ESSENTIAL SECURITY FOR YOUR MOTORHOME SECURITY
Motorhome security and THEFT – one of the biggest worries that people have with their motorhome or camper – and we are just the same.
This article will help you to understand some of the actions that you can take to increase your motorhome security and deter theft from actually happening. Prevention is better than recoverey.
Motorhome Insurance Statistics
ONLY 13% of Motorhomes have a tracker installed
54% of motorhomes don't have an alarm installed
Most expensive motorhome recovered by a tracker in 2020 was £45,000
66% of Motorhomes are kept in the drive - 8% on the roads
Source – This is Money – 2020
As a full-timer – motorhome security is everything to us – everything we own in on wheels! If someone stole the vehicle it would be awful for us as our home would be gone – but it would also be devastating if someone broke in and stole our possessions.
Whether at home or travelling – the concerns are the same. So lets get that broken down for you, to enable you make your motorhome security the best it can be.
Motorhome security whilst travelling
There are several different types of concern with theft whilst travelling:
- Wild Camping
- Public Carparks
These are the different occasions that you are likely to be leaving your vehicle on its own for any given periods (unless you have gone to a campsite to just stay on the campsite of course! But even then you may have possession theft to concern yourself about).
I am going to take each of these issues and look at the key areas that you can help to deter theft (of your van or its contents) for all of them.
Motorhome Security visuals
A really good idea when you get your motorhome or camper is to get the visual security sorted out. Motorhome security visuals could be the thing that puts someone off of stealing your van, simply because you have made it just more difficult for them. Thieves like to be in and out – or in and driving. So anything that makes this harder and slower is going to be a good thing.
There are a number of visuals that you can take to deter thieves:
- Vehicle Wheel Clamp
- Steering Wheel Lock
- Pedal Clamps
- Window Stickers
- Swivel Chairs & Seatbelts!
Wheel clamps are one of the biggest visual deterrents that can just be seen from a distance – never mind the assessment that people may make closer up. Not only do you have a massive, external visual deterrent, the vehicle can not be moved whilst it is in place – so unless someone is going to tow your motorhome away – which is an awful lot of trouble to go, this one is a must have item.
Most vehicle thefts are because it is easy to drive the vehicle away – and this is the first measure that stops that happening.
Steering Wheel Locks
You can get various types of steering wheel locks to prevent the wheel from turning and being steered. The choices are between the full wheel locks which cover the entire wheel so that it is extremely difficult to even cut through if a thief has made it into your van – to the more common ‘crook’ type lock.
You should always use these when you leave your motorhome. It doesn’t take long to get in and drive away – but this kind of lock could prevent the opportunist thief from taking action. We use ours even when we pop into supermarkets etc and always when we leave for a longer period of time. They don’t take up much space and do give a bit more peace of mind.
Another simple but effective device that stops your motorhome being driven away by locking the brake and accelerator pedals together and/or stopping them being pressed to the ground so there is no ability even if they manage to get past all the other things that you have implemented. Used it in conjunction with the steering wheel lock – a very small item that can be easily stored in your motorhome – its a great deterrent.
I wasn’t sure whether to cover these off under visual deterrents or door and window security! But window stickers are just small little things that may put someone off of trying to enter your motorhome or camper for very little outlay. We have these on all of our windows. It is just another layer of security and we want all the security that we can get, thanks!
Swivel Chairs/Seat Belts
These are the final ones that we have covered in this visual section. What a fabulous idea these are in some of the newer motorhomes. Unfortunately we don’t have swivel chairs in Freddy, the layout of our van has a separate driving cab section and the hab living behind. If the drivers chair swung round it would be looking at the fridge. Which is OK I guess – as you don’t have to sit in it!
If you are lucky enough to have swivel chairs in your motorhome or camper, get into the habit of swivelling them round when you leave the vehicle and locking them in place. Many people get big chunky chains to use with a padlock on them to fix the chair into the locked posi
Although we can’t do the whole swivel seat thing in Freddy – what we are able to do is to take our seatbelts, pass them through the door handle on the door and then lock them into the seatbelt fastener, which effectively stops the doors from being opened in the cab.
motorhome Security for windows and doors
Windows and hab doors are a tricky one. We have locks on our windows and stickers. The windows on our van open outwards.
We have an alarm on each of the hab windows and the hab door. These are also visual signs for anyone that is on the outside and thinking of trying to get in.
We don’t use them EVERY time we go out – but we do use them if we are leaving the van for any period of time to visit towns or cities or perhaps a couple of hours in a bar or restaurant etc.
We manually go around and turn them all on – we purchased a pack of 6 and they fit on the windows – whether they open out (5 of them) or if they are sliding (the kitchen window). Very simple to fit – but absolutely deafening! It would certainly give someone a shock!
Curtains and Blinds
Yup we all have them – but do we use them? Just drawing the curtains and/or blinds stops people from being able to see what you have in your motorhome which could be worth stealing. Simply draw all the blinds and curtains whenever you pop out – even to the shops. We do this without fail all the time.
Vehicle Alarms and Trackers
OK – these can be expensive – but these really are the must have item for your motorhome – but you should use it alongside the visuals.
The visuals are to stop people from thinking that your motorhome or van is a possible target. But if they really decide that yours is the one that they want – then you need to go a step further – and this is where these types of security step in.
Lets look at these in a little more detail’
We have one of these and although the initial cost was quite high – and we have to pay a yearly subscription for it – we feel much better for having it installed.
