The UK Sees Dramatic Rise in Caravan Theft: Is Australia Next?

Author: Tahlia Maynard   Date Posted:17 September 2016 

Although we don’t often hear about caravan thefts in the Australian news, they can and still do happen. 
In January of 2016, the UK’s National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) announced that 614 caravans were reported stolen during 2015, an increase of approximately 20%. 
Experts and local authorities have attributed this rise in crime to the British “staycation” phenomenon.

This term refers to the increasing tendency of citizens to camp and vacation domestically, often in caravans, as opposed to partaking in international travel. 

The UK and Australia have both seen a significant drop in the value of their dollar, an event which experts believe has directly contributed to this increase in staycationing and, in Britain’s case, the subsequent increase in caravan thefts. Although the rate of caravan thefts has not risen in Australia as of yet, one has to wonder whether perhaps we will soon be following suit. 

Evolution of Caravan Thefts
This rise in crime does not seem to be due to neglectful policies on the park of the UK.
In fact, Tim Booth of NaVCIS notes, “We’ve been working with the industry to help reduce caravan thefts year-on-year so to see an increase this year is significant”. Earlier, in 2010, Peter Wright, executive officer of the Caravan Trade Industries Association, publically announced that Australia had seen an annual rise in caravan thefts. However, at this time Wright also noted, “These thefts usually occur when there is a lack of van security, such as a toy hitch lock, and caravans are facing outwards, making it easier to tow them away”

 

It seems that as caravan owners and storage sites have begun to amp up their security measures, caravan thieves are also evolving their techniques.  Recently, Booth has described the rise of caravan thefts as a “result of offenders targeting caravan storage areas, not just the ‘informal farm storage area’ but also the most robust secure storage sites”. NaVCIS has recently advised caravan owners to check up on their caravan every so often while it is in storage. Although many caravans can be equipped with tracking devices, these devices can be useless if the owner isn’t immediately notified of the theft.

Security Measures
An RV is an expensive purchase and it makes sense to want to protect it, especially in light of the caravan industry becoming increasingly lucrative. 

Here are a few tips to help you keep your caravan secure:

  1. Choose a professional and secure storage facility. Although it may seem better to keep your caravan close under your watchful eye, Shield Total Insurance reports that 55% of caravan thefts occur at home.

  2. Invest in a quality caravan cover. It’s not a strong barrier but any obstacle will be a deterrent to thieves.
  3. Invest in secure caravan equipment, such as hitch locks, wheel clamps, security posts, and ground anchors
  4. Because we can’t always predict the future, it’s always wise to invest in theft recovery equipment as well. Sky tags are an extremely popular option, requiring only a small one-time fee.