So I have been using the camper to get to and from work while working on the conversion. Security was always a concern of mine but like most people, you never expect it to happen to yourself. And besides, the van is relatively secure with the factory locks, I always lock the van and try not to leave anything on show.
So last week, I was working in Tamworth, around 15 miles away from Birmingham. The job I am currently doing has me traveling all over the UK, usually staying in hotels at night for a weeks duration while then in the day I take the van and work in a nearby shopping center.
The hotel for last week was a Travelodge, located north bound on the A38 just outside of Lichfield. The hotel itself is located just of a duel carriageway with nothing around it, I think this hotel is used for people traveling as there was no nearby shops, just a small Indian restaurant next door.
So, like most nights, I parked the van up on the hotel car park not thinking anything about it. The van was parked around the corner, away from the main entrance to the hotel, so first off this is the first lesson I learned.
Always park the van in a highly visible place.
The car park itself was adequately lit so I really had no concerns regarding security, especially when I have never been a victim of a vehicle break-in.
So the morning after, it was just like any other day. I got ready and walked to the van and that’s when I first noticed the side door. So I slowly walked up to the door and noticed the door all pulled back. At first, I thought it may of been another vehicle that back into the door at night, and sped off.
Upon closer inspection, I noticed the crow bar marks where the scumbags have tried to pries the door. Lucky for me, they never managed to get in, but they did however cause a bit of damage to the van.
So, that’s it, what can you do! No matter how mad you get, you have to remember that there are always going to be people out there that will not think twice on stealing your hard earned stuff! I thought should I go down the Police route and insurance but my mandatory insurance excess is £180 and as they never got in, I will use this as a lesson learned. Oh, and the cameras at the Travelodge was out of order at the time this happened, typical!
So here is what I am going to do to try to prevent any future break ins.
Park the van in a busy location, ideally a place where there will always be others about. Don’t leave ANYTHING on show! Put the stereo front away, hide the mobile mount, hide everything to make it less appealing to a would-be thief.
- If I can, park the van doors up to a solid structure to prevent access.
- Park the van near any CCTV cameras.
- Upgrade the van locks. I have decided to purchase external van locks for all the doors as hopefully will deter would-be thieves from trying to break in in the first place.
- Install a good alarm and GPS tracker.
- Stickers on the inside windows stating the van has security deterrents in place.
- A good strong steering lock bar.
- Install a hidden safe securely to the van for my laptop/DSLR. So if they do get in, then this should keep my valuables safe.
I hope this will help with deterring any thieves in the future, but also will help my conscious more now when I park the van up overnight when I am not sleeping inside.
So to other van dwellers, or anyone in fact owning a vehicle, stay smart and play safe!