Gardaí are asking caravan and campervan owners to be vigilant, with more people taking staycations due to the current Covid-19 lockdown.
The campaign comes as part of the Garda Park Smart appeal, with caravan and campervan owners being advised to take extra security measures following a cluster of recent thefts. This comes as a result of 13 caravans being stolen since March of this year.
Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Ber Leetch said: "With ‘staycations’ expected to rise this year, and more people using caravans and campervans, there is a need to be extra vigilant with their security.
“As a campervan owner myself, I always make sure we have the hitch lock on when we are parked up for the evening or when it’s not in use. We have also invested in a tracking device, they can be purchased for around €150, so if our campervan was ever stolen there is a better chance of getting it back."
Sergeant Leetch pointed out that although the caravan can be very expensive, the sentimental items contained within can be irreplaceable, "I would recommend that you keep valuables out of sight and make sure everything is locked when you go out. Criminals are opportunistic so whilst you may think that it's fine whilst you pop out for half an hour, you never know.
“Don’t give them the opportunity by not securing it. Please make sure you park smart and lock up your caravan or campervan no matter where you are. If something is stolen from you, not matter what it is, call the Gardaí immediately.”
According to gardaí, more than €30m worth of items have been stolen from vehicles in the last four years.
Since 2019, 43 caravans and campervans have been stolen. The most recent incident occurred on in July where a caravan worth around €4,000 was stolen from a yard. The owner had no record of any serial number or chassis number or image of the caravan, which can make it very hard for An Garda Síochána to recover, although in this instance the vehicle has since been returned to the owner.
The value of some of the caravans and campervans that have been stolen ranges in value from €1,000 to €30,000.
· Ensure a good quality hitch lock and wheel clamps are in place and that the caravan is locked to a secure point
· Get an alarm fitted if one is not already in place.
· Keep valuables out of sight and remove when not in use
· Ensure windows and doors are locked.
· Park in a well-lit area. Keep a light on if left unattended overnight
· Use a cover when not in use. This may deter thieves as pulling off a cover can be noisy and add to the time taken to steal the caravan.
· Keep good records of all serial numbers, unique markings, image of the caravan/campervan etc. Keep documents secure.
· Consider voluntarily registering your caravan with the Central Registration and Identification Scheme.