Caravan security is a significant concern in the UK, with around 1,400 caravans stolen every year, according to the Caravan Club and many more broken into or burgled.
Only a few stolen caravans are recovered as they quickly disappear into the black market with all ownership marks removed, making it tough to identify the original owner.
Caravans can be taken any time of year, and two to three-year-old caravans are the most likely to be stolen, according to police.
Most are snatched from the drives of homeowners. While people go to some expense to install burglar alarms in their homes, they don't seem to bother too much about a caravan parked on the drive, even when it is worth several thousands of pounds.
Caravans can also be taken from commercial storage compounds when security is slack or occasionally from official caravan sites or dealership compounds.
It is clearly worthwhile to take some steps to protect your mobile home and its contents from thieves and burglars, even when it is parked on the drive of your own home.
There are scores of caravan security devices on the market, from wheel clamps to sophisticated tracking devices, and prices between products and systems can vary, so it's probably best to get some expert advice on caravan security. As technology develops, new devices are constantly coming onto the market. That's where Crown Securities (UK) can help. A professional assessment and security installation can not only improve your chances of not becoming a victim of caravan crime but also end up costing you less.
Hitch locks and wheel clamps are the first things to consider when protecting your caravan against thieves. They can undoubtedly deter opportunistic thieves, but they must also be robust and sturdy enough to survive attacks with drills, bolts and saws. Remember that criminals will also think nothing of using grappling devices or chains to drag caravans onto a trailer or to remove wheels and cause any amount of minor damage to escape with the caravan.
Many types of caravan alarm are available on the market and widely varying prices and levels of electronic sophistication. Issues such as power consumption, wireless range and tamper-proof enhancements make picking out the best a job for the expert. The latest on the market is caravan tracking systems that can locate the stolen vehicle using satellite signals or wireless technology. Issues to consider are power consumption, battery life and durability, especially if the thief tries to damage or remove the devices. The wise will choose products that have passed industry standards performance tests such as those carried out by Sold Secure, the primary testing and certification service for security products, and by Thatcham Research, the motor insurers' automotive research centre. Caravan alarm systems include 'monitored' alarms that alert a monitoring centre if anything is amiss and 'unmonitored' systems that contact the owner directly, often by mobile text message.
The effectiveness of the tracking system depends on how easy it can be to recover the stolen caravan. The policy among many police forces will not ensure a response to a stolen vehicle report from an unmonitored tracking system. Still, police may respond from an authorised and accredited monitoring centre, so it's worth checking before you buy. Tracking systems are an efficient way of recovering stolen caravans quickly and before any damage is done. Insurers may offer discounts when tracking systems are fitted, but owners need to ensure that their insurance company recognises the make and model. Data chip systems have been around for some time, but few have industry approval, although many new caravans are now electronically tagged during manufacture. Security microdot marking can be helpful, making stolen caravans easier to identify.
Other security measures can include high-security door and window locks, locked wheels for winter storage, painting codes on the roof so it can be spotted from bridges or on highway security cameras registering your caravan with the Caravan Club which has a theft check scheme for members. All this comes with a cost overhead, but against this must be set security, peace of mind and lower insurance premiums. If you do decide to beef up caravan security, it may be wise to have a word with security alarm experts like Crown Securities (UK).