Mobile Caravans are a highly attractive commodity to the common and professional thief, as they can often be reasonably easy to steal for a potentially high reward
The old and trusted adage, RISK & REWARD is very appropriate for Caravan owners, if the Caravan is not Secured then the Risk becomes Low whilst the Reward remains High (a recipe for disaster) !!
RISK: What risk is involved in stealing the Caravan, whilst in:
- Home Storage: Probably when the Caravan is most at risk, an irresistible target for some thieves, they will wait until no one is at home, often in the middle of the day and simply reverse onto the drive, hitch up and drive away (they would be so cool about it that neighbours probably wouldn’t think twice).
- Paid Storage: If you pay to store your Caravan, ensure you check out the Security measures in place before deciding to use the facility, together with still carrying out your own Security measures such as Wheel Clamps, Removing Wheels, Alarms etc.
- In Transit: One to watch out for, you park up to go in for a cup of tea, come back out only to find the Caravan gone.
- On a Camp Site: Apart from the risk of someone trying to steal your Caravan whilst it is on a Caravan Park (if you leave it in a particularly vulnerable state with Keys & Vehicle) your contents can also be an attractive proposition for a thief, keep valuables such as I Pad’s, Mobiles & Money out of sight, don’t leave the Caravan unlocked.
Home & Paid Storage:
There is a wide selection of Security measures that you can put in place for your Caravan whilst it is in Home or Paid storage, it is often best to use two or three methods as opposed to one expensive method, all Security measures can be breached if the Criminals are determined enough, but the harder you make their job, the higher the Risk becomes for them and the less attractive your Caravan becomes.
Listed below are a selection of Security products that can be purchased from a whole host of suppliers, they are not in any type of order, as what is good for one application may be less useful for another.
It is well worth removing your Wheels from the Caravan for long periods of Storage and safely holding it up using Axle Stands, this has two benefits, apart from making the Caravan a whole lot harder to Steal, it protects the part of the tyre resting onto the ground with all the weight.
This is mostly done by using Axle Stands, some people will use a pile of Bricks, although this needs to be done safely. The downside to this method that must be considered is that it makes it a time consuming job to move the Caravan, this may be very important in the event of an emergency in some applications.
Wheel Clamps are a vital consideration and some insurance policies may even insist on these being used, they come in all sorts of qualities, but a good product will help deter thieves as it takes time to remove. It should always be used whenever the caravan is left unattended, at home or away. Remember, if the product is heavy, bulky and difficult to fit, you are less likely to use it – and however effective it is, it’s useless unless it’s fitted. Remember to read the manufacturer’s instructions and comply with them. Also, some clamps leave the unit’s wheel nuts exposed meaning the clamp can be removed by removing the wheel. In this case, you may like to consider using locking wheel nuts alongside the clamp.
Hitch Locks are lockable devices that cover the Tow ball and come in many shapes and designs, they make it harder to steal a Caravan, but most advice would recommend using them with another Security device such as a Wheel Clamp, Security Post, Ground Anchor & Chain etc.
Some locks obscure the hitch handle, but leave the hitch aperture open, meaning they can be used when the caravan is attached (e.g. at service stations), but it is illegal to tow whilst a Hitch Lock is actually fitted.
Other Hitch Locks obscure the aperture, but leave the handle open, these are viewed by many as more Secure.
A dummy ball fits into the hitch aperture when the lock obscures the handle, this prevents the hitch from being applied to another vehicle’s tow ball.
Security Posts are obviously only practical when your Caravan is in Storage, there are only two types of Security Posts that should be considered, Fully Telescopic or Removable, do not even consider most types of Fold Down Posts.
Telescopic: These Security Posts are by far the strongest type of Post due to the principle that more material is underground than actually showing above, therefore pulling or pushing it out of the ground is highly unlikely. However if the thieves are determined enough and have enough time without being disturbed they could cut the Lock OFF or even cut the Post in Half, that is why our advice is always use additional Security devices such as Alarms or CCTV which may reduce the time they feel comfortable working on the Post.
The added benefit of a Telescopic Post is that when it is not in use it collapses back into the hole resulting in a totally flush surface, no obstacles to catch the Caravan Wheels on.
Removable Security Posts: If you can’t afford a Telescopic Security Post, or you are unable to use one due to underground services or a high water table, a good Removable Post is the second best option. A spigot of between 300 – 400 mm is normally cemented firmly into the ground, and a good solid Post is Secured into place using various types of Locks or Padlocks.
