Home' Caravanning Australia : Spring 2012 Contents 46 • Caravanning Australia • Spring 2012
The theft of valuables from a caravan is not an uncommon
occurrence -- nor is the theft of vans themselves. While
official stats aren't available, a January Seven News report
quoted CIL Insurance, stating that anecdotal evidence indicates
break-ins and thefts are on the rise.
It's a rarity to retrieve a stolen caravan. The Caravan Industry
Australia website has a register of stolen RVs that owners are yet
to recover. The mile-long list serves as a warning to those who
skimp on security.
Some owners are unfortunate enough to be in the van at
the time of a theft. In 2010, an elderly Welsh man awoke to
the sound of smashing crockery, soon realising that he and the
caravan he was asleep in had been stolen from his driveway. A
brief standstill enabled him to escape his own van.
Months earlier, an Adelaide couple arrived at a dealership
to pick up a new caravan. They had just hitched the purchase
to their car and stepped aboard for a demonstration from a
salesperson when a man jumped into the driver's seat and sped
away. The salesperson managed to jump clear but the couple
remained trapped inside, forced to endure a fifteen-minute high-
speed joyride that culminated with a collision into a parked car.
These are obviously rare examples, the latter easily avoided
by removing the keys from the ignition, but short of hiring a
security guard to patrol the perimeter, what are the best options
to assure the security of your van and those within? Combining
'caravan' and 'stolen' in an internet search is eye-opening -- a
chain and padlock won't hinder a motivated thief.
CIL Insurance states, 'Many of the caravan robberies that are
reported to us have occurred while the caravan is parked in an
exposed area on the insured's property or street. Therefore, we
always advise our customers to be conscious of their caravan's
security when they're at home as
well as when they're on holidays.'
Therefore, the most important
security measure is immobilising
the van. A caravan worth tens
of thousands sitting unfixed in a
front yard is not only enticing to
passers-by, but can be stolen
many times over in the time it
takes to shower. A locking wheel-
clamp fixed to a stationary van
renders it near impossible to tow
away (many insurance policies
demand such measures). They're
generally high-visibility and clamp
over the wheel nuts, preventing
A tow-ball or hitch helmet is
another option, clamping over
the tow ball to prohibit hitching
-- although many designs are
susceptible to angle grinders.
It's obviously best to keep an
unattended caravan in a fenced-off
area. If not, secure storage facilities
are a good (albeit pricier) option for
tucking away an RV safely.
Online and mobile phone GPS tracking devices are
becoming more efficient and user-friendly, many syncing with
mobile phones to alert owners via SMS if the van is moved,
a break-in is attempted, a fire occurs, or battery power gets
low. Most importantly, they give the location of the van at any
time via longitude/latitude positioning or, if an owner's phone is
3G-enabled, via the phone's map (be aware of satellite range, as
some carriers lose coverage in remote regions).
If at any time during a road trip you want to continue on
without your RV for a period, many caravan parks will allow you
to store it (while hooked up to power, if required) for a small
charge. RVs are very rarely stolen from caravan parks, and at
parks that feature boom gates the risk is further reduced.
Thieves often remove the VIN (vehicle identification number)
of a stolen vehicle. In order to improve the chances of retrieval,
it's a good idea to label an RV's VIN in places where a thief isn't
likely to notice -- inside storage areas or under a mattress, for
Much like purchasing a car, the relevant research should be
carried out on an RV to ensure it isn't stolen. If the registration
has lapsed, ask for proof of ownership and consider checking
the VIN against stolen vehicle registers.
The most common form of theft is valuables taken from
poorly secured caravans -- by locking doors/windows and
drawing shades, a thief's visual stimuli are removed. Having an
onboard safe is a good way to secure small valuables such as
laptops, wallets and cameras.
Any combination of the above not only increases security, but
acts as a deterrent to potential thieves; although, at the the end
of the day, insuring your RV and its contents is the surest safety
Caravan security at home and
on the road
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