Focus on campsite security

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Security for grey nomads
Many nomads leave valuables unattended at campsites

Although we travel in a rela­tively safe country, the occasional spate of thefts from our caravan parks and camping grounds should remind all grey nomads of the need for ongoing vigilance.

Not so long ago, a 19-year-old man was convicted of stealing crabs, wine and beer from campers at Inskip Point in Queensland.  It was typical of the sort of thing that can happen when we hit ‘holiday mode’ and drop our guard. The teenager, who was apparently so drunk he didn’t remember committing the offences, was fined $1,000.

While ‘opportunistic’ campsite crimes such as these are com­mon, there are also ‘profession­al criminals’ around who prey on what are seen as soft targets.

A report prepared for the West Australian Office of Crime Prevention several years ago concluded that caravan parks were vulnerable to determined criminals.

“Motivated offenders had detailed knowledge of vari­ous makes of caravans, were aware that locks on vans and canvas annexes are easily ac­cessible and knew how to enter a van where people are asleep without making the van rock,” it said.

The report, which carried out case studies of 36 caravan parks, also concluded that van parks appeared to be safer than roadside stops and bush camps, while parks in busy holiday coastal regions were more vulnerable to crime than those in small rural towns.

The types of items commonly stolen included clothing from clotheslines or washing ma­chines, alcohol and food from eskies, bicycles, surfboards, wetsuits, fishing rods, mobile phones, laptops, wallets, hand­bags, generators, tools, barbe­cues and gas bottles.

The fact remains that, by inter­national standards, Australia is wonderfully safe.

Nonetheless, police regularly warn grey nomads to keep loose items, such as fishing rods, locked up, and also to mark items to make them easily identifiable if they are located after being stolen. While camp­ers taking sensible precautions can help reduce campsite crime, so too can boom gates and increased security meas­ures. In South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, campsite crime has decreased significantly this season due to increased police patrols targeting opportunistic offenders.

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