Article Comment: How to avoid theft of your caravan or camper

I've recently put an old android phone in my van and activated and linked Find Device with my main mobile phone and travelling tablets. I got a sim online from Telstra (for geographic coverage) which is a Long Life pre-paid ($30 for 6 months). A data charge seems to be made each day (and quite variable cost) at 1am so I'm not sure how long the credit will last before topping up. The alternative is to add the cheapest post-paid plan I suppose. Telstra also manages a find my device service through its 24x7 app.
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Reply By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019 at 17:54

Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019 at 17:54
Hi Dan,
That's sounds a great idea.
Interested to read your follow ups.
William
Always planning the next trip. VKS-737 mobile 1619

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AnswerID: 628643

Reply By: Malcom M - Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 08:00

Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 08:00
Don't see how that is going to avoid theft.
Ok, you might be able to see where its got to after its been stolen but only if its with the mobile coverage area.
Doesn't take long to get out of the coverage areas in Sydney...

AnswerID: 628654

Follow Up By: Member - Dan (ACT) - Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 09:42

Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 09:42
Yep, quite true about not avoiding theft (unless perhaps you advertise "Hidden Tracker on Board" ). But it is another string to the bow and you might recover the van/vehicle more quickly. I don't think any device will stop a determined and experienced thief - we can only deter and/or try to nab them in the act.
And while Telstra has its issues it still has the largest geographic coverage in Australia. The only better way (and probably more expensive) is to use some sort of satellite tracking.
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FollowupID: 903103

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 09:46

Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 09:46
Hi Dan

Not putting you down, but a mobile phone will be totally useless in areas on no phone signal.

If you are that concerned, why not invest in a genuine GPS Tracker that will work anywhere.

You only need power from the battery and can hide them anywhere.

As we all know, phone signals can be hit and miss and in situations like that, you will not know where your van is.


Good Luck
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Follow Up By: Member - Dan (ACT) - Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 10:51

Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 10:51
Yep - it certainly does need phone signal coverage.

Its an old phone (cracked screen etc) laying around unused (ie zero cost) and the plan is the cheapest I could find.

I really only envisaged it as being of most benefit in urban areas or when passing through phone coverage areas and particularly if you are aware of the vehicle's/van's loss early.

GPS trackers are certainly more useful/valuable, and more expensive including ongoing plans.
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FollowupID: 903105

Follow Up By: Tom C6 - Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 16:31

Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 16:31
From my understanding, the standalone GPS Trackers also need cell tower access in order to report their location (at least my previous one did).

I too now just use an old mobile phone with the FollowMe app that relies on both GPS and cell tower triangulation for location. While at home it sits on my home WLAN network to minimise mobile phone costs and moves across to mobile service when it leaves home.

Once it leaves mobile phone service area it obviously stops reporting it's location, but I can tell where it's last reported location was, and as soon as it enters a mobile service area it again begins reporting location.

I would imagine it would not be often that a caravan would be stolen and taken to a location that has no mobile service.
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FollowupID: 903110

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 17:00

Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 17:00
Tom

GPS trackers use satellites to receive and transmit data.

The advantage of GPS is it will work where your phone will not.

Not sure where you heard different from
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 10:40

Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 10:40
Friend of mine hard wired his old gen 1 Spot tracker into his van. That way he has a record of his travels, which he wants, plus he or Plod can find his van if it ever gets stolen.
AnswerID: 628659

Follow Up By: Member - peter_mcc - Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 13:18

Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 at 13:18
They work anywhere but only give 5 min updates and don't work under buildings - so if it does get stolen in a city you have little chance of tracking it down unless they park it outside.

If you're really worried I think you would need both - 4G tracker for around the city, satellite tracker for the bush.
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FollowupID: 903108

Follow Up By: Member - John - Friday, Nov 15, 2019 at 06:31

Friday, Nov 15, 2019 at 06:31
The SPOT unit needs to see the sky to pick up satellites, it would probably be very easy to "spot" pun intended.
John and Jan

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Follow Up By: Member - peter_mcc - Friday, Nov 15, 2019 at 09:53

Friday, Nov 15, 2019 at 09:53
Depends on the construction of your caravan/camper - it works through fiberglass/plastic so can be hidden inside on some.
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FollowupID: 903124

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Nov 15, 2019 at 09:08

Friday, Nov 15, 2019 at 09:08
Dan

I have come across this, it could be another option for you.

Caravan anti theft system
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Follow Up By: Member - Dan (ACT) - Friday, Nov 15, 2019 at 09:48

Friday, Nov 15, 2019 at 09:48
Thanks Stephen

Yeah, I was aware of WiTi. Looks very good. I like the idea of alarms, lights and locking brakes as well as GPS tracking. The cost of the unit isn't too bad given the cost of our vans.

I just had an old phone laying around and wondered about a cheaper alternative - like I said it was another string to the bow (I have an alarmed Kovix hitch lock and at home I have very obvious and signposted cameras) with an otherwise useless mobile phone.
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FollowupID: 903123

Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 14:01

Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 14:01
I've got the original theft deterrent for my car-carrier trailer. It's called a 20mm (thick) link, hi-tensile chain, with a high quality Abloy stainless steel padlock, attached to another substantial item, such as a sizeable tree, a truck chassis, a concrete block, or a large diameter solid fencepost.

Yes, a determined thief could cut through the chain with a battery-powered angle grinder and cutting disc - but they have to come prepared, and be prepared to make a lot of noise.

I don't have to worry about phone or satellite signals being eliminated or interfered with, batteries going flat, power being disconnected, or phone plans ending without noticing.

Thieves are essentially lazy, if they see a major deterrent, they usually go onto to something easier.
Even a simple sign, "hidden camera surveillance in this area", works to unnerve them.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 628693

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 15:18

Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 15:18
.
Ha Ron,
A sign, "hidden camera surveillance in this area", works to unnerve them.'? .... I doubt it.
People put up those signs willy nilly, without a camera anywhere.
It is a virtual guarantee that there is no camera. They might pull the hoodie on but.
It's like someone declaring.... "I'm honest"..... Yeah, yeah, sure.

Maybe a bumper sticker affirming the Bandidos would have more deterrent effect.

Cheers
Allan

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FollowupID: 903169

Reply By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019 at 21:22

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019 at 21:22
I've got a tracker with a siren. It can be wired to apply the electric brakes but that's illegal.
AnswerID: 628739

Follow Up By: Member - Dan (ACT) - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019 at 22:05

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019 at 22:05
Have a look at this one. Applies brakes too.

https://www.witi.com.au/

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FollowupID: 903246

Reply By: Sigmund - Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 at 02:58

Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 at 02:58
Also helps to wrap and lock the safety chains around the jockey shaft
- they can't be used to tow the unit and the jockey can't be swung up.
AnswerID: 628740

Reply By: Sigmund - Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 at 08:19

Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 at 08:19
Another sub option is a $5 sim from AMAYSIM. Valid for a year with a bit of credit.

Runs on Optus which is fine given our population concentrations.
AnswerID: 628741

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