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Old 03-04-2013, 07:23 AM   #15
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Thumbs up One of the frequent.....

......questions I get, "what kind of hitch is that?"

The Hensley bewilders most folks, along with a cable wheel lock we feel pretty secure.

Bob
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:38 AM   #16
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I understand that there have been trailers stolen while in storage but has anyone ever had a trailer stolen while using it?
Maybe I just have a case of "Pollyanna" like innocence but I can't imagine someone stealing an actively used trailer. Am I missing something?
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I'll admit I've never heard of a trailer being stolen while in use. But they certainly get a lot of attention in the campgrounds!

It all depends on how much you are willing to lose. Our trailer is vintage, and it's really one of a kind at this point. If something happened to it, we could get another Caravel (with a LOT of searching), but we could never replace it. I don't trust the insurance to actually pay out enough to really replace it with one in the same condition. It's the most valuable thing I own! Sometimes we like to leave the dogs in the trailer while we head into town for a quick dinner, and of course their security is the most important. So those factors contribute to make me a little paranoid about it.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:50 AM   #17
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As I'm relatively new to Airstreaming, I asked one of the sales people at my local dealer about theft. Coming from the UK where anything with wheels is considered thievable, I was concerned; there, people use the full blown Denver Boot with their trailers because they are especially attractive to, er, a certain section of the community. My friendly sales guy said that he'd only heard of peripheral equipment going missing but not whole trailers. I do take some precautions when I leave the Airstream but I'm thinking I might just add a good quality motorcycle security chain to my inventory this year. I don't think I'm paranoid but a couple of hundred dollars is small change when you consider the cost of the Airstream.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:20 AM   #18
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A coupler lock or Hensley hitch can be ignored if the safety chains are available for hookup by the crook. A wheel lock on one wheel of a tandem axle trailer is silly if the wheel can be dropped off.

We have to understand the people who market this stuff are there to make money, not necessarily to protect your trailer. Perhaps thoughtful multiple locking systems are our best bet for security, enough to keep them busy and make enough noise that their risk factor of getting caught in the act is high.

Time, noise and light are their enemy (except in remote locations) and our friend. Increase all of them.

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Old 03-04-2013, 12:22 PM   #19
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So, if you boot your trailer or otherwise lock one or more wheels, do you boot street side or curb side? Street side would be nice and discrete while camping, only noticeable when someone goes to unplug the umbilicals.

For my Interstate motorhome, the choice of wheel to lock would be obvious; driver's side front. Just not sure what's best on a trailer.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:15 PM   #20
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What is the lock like on it? I always figure that's the weakest point. I worry about our little trailer when we leave it unattended too - it's so little just about anything with a ball could haul it away!
The weakest point is that they are usually quite easy to remove if the tire is partially deflated.

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Does anyone use a good quality motor-cycle security lock and chain on their tandem wheels? Tying up two wheels sounds reasonably secure...
I've attached a photo. I use a hardened security chain and a large, high-quality padlock.

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I understand that there have been trailers stolen while in storage but has anyone ever had a trailer stolen while using it?
It's vanishingly rare. All the people showing up here and posting about their stolen trailer in the vain hope that doing so will lead to its return fit a different pattern. The trailers are stolen at night from industrial/commercial areas, often from a gated yard at a small business. Rarely, one is stolen while left unused at a remote location. They don't get stolen from campgrounds or residential areas.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:21 PM   #21
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A coupler lock or Hensley hitch can be ignored if the safety chains are available for hookup by the crook. A wheel lock on one wheel of a tandem axle trailer is silly if the wheel can be dropped off.
Almost all of the thefts reported here have pretty clearly involved advance planning and rapid initial removal to a nearby location where locks can be cut off, identification obscured, and more permanent hitching, lighting, and towing arrangements can be made. Theft of an Airstream is not a crime of opportunity.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:33 PM   #22
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If you really want security -- I would buy one of the Kryptonite RealTime GPS. You install this device in your trailer, and it notifies you (to your smartphone) if your vehicle is being moved, and provides location tracking.

The cost is around $400 (I found it online for $389) and comes with a one year monitoring contract. The contract is $39 / year thereafter. Installation looks pretty simple, and it is wired to 12v. The amp draw is very low. The only thing I am not sure if is the ability of the GPS to send a signal through the shell of the trailer. Another mounting option would be in the Propane tank enclosure.
Based on reports here and elsewhere I believe that nearly all stolen RVs are moved to indoor secure areas immediately after being stolen where they are prepared for resale or movement across the border. Most thefts occur in the wee hours of the morning on weeknights. The practical and legal barriers to recovery in these circumstances are considerable even with GPS tracking data. You would have to involve law enforcement, gain their cooperation, and have them get a warrant. It's not like you're going to storm Ninefinger Louie's Discount Truck Wash with your own personal S.W.A.T. team because the last tracking blip was 500 yards up the road.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:39 PM   #23
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I've attached a photo. I use a hardened security chain and a large, high-quality padlock.


