A caravan can become a home from home for your family - but unlike a brick and mortar home, it can be a lot trickier to keep your caravan secure! Owners of mobile caravans and motorhomes are particularly at risk, with police warning caravan owners from Manchester to Wales of the rise in thefts in recent months. Reported numbers vary, suggesting anywhere from 5000 to 1,200 caravans are stolen in the UK annually. Despite these high numbers of thefts, the numbers of recovered stolen caravans are incredibly low.
With this in mind, buying caravan security equipment is an incredibly worthwhile investment. Not only will the right tools save you the cost of replacing your whole caravan in the event it is stolen, but it can also often lead to a reduction in your insurance. Any assessment of your caravan security needs to factor in both protecting your contents against break-ins, and protecting the caravan itself from theft. We’ll talk you through both of these.
Caravan Security: Contents Protection
Here’s a few quick tips to protect anything you might leave in your caravan, especially while on holiday.
Keep expensive items out of sight. If you can't bring items with you, keep valuables in a secure, hidden location in your car. Never leave Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme documents (CRiS) in your caravan, as the CRiS registration form can be incredibly helpful for anyone reselling your vehicle.
Curtains can be great for privacy while you’re in, but remember to open curtains while you’re out so that thieves aren’t tempted to find out if there’s something of value inside.
Park in a busy location if possible, burglars are less likely to attempt a break-in with witnesses nearby.
Leave cupboard doors open if there’s nothing of value in there.
A cheap tent alarm can be a great cheap solution if you don’t have the money to repair or replace your caravan’s built-in alarm system. Make sure to test the sensitivity at home though- you won’t make the best impression on your neighbours if you’re out for the day and you’ve left an alarm that cries wolf back at the campsite!
Caravan Security: Protect Your Caravan
Caravans are primarily stolen from driveways or in storage. While camping it is easy to be more vigilant and conscious of your caravan, but in day to day life we can often forget the caravan is even there. Here we have a couple of tips you can do right now, without spending a penny, followed by a few security products you can buy that will help you secure your caravan.
Caravan security - what to do:
When parking up your caravan for storage, leave cupboards open and all surfaces clear to make sure that thieves can’t spot any valuables while your caravan is in storage.
A simple but effective tip for parking at home is to park your caravan nose first to your house to give thieves limited room for manoeuvring.
If you’re going away on holiday without your caravan ask a neighbour to check on your caravan as well as the house. Ask them to look for signs of tampering on any security devices, locks and clamps.
Be mindful of your social media posts; many criminals are actually opportunistic friends of a friend. Make sure you aren’t advertising that you’re not going to be at home by posting it online. Update your privacy settings on your social media so that your posts are only shared with people you trust- this is especially important for families with kids who might be posting online.
Take photos of the interior to help with identifying the caravan in case of theft. Sadly the rate of recovery for stolen caravans is incredibly low, and anything you can do to help identify yours later down the line can make a difference.
Be careful where you leave your caravan over the winter! Do your research; higher security caravan storage parks are often a specific target of caravan theft. The National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) recommends that owners storing their caravans over the winter still check in to confirm that their caravan is safe. A reminder on your phone or calendar can be a simple way to keep on top of this. Tim Booth, of NaVCIS, says:
“Whilst many newer caravans are equipped with tracking equipment, a high proportion of these require the owners to be aware that their property has been stolen…In many cases, it was some considerable time before the owners became aware and the activation of tracking equipment failed to reveal the current locations.”
Caravan security- What to buy:
A motion sensor light above the caravan door can be a cheap and effective added layer of security, as potential thieves can easily be scared off if they feel more visible.
Wheel clamps are the bread and butter of caravan security, which most owners will already be familiar with. If your wheel can't turn- your caravan can't be rolled away!
If you own your home, installing a security post or bollard is a great option. Thieves tampering with a bollard will be slowed down, and far more visible to passersby. Installation can be relatively cheap, and can also greatly reduce your insurance. It’s worth ringing up your provider and asking how much you could save to assess whether what security measures will be the best investment for you.
Caravan hitch locks simply prevent the hitch handle from being used, which prevents the coupling from being securely attached. There are a lot of products out there, we would recommend something like the Saracen Gullwing hitch lock which has a lightweight design that can be quickly installed even at service stations and rest stops. Always opt for a product that you can use easily, as cutting corners increases the odds of an opportunist robbery.
Caravan leg locks are excellent as an additional layer of security by making the caravan difficult to move- causing more of a commotion in case of theft. They are also effective as a visual deterrent, as security is often just as much about looking secure as being secure. If using leg locks, remember to get your corner steadies serviced to provide a stable base (plus it’ll generally make your life easier.) WD-40 lithium spray grease is a great product, simply for the ease of application.
With many aspects to consider, caravan security can often seem overwhelming. However, with the level of thefts on the rise- it's more important than ever to put security measures in place. This list can help you put security measures in place before your holidays, so you can simply relax and enjoy your caravan while you're using it!
This guest post was written by Caitlin Rimmer on behalf of Motor Movers Direct; specialists in caravan motor movers and caravan security equipment.