Many travelers fear that someone will rifle through their checked luggage and steal their valuable items. ... In fact, there may be reason for concern. More than 400 TSA officers have been fired for theft since early 2003. Every year, the agency pays out about $1 million in claims for missing possessions or damaged bags.
There may be a creative solution to the problem, though, for domestic flights. Pack a weapon with your valuables. Once you include a firearm, your case is super-duper-locked and receives heightened scrutiny until reaching your destination. ...
So here's the idea: Buy a starter pistol for around $16. Be sure the firearm is not loaded, of course. Put it in a secure, hard-sided case (from $99) along with your most precious camera, jewelry or other item. Read the TSA instructions on traveling with firearms in checked luggage. Go to the airport for a domestic flight. Declare the weapon at the check-in counter. They'll check it and give it priority care during transport.
--Sean O'Neill, Budget Travel, on making heightened security work for you. HT: Alex Tsai