Crime near the water

With the economic problems around, do you get concerned about paddling in some areas?

Do you prepare in some ways for this? Like carry a weapon?

Do you feel safe leaving your car in remote areas?


No, No


I always worried anyway
Economic crisis may increase the odds of something bad, but the threat was always there and always will be ANY TIME you leave your vehicle unattended, by the water or elsewhere.

So far at least, it has not changed where I consider paddling. The places I considered too high risk still are (for me), so I just don’t go there. None of them are that desirable to me anyway.

My prep is to set the antitheft system any time I leave the vehicle and to cover up the VIN label. I also do not leave anything of value lying on the seat, etc. I do not carry a gun while paddling, though if I ever feel the need to I will do so.

I do not feel safe leaving a vehicle in a remote area overnight or longer. I’ve seen too many put-ins and trailheads with broken window glass. I find a parking place that has “law enforcement presence”, or a paid attendant and locked gates at night, or simply a moderate rate of other boaters coming and going…just something that acts as a deterrent. There are no guarantees of safety, just ways to lower the risks.

That bit about leaving your paddling itinerary on the dashboard or windshield? Forget it. If I were required to leave a note, it would say something like “Back at Put-in BEFORE suchandsuchdate.” I’m sorry if that leaves would-be rescuers guessing, but the chances of needing a rescue are lower than that of a thief or vandal using the info for criminal purposes.

Oh, and I do not put decals of brand name “toys” on on my vehicle. Brag about something and all you do is attract the attention of thieves.

My car’s been broken into 3 times…
… in past 2 years, in my driveway! The driveway is just feet from the water though, so you may be onto something. I hadn’t made that connection before… :wink:

So far no piracy while underway. Generally I feel safer on the water than just about anywhere else.

No, No, No -to all three
Actually crime here is supposedly lower in the last 18 months.

The only place I have ever lived where I worried about that kind of thing was Michigan, and my apartment in Ypsilanti was much more dangerous than the woods.

I worry about whee my car will be left. Been lots of break ins at places where cars are left for a while, like trail heads, boat put ins, etc.

Some worries of boat protection when it is on my car, as there have been some thieves around taking boats.

No worries of any of that when I am on the water. Get to leave it all behind!

its a calculated risk…

– Last Updated: Feb-21-09 1:48 AM EST –

and always has been... The risk is always there - i always weigh the benefits against the risks. The risks are obvious, broken windshield, possible stolen car... The benefits are intangible - a day on the water, perhaps a weekend or even a week... For me, i choose locations where the benefits outweigh the risks. I find it necessary to get out for at least 3-4 days a month just to get a break from the world and some r & r, this is in addition to day trips. I would lose my sanity if I wasn't able to camp so much. I do worry about leaving my car, especially at more remote locations, but I don't let it stop me. I try to pick and choose where I leave my car. If a place is unacceptable, I will go somewhere else. I also trust my gut feeling, if it feels wrong to leave a car I have been known to entirely change paddling/camping venue to another location at the last minute.

I do try to pick places to park where there is constant traffic, or else at least a patrolled park. If I do go remote, then I want it as remote a location as possible to minimize the risk of undesirables stumbling upon my car for a crime of opportunity.

I do not think the risks have gone up yet, but I firmly believe they will. Unfortunately things are going to get worse before they get better... and the earth is getting more and more overcrowded...

However, I refuse to live in fear and not leave my car somewhere. All we can do is try and minimize the risk. I do not leave anything in my car anyways, other than a change of street clothes.

As far as carrying weapons, I do not carry any traditional weapons. I have found that a paddle used as a club is very effective, and works well as a deterrent. I also know from previous experiences that unlike most people, i am not afraid of cold steel (knives). As far as carrying a gun, i do not and hope the day never comes when i feel that i have to. Those will be sad times indeed. I have nothing against gun carriers/owners, I just choose not to. I have never taken a life and I hope I never have to. While I think I could kill someone in self defense, I have never been in that position so i am unsure - so, I do not carry a gun as it could potentially make a difficult situation even more dangerous. Again, that is something I hope to never have to find out.

However, I have thought of, and am always looking for, commonplace items and/or natural objects that could be used for self defense. Those rocks in the gravel, a key between the fingers, a paddle, a branch/stick, that piece of garbage steel laying in the parking lot - nature has supplied a great many objects that could be used as weapons for self defense in a pinch... Just because someone doesn't carry a traditional weapon does not mean they are unarmed. The mind is the greatest weapon of all!

safer in a remote area
Other than a couple close calls with wave runners, the only problem I’ve ever had was on the Mississippi in Minneapolis when some kids tried to skip rocks in my direction and hit my kayak. I just paddled out a little further from shore.

I don’t carry a wepon but I do carry flares in my pfd.

No one has ever bothered my kayak transport vehical. It’s a 84 Olds Custom Cruiser wagon; fullsize. I can carry 3 kayaks on top and 2 more and the gear in the back, seats down, and it still gets 18-20 mpg. Thieves don’t give it a second look at the put in. As a matter a fact, since I hit the deer and the hood flew up at 70 mph, everyone just seems to get out of my way. And those big cushy seats feel great after 12 hours on the river. If you are worried about your car, get a Cruiser. If its stolden, get another one.

Lower your risk
I lower my risk by driving a junker. My old Jeep Cherokee looks like crap. Anyone can look in the windows and see the lack of GPS, boomer radio, and all the items that make a car a target. I do put my clothes under the seat so no one will be tempted to look for my wallet, which goes with me on the river. As for on the river, I have only met new friends, never muggers or such. Relax, enjoy life, don’t worry so much.

car alarm
Crutchfields has a good deal on car alarms. They provide good install directions and free tech support.