The purpose of a tracker is that if (and lets hope this doesn’t happen to any of us!) – but if your vehicle gets stolen, not only will you have a phone app to track it on – you will be able to call that in to a service centre and they will automatically be able to track it and inform the police. This is all part of the subscription that you pay for annually.
We use GPS Live – we can see where it is when we are out and about too – so sometimes if we stop for a coffee – we open the app to just check the van is still where we left it! Just helps alleviate any anxiety for us. Thankfully we haven’t had to use it! Some insurance companies insist you have a Thacham approved tracker in them – which GPS Live is.
I know that some people, if they have less available money source to outlay on these kind of trackers, buy smaller trackers that you can hide around the van with their own sim cards in. The problem with these is that they need to have an active sim card, can need regular charging and also can be more easily discovered. Ours is wired into the engine (somehow!) and also acts as an immobiliser. We did look into these smaller trackers – but in the end, given we live fulltime in our van, we decided that we needed to splash the cash.
Motorhome Alarm System
Motorhome alarm systems are slightly more complex – and as with anything – they can be as easy or as simple as you like – thats what you pay for. Some alarms will cover for your windows, some for doors, some for all of them – and of course you have that hab door to alarm as well.
Alarm systems again are great deterrents from a thief actually driving your motorhome away. Nothing like a blasting siren to put people off as soon as the door is open. If they do decide to carry on – they have to get through your steering lock, then the clutch pedal and then finally find out your alarm is also an immobiliser. agggghhhh – a thief’s nightmare!! We have this kind! So with our GPS system – we have 2 immobilisers – I really don’t rate their chances in getting away with our Freddy!
There are a range of security cameras on the market – you will need to research into some of these depending on the level of kit that you want on your motorhome.
We have an internal security camera which we switch on when we leave the van and go into cities or out for a length of time. It is a fish-eye type camera, which is operational by plugging into the USB slot we have on our 12v system.
We haven’t had to use it yet! But you can talk into it on the phone “Oi, what are you doing in my van” would be enough to scare the pants off a lot of people!
Of course Google have a range of visual bells and phone security all linked into their tablets. This is something we have been thinking about recently as well – but figure we have quite a lot of security at the moment – so this is on the back burner for us right now.
Don’t forget some of the external security cameras can be triggered to light up – but I guess it depends on what you want it for and if you are travelling or at home with the van on your driveway.
Campsites are often a pretty secure kind of place to leave your motorhome comfortably. They often have gates securing the entry which are often locked at night between certain hours – we left our motorhome for 4 nights whilst we went to Venice.
So what did we do? We told the owners that we were going to be away for 4 nights. We didnt leave anything outside the van. All vents and windows were closed and we had the steering lock on and the alarm was set.
In campsites – the people more likely to steal things are the people on the actual campsite themselves – so anything left outside is game to someone of that mindset. Keep things locked up!
Lots of horror stories float around about Aires and the problems that can be found there.
Some of the Aires on the continent are fabulous – they are like a campsite – but no security. No CCTV, no locked gates, no control over the comings and goings of people.
We would always recommend that you stay clear of the busy and crowded Aires on the main motorways. They tend to be frequented by local opportunistic thieves.
They come and go as they please and can see who has just arrived. We have been circled by this kind of opportunistic thief on French Aires. Recommendation is that you move on if you feel uncomfortable.
wild camping security
This is a weird one really – because we mostly wild camp. Actually, it is wild parking most of the time – we rarely get anything out of the motorhome when we have stopped anywhere. This is where we feel the safest.
And the reason for it is that only we know we are there! Most of the time anyway. Occasionally we use the Park4Night app to find a space, but most of the time we try and find a park up which is out of the towns or villages that we like to visit and nice and quiet. We mostly go to bed pretty early and wake up early – but even wild camping – we always lock the doors and pull all the blinds and depending where we are, we put the steering lock on too.
Car park security is really where we use all the visual things that we have plus the alarm.
Obviously we are talking about simply parking up for a couple of hours or so here -maybe to take a walk or go on a bike ride.
If we are out for a longer time (several hours) then we park up inside the village or in busier carparks – and if it is quieter or nearer a bigger city – we put on the security camera and window alarms etc.
We steer clear of bigger cities – we prefer to park outside and either bike, train or bus in. Bigger cities tends to mean more crime.
Get A Dog!
common sense security!
Finally use that great bit of security we are gifted with for free! Your common sense.
- Don’t leave things on display – ever. An i-pad is an i-pad. Offering that up in the hope your laptop is left actually is an encouragement for a break-in. You will have the expense of getting the motorhome fixed from any break-in damage, the horrible feeling of someone being in your space and possibly increased insurance premiums when you go to renew the following year.
- Always close all the doors, windows and vents and keep them locked. An open door/window is an open invitation.
- Remember to remove things like Sat Nav, phones or Go-Pros from the window/cab etc.
Securing Your Motorhome at Home
If you don’t live in your motorhome fulltime (and there are plenty of you that don’t!), then security at home is probably going to be your number one issue. This is where most motorhome thefts take place.
There are a number of things that you can do to help to secure your motorhome.
- Get CCTV installed in your driveway and ensure that your motorhome parking is covered in the set up.
- If possible – park in a place which is not so visible. So behind a hedge or at the very end of the driveway.
- Pay to have your motorhome stored in a professional storage facility with CCTV and secure gating
- Use a post which is concreted into the ground to prevent the vehicle being moved.
- Block you vehicle in with other vehicles – they will have to steal all of them to get the one they want
- Invest in an alarm – it really is worth the money – don’t be a statistic.