Keeping your caravan safe, secure and in working order is a priority for every caravan owner. Having invested in your touring mobile home, it’s natural to want to protect your investment, just like you would with your home or car. This alone is becoming more of a necessity over time, though, as crime data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) indicates that vehicle-related thefts continue to rise, caravans included.
In October 2019, the ONS reported that over the past few years, vehicle-related crime has continued to increase, with the year ending June 2019 seeing a 3% increase in vehicle offences including a 7% rise in “theft or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle”. With these figures in mind, security for caravans matters now more than ever.
At Allens Caravans, we have spent half a century innovating and working with both touring and residential caravans. Our hire and touring parks are all around the UK and continue to be some of the most popular in the country, which is part of why we have to take caravan security so seriously. Utilising this experience and knowledge, we have put together a comprehensive guide to help you ensure that you keep your caravan is as safe as possible whilst on your travels.
There are multiple different steps to keeping your caravan secure and safe from theft, but one of the most important is ensuring that you are prepared by acquiring the right security equipment. Over time, new innovations have been introduced to the caravan market that are specifically designed to help keep your mobile property safe. Here is our list of key caravan security equipment worth considering.
A great method for reducing the risk of your caravan being removed from where you left it, is to limit wheel usage and movement. Whilst we don’t advise the use of axle stands (as thieves could just attach their own wheels) there are other wheel security options worth considering.
Most commonly, people tend to keep their caravan wheels safe and stationary using wheel clamps. Serving as both a visual and physical deterrent, wheel clamps come in a variety of shapes and sizes but ultimately do the same thing – they restrict wheel rotation and movement. In most cases, wheel clamps for your caravan are the same as the clamps that traffic authorities use on regular cars parked incorrectly, except these are designed to prevent theft instead of just keep your vehicle in place.
The other caravan wheel security alternative is the use of an immobiliser. Usually, the term immobiliser is given to the bars or devices designed to keep steering wheels from being rotated, but there are also those that keep regular wheels in place. Whilst traditional clamps place a frame around the wheel to prevent smooth motion, immobilisers are smaller and instead bolt the wheel to the axle. This can be more effective as it keeps at least one of the wheel nuts covered, preventing any risk of tenacious thieves removing the wheel outright and replacing it with their own.
Both solutions are effective though, so based on your budget, space and preference, either will work.
When it comes to vehicle security, the mind typically goes straight to protecting doors. However, when it comes to your mobile home, caravan window security is just as important. Caravan windows and doors need to be that little bit more secure than their regular car counterparts, which means investing in stronger, more durable locks. Window and door locks vary in specification, with some offering additional security housings to deter forced entry. There are even devices which attach to your caravan and cover your locks as an additional security measure if you want that extra layer of caravan window security.
The most important point to note is that regular checks of your window and door locks are an essential part of the process. Particularly for older caravans, locks can become worn, loose or damaged, resulting in a clear security weakness. This is also key because security failures can sometimes invalidate your insurance policy, so be sure to keep an eye on the state of the locks on your caravan.
Another way for thieves to access and steal your caravan is by attaching their own towball and towing your caravan themselves. Hitch locks are a method of ensuring that nobody can tow your caravan whilst it’s left unattended. Instead of limiting wheel motion like wheel clamps, hitch locks cover the hitch itself to prevent its use and therefore make the caravan impossible to tow.
The best hitch locks will cover both the securing bolts and the towball, preventing any risk of thieves replacing the hitch themselves to grant themselves towing access.
Before picking out a hitch lock, take a close look at your caravan’s hitch to ensure you know exactly what you need. Stabilisers and other hitch accessories can change your hitch lock requirements, so when in doubt, consult an expert or try multiple options to find the right one for you.
Alarms remain a staple security measure for a host of different applications and caravans should be no different. Alarms deter thieves in the act and, if visible, can also serve as a preventative measure by indicating that an alarm is present. There are a range of different caravan alarms available, from alarmed locks to standard breaking and entering alarms, meaning you have multiple options to choose from. There are even tilt alarms available, which trigger when your caravan is being towed and alert those in the area to the fact that the individual towing your caravan isn’t the owner. Additionally, make sure that if your caravan alarms are visible, they are fitted very securely to ensure they cannot be damaged or removed.
Alarms are cost-effective and reliable, so acquiring one should definitely be on your caravan security checklist.