If I needed one $100 and an afternoon to install is better than having some stranger smash your window.

No difference due to the economy
Leaving your vehicle anywhere unattended is a crap shoot.

I had a ratty old case with a dozen home made cassette tapes stolen from my car at a trail head right near my house. I walked the dog for a half hour. I’ve parked there for hours and never had anything happen. Crime is like an accident…odds are it won’t happen, but you never know what fate has in store. Take the usual precautions as mentioned above. As for a weapon, if a leatherman counts, then I’m “packin’”. Hey pikabike, why do you cover the vin number?

Listen up!
Economic hardship does NOT turn people into petty thieves that will steal stuff out of your truck. Not unless you carry dinner around in your truck anyway. What causes people to be petty thieves is poor character.

While there are SOME people with poor character who hand around rivers, I have found that by and large “river folk” are the kindest, most helpful, most generous sort of people there are.

Do I go armed? No. I know those who do, and who feel upset by folks hanging around the ramps. Rather than feel upset, I talk to them. Guess what, they’re there for the same reason as you - to enjoy the river. (one notable exception applies when some guys I know saw a couple people disposing of a body - they were former covert operatives that frankly had nothing to fear from a couple punks armed or not and just hid out and photographed the whole thing for the cops) Sometimes in hot weather I leave a cooler full of Gatorade and water in my truck bed. I have come back to it to find some waters missing and replaced with beers. I had my wallet returned to my truck - WITH MORE MONEY IN IT THAN WHEN I LOST IT. Apparantly someone who knows me or who saw me lose it at the ramp and saw what truck I was driving found it and put it back in my truck. That’s right. My truck was unlocked.

In all my years of paddling and fishing and leaving my vehicle in wierd places, I have only once been the victim of crime while doing so. For some reason, someone thought it would be funny to cut my trailer wires. Or perhaps they were trying to teach me some kind of lesson, but without a note it’s hard to know which. All I know is someone cut my trailer wires. My paddling partner did a field expedient repair to get us home safely with all lights working, so it wasn’t so bad.

No. I am not only NOT concerned, but I can’t think of a place I’d rather be.

  • Big D

Carrying a weapon is the same as
locking yourself in the bathroom.And what are you going to do with it?

Shoot ducks?

We’ve had a few break-ins
While people were paddling, usually just a vehicle or two at the ramp.

When I’ve done overnighters that require parking at ramps known for late night parties I’ve talked to nearby landowners and asked if I can pay to park. It’s $10 well spent and some have looked scary enough trespassers wouldn’t be a problem.



If you chose not to carry a gun just carry a 12 gage flare gun intstead. Then you din’t have to worry about a gun permit and it’s just part of your safety gear on board.

Flare guns leave a lasting impression on any future convict.

I must be a little slow…

– Last Updated: Feb-21-09 5:53 PM EST –

What do you mean?

There ARE some notable places
where I wouldn’t launch my boat, just because we commonly hook people up there for drinking, loitering, drug possession, etc.

That said, common sense is your best ally. Park in a place that’s frequented/used by a lot of people, park near a light (if you lauch or retrieve in the dark) or near a road where passing headlights will be common in hours of darkeness. As others have said, don’t leave anything valuable in sight, or - if possible - in the car at all. If I have to leave things in the car, I have a “console vault” in the console of my truck (that’s actually its commerical name). It’s essentially a locking steel safe. No one has ever tried to break into it, but of they can do so, they deserve what’s inside, because it’s pretty solid (I leave my backup gun in there and don’t worry about it at all). It cost me about $200.00.

If you’re actually present and think someone may try to rob you or take your stuff, the best way to not be a victim of one of these types of criminals - who are essentially cowards - is to be loud, assertive, alert, and not act like a sheep. Look 'em in the eye, say ‘hi’, and go about your business.

I wouldn’t carry a weapon unless you know how to use it - not just the mechanics, but how to safely and effectively carry and employ it, know the rules for doing so, and can KEEP HOLD of it in a struggle (because otherwise, you’re potentially providing a dirtbag with a weapon to use against YOU).

pumpkin target practice …

– Last Updated: Feb-22-09 9:58 AM EST –

...... one time we parked the upstream truck under a tall overpass bridge (overpassing the Shenandoah river, Rt.7 Berryville,VA) , and there put the canoes in for a downriver to Charlestown,WV where the other downstream truck was left at riverside .

This was our shuttle system for an overnighter on the river , fish and camp .

There's lots of room under the bridge , small parking lot size , country road enviroment , never a problem there before this one time .

We finished the run and went back for the upstream truck . When we got there we discovered some kids had been launching pumpkins from over the side of the bridge , trying to hit the truck parked well under it in center ... they missed everytime and apparently ran out of pumpkins . Must have taken more than a dozen shots , lol .

They could of easily just drove down under the bridge if they were really intent on vandilizing the truck , but didn't !!

Not sure what finally made them give up ... used up their pumpkin supply , got chased away ?? Maybe it was a sense of fair play (in their eyes) , they took their shot and missed ?? The bridge was about 60' higher than the truck .

The truck had MD tags and maybe they were just trying to say something , dumb kids ya know !!

They must have gone to quite a bit of effort in their plans , because this is hill country area and sparsely populated , pumpkins where in season though ... kinda funny considering they missed . If we had been able to catch them at it , we probably would have played indian with them , just for fun , fair is fair , right !!

not worth worrying over

no, no

no, that is why I have insurance.

I don’t worry about it now, more than any other time. If something is going to happen it is going to happen. Chances are it will happen when I am not paddling.