Ensuring your caravan or motorhome is secure is a great investment. The cost of some security devices can be balanced out when you get a reduction on your insurance premium. Perhaps even more importantly, you have peace of mind that you have done as much as you can to keep your leisure vehicle safe, and if stolen, a much higher possibility of it being recovered.
If you’ve bought a caravan it’s important to register it with The Central Registration and Identification Scheme (CRiS), is the National Register for UK caravan keepers, similar to the DVLA for motor vehicles.
CRiS was established in 1992 by the NCC to improve caravan security and help prevent and detect caravan related crime. Upon registration a registration document, equivalent to a V5 registration document issued by the DVLA for vehicles, is issued to the keeper of a registered touring caravan. CRiS helps keepers protect the security of their caravans and police and insurers to identify and return stolen caravans to their rightful owners.
Hitch locks provide basic protection from the opportunist thief. Get one that is manufactured from heavy steel, to cover the towing hitch assembly fixing bolts, and incorporates a good quality lock. Always use the lock when you leave the caravan unattended, but consider additional security when the caravan is parked for any length of time. (Some designs of hitch lock allow you to leave it in place when towing - check with the manufacturer).
Wheel locks/clamps are simple to use and can be fitted quickly. They help deter thieves as they take time to remove and should always be used whenever the caravan is left unattended - your clamp is for use when you are away, not just at home!
As a general rule, the heavier and more time-consuming it is to put on, the more difficult it will be for the thief to remove. However, you need to consider weight when carrying the wheel clamp with you. Carrying it in the towing vehicle will reduce the impact on the caravan payload.
Remember to read the manufacturers instructions and comply with them - some clamps require the use of locking wheel nuts in addition to the clamp.
You can read more information here on what to do when choosing a wheel clamp.
Ground anchors & Security Posts
Ground anchors fasten a caravan down to e.g. your garage, drive or car park.
Security posts/bollards are useful for those who keep their caravan on the drive at home. They are cemented into the drive and physically block movement of the caravan, Some allow you to secure your caravan tow hitch assembly to them.
Why use them? The security of a touring caravan or motorhome on a driveway is important and a substantial bollard can assist owners in reducing risk. Most specialist caravan insurers require the fitting of a hitch lock and wheel clamp / wheel immobiliser to a caravan when stored on a driveway - bollards can work in conjunction with these by increasing the amount of time an offender would need to commit a crime.
A bollard well-secured into the ground serves as a positive barrier, and where the asset to be protected is secured to that same bollard then the level of security is substantially increased.
Most offenders seek to commit crimes without attracting attention. Where a bollard is in position to protect an asset, an attempt to remove / displace the bollard with a strap / chain device would be the likely first line of attack - clearly a powered grinder / cutter would attract attention.
CARAVAN & MOTORHOME ALARMS
Caravan and motorhome alarms have a shrill siren to ward off thieves. Most good alarms systems will offer:
- Protection of the contents of the caravan through PIR or other internal sensor technology
- Instant operation upon detection of an intruder inside the caravan
- Protection while stationary/parked, through movement sensors
- Instant activation upon insertion of road lighting plug/turning on ignition
- Some alarms can be linked to a tracking system to allow a monitoring company to notify you if anything untoward appears to be happening to your caravan or motorhome
For more information on choosing an alarm you can see further guidance here: http://www.cssginfo.co.uk/choosing-an-alarm/
Tracking devices are effective deterrents and can be very successful in leading to a fast recovery of a stolen caravan or motorhome. There are devices specifically designed with low battery drain and they utilise a variety of technologies including VHF, GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) and mobile phone technology.
Some are able to pinpoint the location of a stolen vehicle and communicate back to a manned call centre; others use a system of mobile and fixed monitoring points and search teams on the ground then work to locate the vehicle.
Further guidance on questions to ask when selecting a tracking device: http://www.cssginfo.co.uk/choosing-a-tracking-device
Immobilisers are an important recent improvement to caravan security and work on a caravan's wheel by locking it to the axle using a key operated cylindrical bolt system, and passing this through the profile of the actual wheel. This is available on certain new models of caravans and also as a retro fit for older models.