have the lights set to turn on and off.

Get an alarm system. Get one which monitors your doors, windows and has a motion detector. Have a 24 hour surveillance camera aimed at your entrance door. Learn how to set off the silent alarm and panic alarm. Get stickers from the alarm company and put them on all your doors and windows.

Get a guard dog. Pitbulls and Dobermans are the best choices but any dog with a loud bark will do. Put a “Beware of Dog” sign up.

Talk to your neighbors. Trade cell (mobile) numbers. If your the only person who has keys and can enter your studio let them know. Tell them if they see anyone else going in or out to call the cops.

Be ready to fight. I find a Police Flashlight and Leatherman handy in the studio for many things including “defending” yourself.

Have the Police on speed dial. In Germany you dial 110. It’s also a good idea to get your local precinct’s number.

Be insured. If all else fails and they do enter and take your things if you have insurance at least you can recover. I pay 350 euros a year for 30,000 euros worth of coverage. My coverage is also for fire, flood and electrical surges. I’m also covered when I travel with equipment and I am covered if a client decides to rob me once inside my room. I do not recommend When I used them they never answered my emails or returned my phone calls.

Record your equipment’s serial numbers. You will need to do this for your insurance anyway. Keep a copy of these numbers outside your studio. While your at it take some good photos of your studio.

Do you have any other ideas? Has your studio ever been robbed?

photo credits: The Rocketeer, Tal Bright and jgrantmac

Published by

Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

10 thoughts on “Secure your recording studio from thieves.”

  1. I worked for an alarm company for a moment, get glassbreak detectors and motion sensors / movement detectors. Pros can get past basic alarms as easy as a center punch in a window, as long as the alarm contact isnt moved and you dont have motion detectors they are free! Half the time its someone you know or maybe an inside job or a neighbor.

  2. some weeks ago the studio of a friend of me got robbed…fortunately the neighbor got home early, so the guy run outside with only his macbook pro…

    for this, I really recommend to buy this software program

    most importantly, it monitors the network from your stolen mac, so it knows where it is…besides this, it takes screenshots to see what the thief is doing/writing & it takes pictures with built-in camera (!!!). also it does some other cool stuff

    it’s nice to know that if your laptop is stolen, there IS a good chance that this program brings it back home…

      1. Great thanks Oliver. Is that the only type of insurance you have with them?

        I was inquiring with other companies and they wanted me to by all kinds of extra plans at ridiculous prices and it was a headache. So I truly appreciate your comments and advice

        So basically you have renters insurance with the ability to travel with a % of the gear?

          1. hhmmm. I’m just about to re-new my policy with MusicPro. I’m wondering what other people’s experience has been like with them. I wonder if I’m just wasting my money, now? I really appreciate the tip because I’m starting to perform out again, and cannot just “get a new computer” or other hardware if something should happen. I will give Allstate a call.

            Also @ Jack: thanks for the software tip!

  3. Just read this article and I am interested in renting a recording studio space in Prenzlauer Berg area.
    Anyone knows where this studio complex is located or just any other space for rent?
    Thanks in advance.

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