A more recent innovation in security for caravans is the introduction of trackers. Tracking systems have become increasingly common in our everyday lives from the navigation on our phones to the advertising tracking that is used when online. For caravans, the improvement in this service has allowed for the introduction of affordable trackers that let you to know exactly where your caravan is at all times – much like when you lose your phone and use a tracking service to find it again.
There are actually multiple types of trackers available; proactive and non-proactive. Proactive trackers are designed to trigger an alert for you or your security provider any time motion is detected without your knowledge, whereas non-proactive trackers act passively instead and consistently track the location of the caravan. Based on your requirements and preferences, you can select whatever tracker you need, though many trackers serve less as a deterrent and more as a manner of getting your caravan back after a crime has been committed.
Security posts, or bollards, are affordable caravan security devices that work perfectly when keeping your caravan safe at home. The posts themselves are very simple; all they do is block your driveway to prevent your caravan from being able to get out. Then, when you are ready to leave with your caravan, you can simply remove, retract or detach your security post and be on your way. For a thief, this stops your caravan from being an easy target and serves as an effective deterrent.
There are plenty of different types of security post on the market worth considering:
It’s advisable to hire a professional installation service when it comes to installing security posts, as they can create a lot of waste; though, there’s no doubt that they are effective at preventing theft.
Having looked at the equipment you can acquire to make caravan security easy, it’s now important to discuss the good habits and behavioural changes you should consider. These tips can often be the difference between becoming a victim of caravan theft or not, so keep them in mind or refer back to them when unsure.
Unlike with a residential property, your caravan keys don’t just allow thieves to steal what’s inside your mobile home but enable the theft of the entire vehicle. With this in mind, it’s important to store your keys (and any spares) in a sensible, secure place. That means you should keep them out of sight and difficult to access, even if they are on your person. Caravan thieves are usually opportunistic rather than methodical, so if they see a chance of success then they will take it. Avoid giving them any confidence that they can successfully steal from your caravan by keeping your keys in an obscure, out of sight location.
This is a very common mistake that many vehicle owners make, but your caravan’s documentation should be kept outside of the mobile home itself. This is less of a preventative measure and more of a security method should your caravan be successfully targeted and taken. With the caravan’s documentation on hand, a thief can quickly and easily sell the caravan. Without this paperwork, the thief will be unable to show authentic ownership and, in turn, struggle to sell it on, while you are able to make the authorities aware of all your caravan’s details and specifications when reporting the crime. This is a key habit for ensuring that you get your caravan back as quickly and easily as possible if it is stolen.
Thieves rarely plan their activities; they simply see an opportunity and take it. Removing your valuables from sight is an excellent deterrent – showing that even if a thief breaks into your vehicle, they won’t get much from it. An additional tip to consider is to make the emptiness of your caravan as obvious as possible. Open your cupboards to show there is nothing of value in them and clear as much space as you can. These fine details can sometimes make the difference between being targeted and not.
Much like taking photocopies of your passport is sensible when you’re going abroad, taking pictures of your caravan is a simple but worthwhile security measure to consider. Every caravan has unique characteristics that make it recognisable but when you spend a lot of time around them, you forget the details. These distinctive marks or traits are what make locating your caravan easy, especially for the authorities after it has been stolen. Taking regular photos of your caravan will massively help you remember these characteristics of your vehicle, assisting the authorities in getting your caravan back for you.
Whilst this is a difficult tip to quantify, using your intuition is a key step to keeping your caravan safe. If you think an area seems dangerous or untrustworthy, you shouldn’t leave your caravan there, even if others have. Often, your instincts will be correct, and there is little harm in driving for a while longer to find a safer or more secure space if it puts your mind at ease.
As a final point to discuss, it’s important to talk about caravan insurance, how security measures affect it and what you should keep in mind. What’s essential is to read your caravan insurance coverage in-depth and understand exactly what is expected of you to keep your caravan safe. Some insurance companies request specific security devices to be used, whilst others drop their premiums based on the measures you have in place.
If you are unsure about what your caravan insurance offers in terms of security-related discounts, query with them and you might find yourself saving a fair amount of money.
At Allens Caravans, we specialise in everything caravan related. Our range of residential, holiday and touring caravan parks are dotted across the most scenic areas of the UK, providing caravan owners with beautiful destinations to enjoy. Additionally, most of our caravan parks come complete with dedicated security systems and staff, ensuring that wherever you choose to visit, your caravan is safe and secure around the clock.