Good quality Posts are strong, but obviously just as with the Telescopic Posts if the thieves feel that they have time on their hands, they can get to work with Steel Cutters. When a Removable Post is removed from the spigot base, a hinged lid will safely cover the access hole making it easy to manoeuvre the Caravan around.
Ground or Wall Anchors can be fixed into or onto the ground or wall (depending on the type of surface the Caravan is stored on) and are used to slide good quality Chain or Alarmed Chain through the chassis, legs or other substantial structures of the Caravan.
Spigot Based Ground Anchors would typically be used on ground such as Block Paving, Gravel, Grass or Tarmac and would be fitted into a hole by using Cement or Post Mix, the size of the hole would be dependant on how loose the ground was (generally the firmer the ground the smaller the hole).
Flush Mounted Ground Anchors would be used on solid ground such as Concrete, and would be fixed onto the ground using various H/D Bolts or Studding.
Wall Anchors are generally less useful in these applications, but can be fixed onto a wall to help Secure the Caravan in certain applications.
Modern Alarm Locks:
Modern Alarm Locks have a built in Siren and are powered by built in Batteries, they can be found in various forms now, the most useful for helping to Secure a caravan would be Chain Links or longer lengths of Cable. The principle of them is that if they are tampered with, a built in Siren will be activated which would hopefully make the thieves far less comfortable staying around the location for fear of being seen.
These Alarm Locks are very useful for when touring, and they can be very quickly and easily fitted making them ideal for on the camp site or even when parked within a service station. They can also be used together with the ground and wall anchors on your permanent storage site.
The Chain can vary in Length (from .5 metre to 10 metres), Diameter (from 3mm – 20mm) & Style (cable to chain link) but they will all activate the built in Siren if the Lock is attacked or if the Chain is cut (or attempted to be cut). Full selection can be found at www.ultrasecuredirect.com
Heavy Duty Traditional Chains & Quality Padlocks can also be used with suitable Ground & Wall Anchors, and will also make like more difficult for a potential thief.
A great addition to any of the above is an External Alarm of some type that will make a loud noise, flash bright lights or even call you or your family by Telephone or Text Message if activated. A thief will not feel comfortable trying to break your Physical Security Devices if they are likely to be seen, let alone not knowing for sure if the same Alarm has contacted the owners or even the Police.
There are many types of External Security Alarms on the market starting at under £50 going up to over £1000, but many of the mid range ones are more than suitable for a quick & easy DIY Installation, and ideal to be used in conjunction with at one or two physical Security Devices or Methods.
The Alarms would be made up of three parts:
Detectors: There are different type of Detectors suitable for different applications range from Active Beams which can be mounted above the height of Cats & Foxes and are mounted into position so that they are always looking at each other to create an invisible Fence, or you could use various types of PIR’s (passive infra-red) which can be carefully hidden away in all types of creative locations. Most modern Detectors are powered by Battery or Solar Panels making Installation far easier than in previous years, further advice can be found by clicking onto this link.
Wireless or Wired:
Most modern External Perimeter & Driveway Alarms are now using Wireless Technology making for an Easy & Fast Installation (click here for more advice about Wireless Transmission to ensure it will suit your application), for customers still wanting to use the more traditional Wired connectivity there are still plenty of Detectors on the market to choose from.
By far the most important part of any External Alarm System is what happens when the Alarm is activated ?
Realistic Options are:
This process needs to be given some thought as quite often it would be sensible to utilize more than one result from an Alarm activation, this allows you to cover different times of the day and year, options are numerous, listed below are just two samples of what could be chosen:
- External Siren for when you are away from the property, or when the lady of the house is at home alone.
- Telephone Call for when you are away from the property.
- Internal Alert (silent from the outside) for when you are at the property.
- External Flashing Light for when you are away from the property.
- Text Message for when you are away from the property.
- Internal Alert (silent from the outside) for when you are at the property.
- Wireless Panic Button to trigger Loud Sirens or Speech Alerts from the safety of the house.
Further details and discussion about your options can be seen by clicking here !!
There would be two types of CCTV worth considering:
- One that sends notification to your Smart Phone if someone walks past the Camera.
- Or one that records video onto a recording device.
Smart Phone Connection:
- If you want a Camera to notify you by using your Smart Phone, the easiest and most affordable method would be using an IP Camera, these are ‘Wirelessly’ connected to your Wi-Fi Router, obviously the vital criteria is to be within range of the Wi-Fi from the location of the Camera although there are Wi-Fi range extenders available on the market now.
- If you are no where near Wi-Fi the only other option you have is to use a Camera using mobile phone technology, these will be able to send you a MMS Picture to your Smart Phone or Email verifying the presence of an Intruder, this would allow you to safely contact the Police stating you have clear verification of the offence being committed.
