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Safeguarding Your Vehicle
With vehicle theft on the rise, Con Tsobanopoulos from Ken Tame discusses what you can do to minimise your risk.
Words and Images by: CON TSOBANOPOULOS

Opportunistic theft crime rates have risen to an all time high in Australia. With more than 45,000 vehicles stolen in 2017 (as at end of September), this represents an increase in vehicle thefts of nine per cent since 2013. Whilst the number of RV specifically classified vehicles represent less than 10 per cent of this total number of thefts, more than 50 per cent of RVs stolen are not recovered, and are classified as ‘profit motivated’ theft. This means they are stolen for their intrinsic value as either a whole vehicle, parts or scrap.

Your vehicle is a significant asset - protecting it from opportunistic thieves should be your priority. Vehicles are usually broken into because valuables are left within clear sight. Whilst this is a less common reason amongst our RV community, it’s really important that you don’t leave any valuables within clear sight. Opportunistic thieves are already aware that within the RV is a lot of what they would find in most homes, so they don’t need to be further tempted by valuables within clear sight.

The second most common reason for vehicles to be broken into, and it’s hardly a ‘break-in’, is when the keys are left in the ignition or simply on the dashboard or the seat, and the door is left open.

Unfortunately, within our community, this is the most common reason for either items to be stolen or worst still, the vehicle being driven away. It only takes a momentary lapse of concentration and let me assure you, there is almost always someone trying to benefit from your error.

A few examples we’ve seen very recently are where people said they were popping into the local store to pick up some milk or the paper; pulling over to use the bathroom; or arming up the vehicle in the driveway before heading off, while popping inside to grab a last minute thing or to finish a cuppa.

They all only take a few minutes, right? Surely nothing will happen to the vehicle in this short time? Unfortunately, this is when you’re most pre-occupied (vulnerable) and the opportunistic thief who’s watching  knows this and will pounce on the opportunity to help themselves. These people are very equipped at what they do and rest assured they’ll have their job done in less than half the time it takes you to do yours.

Leaving doors open and valuables in the caravan is dangerous

Loss or damage to your vehicle at any time unless you have taken reasonable steps to protect or safeguard your vehicle, is usually excluded under your insurance policy. Additionally, if you do not take all reasonable precautions to prevent loss or damage, including securing your vehicle against unauthorised entry when it is unattended, it could result in a very costly experience for you.

Remove your keys, lock the vehicle, and ensure that all security and tracking devices are active and maintained – even if it’s just for a couple of moments, and don’t leave your vehicle unlocked and unattended.

Van hatches may be a target

Not only are the opportunistic thieves out there, but they are also becoming more brash like in recent cases where they’ve taken a brand new vehicle off someone who had pulled over to assist an autistic child - while police officers were on site; or they’ve stolen a vehicle from the petrol station with children  in the back while the parent was paying for fuel.

The National Vehicle Theft Reduction Council says, “you cannot afford to leave your vehicle unattended unlocked with the keys in it. There is almost always someone on the lookout for an easy opportunity to steal it. If you have an older vehicle that doesn’t have  an immobiliser fitted, get one! Also, GPS tracking is becoming more affordable than ever, and should seriously be considered given the level of investment owners are making in their RVs”.

It’s advised to always keep your caravan hitched to the car when parked in free camps

So remember, whilst it may be something that only takes a few minutes and surely ‘it won’t happen to me’ or ‘no-one could be that  brave’, to avoid the embarrassment of explaining what happened, and most importantly, to protect and safeguard one of your greatest assets (not to mention what it could personally cost you), I encourage you to think twice, remove your keys, lock the vehicle, and ensure that all security and tracking devices are active.

Tags: KTA Ken Tame and Associates Insurance Safeguarding Safe Motorhome Caravan Campervan RV Risk Fire Theft Protection GPS Tracking
Category: Features
Written: Tue 01 May 2018
Printed: May, 2018
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