Larry Krantz Flute Pages: Stolen Flutes List
Lost and/or Stolen Flutes
Statistical Analysis based on Stolen Reports as of February 20, 2005
By John Rosen

I just tallied how/where flutes get stolen, based on Larry Krantz's Stolen Flute list. I first coded the stolen flutes by categories:

The MAJOR categories were:

    CONVENTION 
    DUAL(two possibilities given)
    FRAUD(credit card fraud)
    HOME(incl. burglary; stolen from a residence/apartment/house/dorm room)
    HOTEL 
    MUSEUM(incl. flutes on display)
    NONE 
    PERFORMANCE(incl. at rehearsal, backstage)
    REPEAT(incl. multiple item theft, duplicate listing)
    ROBBERY(incl. mugging; stolen from a person)
    SCHOOL(incl. camp)
    STORE(incl. repair shop)
    TRANSPORT(incl. shipping, checked baggage, in mail)
    TRAVEL(incl. restaurant, from bag)
I coded a few minor categories as well; each falls within a major category:
    airport(TRAVEL)
    apartment(HOME)
    backstage(PERFORMANCE)
    bus(TRAVEL)
    cab(TRAVEL)
    camp(SCHOOL)
    car(TRAVEL; incl. from parking lot)
    dorm(HOME)
    home(HOME)
    locker(SCHOOL)
    office(SCHOOL)
    restaurant(TRAVEL)
    train(TRAVEL)
    tram(TRAVEL)
    van(TRAVEL)
The REPEAT major category needs a bit of explanation. Many thefts resulted in the loss of multiple flutes. Counting each individual flute separately would bias the statistics towards mass thefts; for example the incident in which 14-16 (I'm not quite clear) Burkart-Phelan flutes/headjoints were stolen at the same time. I half-corrected for multiple thefts as follows:

If the several flutes/headjoints stolen were of the same make, then all but one were scored as REPEATs. (If you lost both of your Brannen-Coopers while playing at Carnegie Hall, then one of the flutes was categorized as a REPEAT, and the other as taken during a PERFORMANCE.)

Flutes/headjoints of different makes that were stolen together were NOT categorized as repeats. (If the thief also took your Bundy while you played at Carnegie, then the theft of the Bundy was counted separately, with the same PERFORMANCE code as the first Brannen-Cooper.)

The reason for my failure to code flutes of a different feather as REPEATs is that there was no practical way to pair flutes of different makes that were stolen together. Example:

According to Larry's list, Sir James lost 5 flutes in Switzerland: 4 Muramatsu's and one Sheridan. I scored this single theft as 2 TRAVELs (first Muramatsu and the Sheridan) and 3 REPEATs (the other three Muramatsu's).

The results below show that thefts categorized as REPEATs were ignored in the analysis.

Results:

Larry's list has 365 thefts of which 34 thefts were scored as repeats, leaving 331.

No information about location/type of theft was given for 147 flutes. One theft occurred either from an office or a car; for simplicity, I ignored it as well (I didn't want to deal with the ambiguity). That left 183 flute thefts; and so 183 is the denominator used in the percentages given below.

    Convention 3 
    Fraud 2 
    Home4223.0%
    Hotel 3 
    Museum 2 
    Performance5 
    Robbery 3 
    School6032.8% 
    Store 1 
    Transport 4 
    Travel5831.7%
       
    TOTAL183 
I looked at the 58 TRAVEL thefts in some detail:
    car-22
    aiport-2
    bus-4
    cab-1
    restaurant-2
    train-8 (all or most in Europe)
    tram-1 (Europe)
    van-1

Of the 60 SCHOOL thefts, 9 were reported as coming from a locker. Some came from offices, others from practice rooms, etc.

Comments:

Home, school, and travel. That's where/when flutes are taken. Travel is especially high-risk, because most of us spend much more time at home or school than traveling.

As a result of these statistics, I will:

    - make my flutes at home less visible when I'm not playing
    -continue to keep physically attached to any flute I'm traveling with; leaving a flute in a car is a particularly risky activity
    -be careful when I go to the local university for lessons. I will NOT leave the flute in a practice room without me, nor willI put it in any locker that isn't bomb-proof.
    -keep paying the insurance premiums.

AND, I'll remember the great line from 'Hill Street Blues':

Let's be careful out there!

John Rosen


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