The other option you have is to have a CCTV System which will record video when someone walks past the Camera, although this will potentially help to record a potential Crime, in most cases it will not help the Crime being carried out, as the Criminals can simple wear head gear to hide their faces and false number plates.
There are various types of Recording systems available ranging from:
- Wired CCTV (the cameras are connected to the recording device by cables), these are the most time consuming systems to fit but normally work out cheaper to Buy.
- Wireless CCTV (the camera’s are connected to the recording device by a wireless signal), the cameras generally need to be closer than 100 metres from the recording device, they are much easier & quicker to install, but work out slightly more expensive.
- Floodlight with Covert CCTV (these are a working floodlight with a hidden camera and recording device), these are a simple solution & you end up with a useful Security light for normal use.
If you can’t manage a Smart Phone CCTV System, there could be an argument that some good quality Dummy (Fake) CCTV Camera’s are just as likely to help protect your Caravan as a real live Recording CCTV, if the potential thieves are willing to risk being filmed, then in some cases a Dummy Camera will result in the same level of deterrent. There are many styles of real looking Dummy Camera’s on the market today, and can be purchased at very moderate costs (click here for more information).
Fitting one or two simple Warning Signs to a Wall, Gate or Fence stating an Alarm/CCTV is fitted or even a Dog is present can be worth a thought, these can be purchased from many retailers for very small sums.
An Internal Intruder Alarm is useful for not only when the Caravan is in storage, but also whilst you are away on holiday. Thefts from Caravans when you are away on holiday will often be done by an opportunist knowing that most modern holiday makers take away with them a great deal of valuables such as Ipads, Ipods, TV’s, Camera’s, Mobile Phones not to mention Money, Credit Cards, Driving Licences, these are the type of products that are seen as worthwhile targets, easy to carry away together with being easy to sell.
There are many types of Alarms that can be fitted, but our opinion would be to try to cover the following two areas:
- Sirens (let the alarm make a noise, the Intruder will not like bringing attention to themselves from neighbours & persons passing by).
- GSM (let the Alarm contact you, family & friends by Telephone Calls or Text Message, this gives you an early warning to the possibility of the Crime being committed which may just allow you to take the appropriate measures to stop it).
Most Alarms these days are powered by 12v DC or Battery making them ideal for all types of Caravans, using an Alarms inside the Caravan at all times of the year are sensible precautions.
When the Caravan is in storage, it is often possible to connect the Caravan with an existing Alarm System using one of the modern Wireless Alarm Systems, contact Ultra Secure for further advice about these options.
Mark the Caravan Roof:
Give the Police a chance, if you clearly mark the roof of the Caravan with a code unique to you:
- Perhaps part of your post code together with part of the chassis number (don’t use your full postal code as this could alert potential intruders that you are away on holiday).
- Car Registration Number (be careful as you may change your Car before the Caravan).
- As long as it is somewhat unique, and provided you can easily remember it to give to the Police in the event of a Theft.
These transfers can be very easily and affordable purchased these days from a wide range of retailers, there are numerous companies advertising on the Internet to supply transfers for Caravans & Boats. You can simply go on-line, design and order the transfers which will be delivered to you within a week.
They are very easy and quick to fit using some soapy water and a scraper type tool, but harder to remove (you would normally need a hot air gun to remove these transfers which doesn’t create a massive problem if you are selling the Caravan, but creates a time problem if you are trying to steal a Caravan.
- Take a Photo of your Caravan (just in case it is stolen to give to the Police).
- Don’t keep the Keys to the Caravan, Hitch Lock etc in an obvious location inside the House.
- Don’t keep Insurance papers & owner documents inside the Caravan (just in case it is stolen).
- Mark the Caravan in other non obvious ways (to help recovery by the Police).
As you can see from the list of options above, there are numerous methods to help protect & secure your valuable Caravan, both whilst in Storage or when away on Holiday, our advice would be to at least deploy one or two simple method when you are away on holiday, this may be a simple GSM Battery Alarm (which will contact you by Telephone if anyone enters the Caravan) and a Hitch Lock to prevent it easily being towed away.
We would urge you to consider more for when the Caravan is in Storage, this is when they are most prone to being Stolen, you don’t need to spend a fortune, often a combination of two or three simple Security Products to suit your situation will make a world of difference.
If you need advice, please contact one of the many retailers available, to work out your best & most affordable options, Ultra Secure Direct are happy to give you Friendly, No Obligation Advice, full contact details found HERE
By Mark Walter Google