Coin Show Safety - Part 1 - Before You Visit a Coin Show

Are you the trusting sort or do you think that criminals will never target you?  Unfortunately, there are criminals who are just criminals, and there are those people who, in desperation, turn to crime.  Coin shows and their attendees can be targets for either of these types of criminals.  Here are some basic security tips for when you plan to visit a coin show and improve your personal safety.

Before you ever leave home you can begin to minimize your security risk .  Clean out the interior of your vehicle; don't leave anything that could be perceived as valuable within view to entice unsavory or criminal characters.  Clean out the trunk of your vehicle especially if you will be transporting bulk valuables.  If you have a vehicle without enclosed storage, like a van or SUV, make sure you can secure your valuables where the contents cannot be easily seen and perceived as important.

While cleaning your vehicle, make sure it is in good working order with safe tires and plenty of gas as a vehicle break down makes you more vulnerable.  

If you are taking any collectible reference materials, such as show fliers, magazines, Red Books, etc., with you to the show, place them in an unmarked bag or briefcase.  If you are taking any of your coins, currency or other valuables such as bullion or jewelry to sell, trade or just to show someone, put your items in an unmarked bag or box that will securely hold the weight, and not advertize the contents.  Take unmarked containers (bags, boxes, briefcases) with you for items you plan to buy as not all dealers will have unmarked bags or boxes for your use.

Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and make sure you take it with you.  Tell your family your plans to visit a coin show but do not share your plans with people whom you do not fully trust.  If possible, take a family member or friend with you.  Multiple peple are less vulnerable than being alone.  

Your at-home safety includes discussing your coin show plans on blogs, social networking sites or chat rooms on the internet.  You never know who is lurking on the "net" - and this also applies to your emails that could be forwarded to characters who might take advantage of you.

If you take all the safety precautions and are still confronted by criminals, give the criminals your valuables.  those items may be valuable to you, but they are just things and things can be replaced.  You cannot be replaces.  Injury, or worse - death, cannot be justified.

Show Safety

Coin Show Security Tips - Part 4 - Leaving the Show

Coin show security tips are most important when leaving a coin show since you can be the most vulnerable then, especially if you have made several purchases.  Some criminals meld with the other attendees at a show for the main purpose of finding the best targets.  Those are people they perceive as the most vulnerable, the easiest to rob and with significant valuables. With forethought and alertness, you can minimize being a target and maximize your safety as you leave the show.

Remove your show badge or name tag as you exit the show.  Ask for help getting bulk items to your vehicle from the bourse chairman, show security or the dealer who sold you the items.

Hold your valuable items (in unmarked bags or a locked briefcase) closely as you walk to your vehicle.  Don't discuss your purchases where people can overhear outside of the show.  Walk with someone you know to the parking lot and all the way to your car, if possible.  Remember where you parked, have your keys in hand with the alarm button readily available.  Walk briskly with assurance and purpose to your car wtih your head up and your eyes and ears open!  Pay attention to your surroundings for suspicious characters or activities.

Observe the cars around you to insure no one is hiding inside or beside them while waiting for a target.  Do not remotely unlock your car until you are near and can insure no one is hiding nearby - if possible, only unlock the necessary doors.  Briefly check to insure your vehicle is OK and that tires are inflated (some criminals will cause a slow leak in a tire in order to follow and stop with you when your tire goes flat)!  Get into your car quickly and lock the doors.  If your remote unlocks all the doors, hit the door lock button immediately after you open your door to prevent criminals from opening your passenger doors.

Make sure you are not followed as you leave the show; check your mirrors often for suspicious behavior.  Vary your driving route if you frequently attend regularly scheduled coin shows.  Do not stop on the way home unless you can keep your valuables safely with you - not in your vehicle.

Most important - if you take these and other safety precautions and are still threatened for your valuables, give them to the criminals.  You can replace things, but you can't be replaced.

 Use these coin show security tips:  be prepared; be alert; be aware; and above all, be safe!

Compiled by S. O'Brien, Greater Atlanta Coin Club

Coin Show Security Tips - Part 3 - On the Bourse

Major coin shows provide security for their dealers and for the guests visiting the show.  Many times show security will be off-duty or retired law enforcement.  Rest assured, an experienced officer is one of the most observant people and know many of the criminals' tricks.  But even great observers cannot keep watch on every person or activity at a show.

You cannot look at a person and know immediately they have criminal intent.  Criminals will walk the bourse floor, will talk knowledgeable about numismatics and maybe make a purchase or two while observing the attendees and opportunities.  Some of them are great with sleight of hand and picking pockets or purses.

To enjoy the bourse experience, keep your coins secured at all time whether you are selling or have just purchased them.  Don't lay your treasures on a dealer's table where someone could easily pick them up while you are focused on a discussion with the dealer.

Be careful of tight groups of people or several people in an aisle - they could be there as a ploy to catch you off guard and to steal your valuables.  Be wary of strangers who want to join in your discussions with dealers.  You don't have to be rude, just prudent.  they may have ulterior motives.  Should you stop and sit a dealer's table, keep your valuables between your feet or on your lap - at least touching you in some way lest someone grab them while you are focused on something else.  

Suppose you need to leave the bourse floor, get something to eat, or even to use the restroom.  Don't ask somebody you don't know - don't know well enough to trust - to hold your valuables for you while you handle your other business.  If you need the ATM or something similar, ask show security or the bourse chairman what you can do with your valuables.  Be alert, eyes and ears, to your surroundings and the actions of other people nearby while you are talking with dealers or fellow numismatists about your shared passions of coins, currency or other collectibles.  

You are safest with your valuables on the bourse floor, yet not 100% safe.  With numismatics, it is wiser to be overly cautious rather than to be too trusting.  Remember the saying, "Just because you are paranoid, it does not mean they are not out to get you."

Use these coin show security tips to be be prepared; be alert; be aware; and above all, be safe!

Compiled by S. O'Brien, Greater Atlanta Coin Club

How to Visit Coin Shows Safely

Coin Show Safety - Part 2 - When You Arrive at the Venue

Collectors and show attendees can be most vulnerable arriving or leaving a show.  Some people will loiter outside the show's location with criminal intent.  Remember these coin show security tips to insure you are careful when you arrive at the show's venue, and you can minimize being a criminal's target.  If you prepared before leaving home, then take these precautions when you arrive! 

Park near the entrance or near heavily trafficked areas.  Do not park near a structure where people can hide from view when you return.  Look for street lights or parking lot lights and be under them. 

Before exiting your car, look around.  Be aware of your surroundings.  If you are in a parking lot, note the row number.   Keep your door locked until you are ready to get out of your vehicle.  Once outside your vehicle, lock your doors, keep your keys in your hand (to access your car's security system), and head toward the entrance of the coin show.  (There should be nothing visible inside your vehicle nor valuables left behind.)  Walk with your head up!  Keep alert.

Keep your valuables close to you - and a good grip on them!  If you are using a rolling cart, push the cart in front of you, when possible - if you have to pull the cart, make sure you frequently look back to verify your valuables are safe.  Ask for assistance from the bourse chairman or show security if you need help securely transporting your valuables from your vehicle to the show.

If you take all the safety precautions and are still accosted by criminals, give them your valuables.  These things can be replaced; you cannot be replaced.  Be prepared; be alert; be aware; and above all, be safe!

Compiled by S. O'Brien, Greater Atlanta Coin Club


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