Raiding isnt nice, but one of the challenges for noobs is to avoid raiding until they can protect. Below is an idea that would make it a reasonable challenge for everybody, not just noobs. I do think it would be a good idea for protections to disappear if the player has not joined the game for 5 months. That would allow old players' stuff to become public property. Also, all locked and protected chests should become unlocked chests or there should be some way of breaking into them (axe?)
Maybe we should make it so that any wooden locked chest that is not in a protected area can be broken into with a good deal of work (lots of punching time). Then, we add vaults of various materials that are harder and harder to break into. A diamond vault, for example would take 3 hours of hitting with a diamond pick before it gave way. Meanwhile a steel vault would only take 10 minutes of hacking away before it broke.
(no single diamond axe would last that long, so the "strength remaining" of the chest should be stored in a metadata and kept even if the puncher stops punching. That would allow a determined thief to break in eventually. The strength remaining should be shown to the owner when he opens the chest, so he knows that someone has been breaking in, and that he needs to repair or replace the vault)
That would make players upgrade their storage for better security and maintain it. It would help keep them active in the game. It also might make them creative about hiding their stuff.
hmm, we could take the same approach to protection. Different levels, different costs, different times that they last... But we need a machine that repairs protections around it (for a price) so that active players can easily maintain their buildings.