Before deciding on the best security measures for your vehicle, it is worth considering this report on vehicle theft. It was produced by Aviva Insurance for the period Apr 2019 to Mar 2020. Here is a summary of the main statistics:
- 80% of vehicle related thefts happened during the hours of darkness.
- 80% of thefts from and of vehicles occurred while the vehicle was parked at home.
- In 47% of cases, the thieves accessed the vehicle through an unlocked door.
- In 36% of cases involving the theft of a vehicle, the thieves used a key or electric fob.
- 25% of stolen vehicles were returned to their owner.
Vehicle security is a complicated and divisive subject. There are a wide range of opinions on the best methods. There is a lot of advice given online by vehicle security companies. Be aware that their primary aim is normally to sell a service or product. This post will aim to offer an unbiased view on the best and most cost effective way of securing your Ford Transit Custom Campervan (FTCCV).
What is the Standard Level of Security Offered?
The FTCCV comes as standard with the Ford Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS). It is an insurance approved category 2 immobiliser which utilises a transponder fitted inside the key. The operation is simple. If the engine attempts to start without the correctly coded key present the engine will not start. This is because certain essential components such as the fuel pump and starter remain disabled.
What Additional Security Options are Offered by Ford?
The first option for a fitted alarm from the dealer is very basic. It is known as the perimeter alarm system and only operates if someone opens a door or the bonnet by force. This means that if a thief smashes a window and gains access to the inside of the van the alarm will not sound. There is a Thatcham Category 1 alarm available from Ford. However, it requires the bulkhead to be in place so it is not suitable for use on campervan conversions.
Is a Thatcham Alarm Upgrade Worth it?
Due to the ease at which a potential thief could gain access to the van by smashing a window it is highly recommended to install an upgraded alarm system. By achieving Thatcham Category 2/1 you may lower your insurance premium. In some cases, you could recoup your money in a few years. The most basic Thatcham approved aftermarket alarms can be installed from about £200. With this level of protection fitted your vehicle will be able to detect an intruder within the van and also vehicle movements such as tilting.
Is a Tracker Necessary?
A Thatcham approved tracker is not only a great deterrent to a potential thief. It also offers the best chance of getting your vehicle back in case it is stolen. Clearly, the desirability and value of the vehicle have a part to play. If you are leaving a brand new £50,000+ FTCCV on a public driveway or parked in the street on a regular basis then a tracker is probably a wise investment.
This level of protection does not come cheap however. Apart from the initial installation costs which are generally around £50-£150, you will have to buy a yearly subscription. Costs vary a lot and there are deals available if you pay for a lifetime subscription. Before considering this however, you need to be sure of owning the campervan for a few years for it to pay off. Insurance companies will offer large discounts for vehicles fitted with trackers. This is proof in itself that tracker systems are probably one of the most effective security measures you can install on your campervan.
What is a Ghost Immobiliser?
The Ghost Immobiliser system is produced by Autowatch Ltd. It is a highly regarded security system and is approved by TASSA. Some insurance companies will offer a discount if you have the system fitted. The system is completely invisible to the naked eye. It works by first programming a disarm sequence of button presses using existing dashboard and steering wheel functions. The system automatically arms when the vehicle is switched off. You can then only start the engine after inputting the disarm sequence.
There are mobile apps that can be linked to the system. This means that simply by having your smart phone located near the vehicle means that you do not have to enter the disarm code. While this could save time and energy it is also a potential way for a thief to overcome the system. If they can steal your phone and car keys then you have a real problem.
Other Security Options
There are a multitude of other security accessories which are worth considering. We believe, however, that they are not as important as the previously mentioned options. Wheel-clamps, steering-locks, security film on windows and upgraded locks are all available at a reasonably low cost. There is always a balance however, and the best security options are probably the ones that take the least effort to activate. People can be lazy and thieves like to take advantage of this. On returning to the statistics at the top of this page, the best advice might simply be to ensure the doors are locked when you take that “quick” wander to the beach.
What do you consider to be the essential security options? All comments are welcome.