Caravans are more of an investment now than they have ever been, especially with the growth of the luxury market. As Australians spend more money on them, caravan theft is on the rise.
“With their high value, caravans are prime targets for thieves and it is estimated that around 500 caravans are reported stolen each year in Australia,” according to Brad Hooper, marketing services manager at AL-KO Australia.
Keeping track with GPS technology
The saying goes that thieves are always one step ahead while the rest of us play catch-up, but recent advances in caravan anti-theft devices and GPS technology may just be turning the tables in favour of owners and the law.
Modern GPS trackers use geofencing technology to alert owners to any movement of the tracked possession. A geofence is a virtual ‘fence’ around a given location. When a compatible device leaves or enters the geofenced area, such as your house, a reminder, alert or SMS is triggered from the device. The device will then track the possession’s location, giving you the best chance of retrieving it. This makes them ideal as a caravan anti-theft device, and there are a range of options you can choose from.
GPS + 3G trackers
GPS-enabled trackers use GPS for location tracking and 3G connectivity for reporting. At about the size of a deck of cards, the unit can be hidden easily. On the down side, you’ll need to purchase a prepaid SIM to access the 3G connectivity, so you’ll need to be conscious of possible excess data limits and SMS fees.
GPS + iDevice
You’ve probably heard of iPhone owners tracking down their stolen phones using Apple’s Find My Friends app. An old iPhone or iPad placed in your caravan makes a cheap and easy GPS tracking device when used in conjunction with Apple’s free Find My iPhone app. Using the app, you can track the iPhone down to within metres of its location – that should be enough to find any caravan. Downsides? There’s no geofence feature, so you won’t actually know if your caravan has been stolen. And once the phone’s battery has gone, so has your access to tracking.
GPS + M2M + microdot technology
However, if you’re looking for state-of-the-art technology that tells you when your caravan has been moved, allows you to track the caravan, and then helps you identify yourself as the owner, the Anti-Theft System (ATS) might be the option for you.
The ATS combines the benefits of GPS positioning and geofencing, machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity and microdot technology, making it the most comprehensive way you can protect your investment.
Unlike devices that require a separately supplied SIM card, the ATS uses M2M technology, which connects intelligent sensors to the internet – no SIM card required.
As Hooper explains, “M2M technology is the next generation in global positioning system connectivity.”
The M2M connectivity chip built into the tiny Black Knight transceiver provides instant global connectivity with unlimited data, no roaming charges and no hidden fees. This makes it ideal if you’re worried about unexpected costs, or if you’re looking to take your caravan overseas. What’s more, while the ATS is powered by the Vodafone system, it will use any available network – so, if you’re in remote areas, you can keep tracking the caravan wherever there is coverage.
Battery life isn’t a problem either, as the transceiver is hard-wired to the caravan battery. This means that you can continue tracking your caravan without worrying that the power will run out.
However, there’s an added security feature that is unique to the ATS. You’re afforded further peace of mind with NanoTag microdot technology. Microdots are near invisible metallic flecks each laser-etched multiple times with a unique code. Just a few strokes of the supplied applicator is enough to apply thousands of microdots to your caravan. Upon recovery of your caravan, the microdots will prove that you are the owner.
Whether you opt for a budget GPS tracker, a repurposed smartphone or a more comprehensive solution like the ATS, you can’t put a price on the peace of mind they afford you.
Here’s how to deter thieves from stealing your caravan in the first place.