.
Thanks, that's just what I had in mind. I appreciate that nothing is absolutely secure but something like that may deter a potential thief.
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:05 AM   #24
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It's not like you're going to storm Ninefinger Louie's Discount Truck Wash with your own personal S.W.A.T. team because the last tracking blip was 500 yards up the road.
But when my mini-van was stolen back in the mid-80's, and New Olreans Police Department told me they don't even bother to look for stolen vehicles because they don't have the manpower to investigate over 300 stolen vehicles per month, I went looking for it myself. Found it sixteen hours after it was stolen, and stole it back at gunpoint. Told the cops I recovered it, to cancel the theft report in case I was stopped while driving it, but didn't tell them how I recovered it!

For the rest of the time I owned that vehicle, I never had a problem ever again, even when the vehicles parked beside it were burglarized. Guess word got around that a crazy person owned it.

For the record, I no longer live in that high-crime neighborhood now that I can afford better, and I'm too aware of my mortality to try such a reckless stunt again.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:12 AM   #25
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But when my mini-van was stolen back in the mid-80's, and New Olreans Police Department told me they don't even bother to look for stolen vehicles because they don't have the manpower to investigate over 300 stolen vehicles per month, I went looking for it myself. Found it sixteen hours after it was stolen, and stole it back at gunpoint. Told the cops I recovered it, to cancel the theft report in case I was stopped while driving it, but didn't tell them how I recovered it!

For the rest of the time I owned that vehicle, I never had a problem ever again, even when the vehicles parked beside it were burglarized. Guess word got around that a crazy person owned it.

For the record, I no longer live in that high-crime neighborhood now that I can afford better, and I'm too aware of my mortality to try such a reckless stunt again.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:46 AM   #26
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Thanks, that's just what I had in mind. I appreciate that nothing is absolutely secure but something like that may deter a potential thief.
I got the chain and sleeve from Tulsa Chain. They have great service and have several types to choose from, and will provide a matching sleeve in either red or black.

I only use it when I have to park overnight someplace unattended, which I do when I have to, realizing that it's a risk. The chain may be enough to deter casual theft, but its main purpose is to produce physical evidence to simplify any insurance claim.

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But when my mini-van was stolen back in the mid-80's, and New Olreans Police Department told me they don't even bother to look for stolen vehicles because they don't have the manpower to investigate over 300 stolen vehicles per month,
This is the typical attitude. Police do not see recovery of stolen property to be part of their mission.

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I went looking for it myself. Found it sixteen hours after it was stolen, and stole it back at gunpoint.
I personally would not start a gunfight over a minivan.

When you own an RV, there's an inherent risk of loss due to theft and vandalism. The easiest way to reduce that risk is to avoid parking in high-risk areas, that is, anywhere there are no people. The financial risk can be mitigated through insurance. Locking devices maybe help a little but not much. Once stolen, trailers are hardly ever recovered, GPS tracker or not. I'm waiting for the success stories to come in and they just don't.

We have these threads on coupler locks and wheel locks, and we have threads where people post about their stolen trailer and want all of us on Airforums to look for it so they can get it back. It's all fantasy on both ends. People who steal Airstreams are not casual thieves. They are people with access to serious towing equipment, metal cutting tools, dollies heavy enough for a highway move of a locked wheel, and access to storage that is out of public view. They are going to laugh at your coupler lock and wheel lock because they are either going to tow with a hoist and dollies or because they are going to cut them off with a grinder or torch.

And once they're at their stepcousin's tire shop, they're going to remove or cover up all the identifying marks, swap the vin tag and license plates, and find your GPS tracker and throw it in the back of some poor pizza delivery guy's beat up Kia and lead you on a merry wild goose chase around town:

GPS & Cell Phone Detector | Detect the Presence of Any Tracking Device

And then they're going to take your trailer across the border or use it for a fancy hunting shack on some private land where no one is ever going to look too closely at the VIN tag. Either way, you'll never see it again.

There are really only two things you can do to prevent this. First, you can get insurance, which isn't going to bring your trailer back or make up for the hours of time spent finding it and customizing it, but at least will cover most of the money. Second, you can park your trailer only where there are people who care who are watching it. Campgrounds, rallies, behind your house, places like that.

Because, see, your garden variety thief who is just trying to support his meth habit with a little smash-and-grab isn't going to steal your trailer. It has a built-in deterrent in that it weighs more than the nickle-ante burglar's car can haul. Trailers are too big to hide and too hard to sell for a casual thief to have any interest. So it's the guys who are serious about crime who are going to come for it and if they have the confidence that they can get 30 minutes alone with your trailer there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop them from hooking it up.
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:08 AM   #27
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I personally would not start a gunfight over a minivan.
These days, neither would I. But back then, it was the only thing of value that I owned, and my attitude was different.
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:14 AM   #28
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I think a visual theft deterrent such as a wheel lock provides a message that you are aware of the possibility, and have taken steps to prevent it. Two visible devices sends two messages, you are more serious about it.

The professional may laugh, but the half-wit may go look for an easier trailer to break into.

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