We’ve all considered our motorhomes security. Campervans and motorhomes are expensive bits of kit and protecting them against theft is paramount but what about your own security whilst you’re staying in your campervan?
You’ve probably heard tales of suspected motorhome gas attacks. There’s debate if gas is used at all. What can’t be questioned is the fact these motorhomes were broken in to whilst the occupants slept a few feet away.
I’ve never had any concerns about our security whilst staying in the van but recently I’ve read several accounts of people waking up to find they’ve been robbed.
These attacks are most commonly reported whilst night stopping at French and Spanish service stations. Some believe this type of robbery is aided by a gas being pumped in to the van to keep the occupants sleeping. A terrifying scenario!
Truth is, there’s no evidence to suggest any type of gas has been used. Forensic scientists are baffled to what readily available chemical could be so effective with no obvious after effects. Security experts expect these break-ins are more likely carried out by brazen thieves whilst the occupants sleep deeply.
In most cases the motorhome has been entered via a lapse in security. An open window or unlocked door. There has also been instances where a motorhomes locking system has been breached electronically.
I was in the middle of improving the general security of my campervan when Facebook brought news of a yet another motorhome break in whilst the owners slept. This made me think how I could improve our personal security whilst in the van.
Our side windows only have two small top sliding sections both with inbuilt locks. The other windows are fixed panes of glass. I’d like to think braking glass would wake one of us, so my priority was to secure the doors.
Internal locks for motorhomes
There are lots of additional locks for motorhomes on the market but most of them are fitted externally. I’m not keen on drilling holes in the external bodywork if I can avoid it. Also, many of these motorhome specific locks aren’t able to be locked from the inside. The external locks that can be operated internally are quite expensive, involved to fit and require holes to be drilled through the external and internal skins of the vans bodywork.
I was looking for a simple to operate fitting that would slow down a thief without delaying a hurried exit from the van if we needed to.
I ended up straying away from motorhome specific security and found a simple patio door lock that looked ideal. The cab doors, side sliding door and rear barn doors needed securing. I found a lock that comes with two types of plate which serves both side and rear door fitments. I was able to purchase two locks that operate on the same key.
The flat plate is easily fitted to the van floor and the angled bracket is perfect for the rear barn doors. Each lock and plate requires only four holes drilled.
The side door lock relies on being secured to a floor fitting plate. I positioned my lock so that: 1. It was as far out of reach as possible from the top sliding window. And, 2. It’s position allows for the locking pin to pass through the lock plate and also sit behind the door track for additional strength.
I fitted the rear door lock below the windows but relatively high on the door. This is so the bolt can be operated when the rock and roll bed is in either position.
Cab Door Security
With the rear and side doors secure the only remaining weak point of entry is the cab doors. As with the other doors we want a lock that can be quickly disarmed in case we need to the exit the van in a hurry. Milenco make some good quality locks for this purpose that are key operated but I opted for the Fiamma Duo-Safe Pro.
This is a telescopic bar that tucks down the window rubber of each cab door. When not in use, the bar closes to 119cm and tucks out of the way on our bulkhead. Should we need to exit in a hurry the bar is pulled up and out of the window seals. Should anyone try breaking in they would need to smash the glass and climb through the window to remove the bar.
Securing Your Motorhome Whilst You’re Out
Although these security measures are to improve our personal security they also provide additional security when away from the van. By adding a single external lock to our sliding door we can lock the internal rear door lock, set the cab door security bar and exit the side door locking it externally as we leave. This provides an additional lock to all doors on the van. The ‘Safe-Door’ lock by Fiamma requires drilling holes only in the door frame and not on the external bodywork.
We also use a ‘Disklok’ steering wheel lock and have added small security stickers to all doors as a visual deterrent. Hopefully this will put a thief off from even trying!