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Dr Bobís 13-point Prescription for Security and Safety PDF Printable Version E-mail

Dr Bob's 13-point Prescription for Security and Safety

3 April 2015 

Dr Bob, already a prolific contributor to this website (this will be his seventeenth article), sends the following prescription from Sri Lanka, en route to Australia. Very experienced travellers, Dr Bob and Sandra keep a cottage and a McLouis motorhome in Spain and a Land Rover Discovery and caravan in Australia. They also have some great ideas on how to deal with intruders.

He writes:

So, let's see what we can add, having had a successful and quite destructive break-in to our McLouis Glen 690 at the Cartagena Fiesta in 2005, and two more attempted break-ins (Portugal and Italy) in 2011 and 2014 respectively.

1. Wherever possible park where there is good lighting. Never skulk in a dark corner car park when overhead street and security lighting may be available.

2. Park in a manner that allows the maximum visibility to passers-by who may note nefarious happenings.

3. Always park ready for an immediate departure. Motorhomes are much better than caravans in this regard.

4. Chain your cab doors together. We use a chain and padlock but have dispensed with the screens to the side windows, so that criminals can actually look in and see that the doors cannot be opened, even if they force the lock. This is from two such experiences where the would-be thieves thought the flashing LED cab alarm was fake. It woke us but not until the lock/s had been screw-drivered. So we now let them see that the doors are chained.

5. Cab Alarm.

6. Gas Alarm - and test frequently.

7. External lock to caravan door (as opposed to cab doors).

8. If staying in an area for some time, then change free-pitches every other day if possible.

9. Stay on service areas on toll motorways if possible, and near the fuel station or where you can be observed from same. Worth the disruption.

10. Try not to park on motorways within 50 km of a national border: for example between Spain and France, where we were warned off by the French Police who informed us of cross-border gangs. They also advised us to drive as far as possible from the border and then get off the motorway; a bit difficult if you are looking for free-camping after dark as we all know.

11. Ensure you have the appropriate Police Telephone Number (112 throughout Europe) logged into your phone memory and each night confirm your location for information purposes. If you have Google Translate then you can simply write down what to say and your location, with a GPS location from your SatNav if possible.

12. On-board additions: we carry a variety of (legal) heavy blunt objects that can be part of your repair kit and camping equipment, eg axe and hammer. We also acquired a pepper spray in Greece, although a squirt bottle of bleach or ammonia will do just as well, as will hairspray (and a lighter!). Have thought of a replica handgun but can see the obvious disadvantages. We recall in Spain having an attempted break-in at the cottage while we were in bed. The police were there in five minutes and later gave us our GPS co-ordinates and what to say on the phone if we were bothered again. Our neighbours with all sincerity asked if we had shot the criminals? Alas, the would-be thieves had jammed the front door with their crowbar. Spain is a far simpler country where a man's home remains his castle.

13. Have adequate insurance cover!

I'm sure there are other points, but that's it for now.

Best Wishes,

Bob & Sandra