WORDS Tony Allsop
It is time to remind caravanners about the particular risk of theft in coastal holiday parks.
The things we love most about these parks – the spectacular coastal views and the ability to step straight from a site to sandy beach – automatically makes them a security risk. The risk is highest during school holidays, but continues throughout the year.
Boom gates and night security will not stop the determined thief and access is very easy via the beach. The topography of holiday parks provides wily thieves many places to hide and they will know the layout of the park better than the visitor does given it’s likely they’ve done a reconnaissance run during the day and know which sites to target.
In the last few weeks, we have heard of a number of thefts in coastal NSW parks. Interestingly, it was fishing rods and reels that were most commonly stolen, even when secured in under the van. You would have to wonder about the market for second-hand fishing gear, so maybe the burglars are simply upgrading their own gear.
Portable fridges (and their contents) are another common target, as are barbecues, particularly Baby Q's. It seems a shame to have to chain these down; it certainly doesn't add to the ambience of a dusk barbecue. However, they can disappear without a sound in the wee hours, even though many of us claim to be light sleepers who hear every sound at night!
Being in holiday mode, we tend to become a bit casual about security. It is a bit of a pain having to stow everything at night or chain it down, although we do this routinely if free camping.
Being vigilant and doing a last check around the van before heading inside is the only way to ensure you avoid the inconvenience and cost of losing your gear.