Caravan theft reached a peak in the mid to late 90s where some 4,500 caravans were reported stolen. Thanks largely to greater awareness and initiatives such as CRiS (Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme) and CSSG (Caravan safety and security group) this number has now dropped to around 1,200 per year. If for example, the average caravan insurance claim for a stolen caravan was £15,000 then that means the stolen caravan trade is worth around £18 million to those unfortunate enough to be targeted by thieves.*
*Stats courtesy of AVCIS (Anti-Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service)
Towergate Insurance have teamed up with Thiefbeaters to give you some practical and effective solutions to help keep your caravan and its contents safe. Thiefbeaters offer bespoke security solutions to help protect your property. The following article outlines a few clever ways of tagging your caravan or its contents so that your property can be identified by the police or your insurer in the event of a theft. Security tagging your caravan will also help to make the thieves think twice about trying to steal your caravan in the first place.
As you might expect, the summer months are some of the busiest for Thiefbeaters. It's during the busy holiday season that the majority of calls come in reporting thefts and break-ins on caravans. You could avoid this by following simple advice such as taking valuables with you when you go out for the day. Sometimes however, no matter how determined you are to keep your possessions safe, there's a thief who's more determined still.
Items fitted with Thiefbeaters solutions are between 75-95% less at risk of theft than items without. Thiefbeaters also have a 50-60% record of returning property to its rightful owner in the event of a theft.*
*Figures dependent upon level of protection chosen.
What does it do?
Micro-dots feature a tiny disc on which a unique ID number is laser etched. This ID number is linked to your details on a data base and can be used by police or private individuals to link owner to property.
Plus points - Provide absolute proof that the caravan can be linked to its owner. Easy to apply and can be done at home. Good for smaller items. Low cost solution.
Negative points - Not so good on larger items as they are harder to find. Requires specialist equipment to check for them. By itself does not act as a deterrent to thieves. If buying second hand, purchaser cannot easily run a check on a micro-dot. This makes it easier for thieves to off load stolen caravans.
What does it do?
Electronic tags are all around us. They can be used to tag pets or grant us access to a building. They can also be used to security tag caravans and some other items. Electronic tags take many different shapes and sizes and could be a few millimetres or as big as a pencil. They can be scanned to reveal a unique ID number and a phone number for thiefbeaters for further assistance
Plus points - Easy to find an scan. Provide an ID number and phone number instantly. Suitable for a range of items large or small
Negative points - Thieves are wise to the tags locations. Can be removed by thieves if found. Although easy to read when found, tags are only readable when reader is within an inch of the tag. Scanners to read the tags are not always readily available with all police officers
Etched ID Number
What does it do?
Thiefbeaters etch an alpha numeric code on to 40-60 parts of your caravan. This etching also includes a number to phone thief beaters in order to report a stolen caravan. The etchings are easily visible to the naked eye and in most cases are extremely difficult to remove without destroying parts of the caravan.
Plus points - Easy to read without the need for specialist equipment. Impossible to remove all locations of the number. Almost impossible for thieves to find all locations of TB number.
Negative points - Can be polished off of plastic laminate caravan windows. But not from all other locations.
What does it do?
Recovery tracking devices allow your caravan to be located anywhere. In the unfortunate event that your caravan should get stolen, the tracking device will ensure that the thieves do not get far before they are traced.
Thiefbeaters recommend that you use this method in conjunction with another form of security tagging to ensure that when your caravan is found, you can prove beyond all doubt that the caravan belongs to you.
Plus points - Of all items fitted with tracking devices from Thiefbeaters, 100% were recovered and returned to their rightful owners.
Negative points - Not a deterrent. Although this solution works well if your caravan gets stolen, it does very little to stop it being stolen in the first place. Advertising a tracking system is deployed is not a good idea
Do the basics right
As well as using technology to beat the crime, using your common sense can also make a huge difference. In closing, here are some words of wisdom from the Anti-Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service;
Make sure the unit is stored safely over the winter and that all insurance conditions are met. If you need to store your caravan away from home look for a site which is a member of CaSSOA (Caravan Storage Site Owners Association) as these sites are likely to have better security in place.
Remove any valuables that do not need to be stored in the caravan. This applies whether you're leaving your caravan for an hour or leaving it in storage for months. When storing your caravan away for the winter, if you can, go as far as taking the upholstery away. This will give thieves the impression that your caravan really is empty of everything.
If you do have to leave items in the caravan, make sure everything of value is marked with the caravan CRiS number. This will provide evidence that this property belongs to you should it be returned or recovered by police.