Feel­ing a bit pinched...

NZ4WD - - WEEKEND DRIVE -

Well, it fi­nally hap­pened. Thirty years liv­ing in one house. Ar­rived home to find it bur­gled. Never had any­thing nicked be­fore, even from rag­top Landies or a ‘Cruiser with a tin trunk on its flat-deck. Lucky, I s’pose. Pretty se­cu­rity con­scious but not OTT about it. Never had an alarm, just an old siren box out front, I guess it worked for a while!

So I’m more SC (se­cu­rity con­scious? Ed) now. Is it a sign of the times? Is it worse? I don’t know. Seems to be. Or is it more re­ported these days? Lots of news of ve­hi­cles bro­ken into at trail heads, car parks, on the street, up drives even. Many of them 4WDs, es­pe­cially those with bling, like winches.

Richer pick­ings

They are more likely to have stuff in them than a car. 4WDers are of­ten hunters, tram­pers, climbers, fish­ers or your or­di­nary pic­nic fam­ily. Catch 22 – do you leave an empty ve­hi­cle and carry ev­ery­thing – or leave some sur­vival gear and ra­tions in case you are late back?

Bought a car with an alarm at one stage. It worked but was dif­fi­cult to get the sen­si­tiv­ity right. Too light it would sound at pass­ing traf­fic, other way and it never went off. But it was old and not an ex­pen­sive model. Car was never nicked though! I’m sure cur­rent alarms have much bet­ter sen­sors and modes.

It does seem that mod­ern OEM alarms give bother some­times and the so-im­por­tant keys are eas­ily damaged and ex­pen­sive to re­place and pro­gramme. Lose the key when parked in the wilder­ness and you’re there for a while.

No blood. Bug­ger!

My ‘burg’ – en­try was by punch­ing a pane out of a lead­light and squeez­ing a small hand through to re­lease the catch on the in­side. Jagged glass but no blood, dammit! The Po­lice that at­tended next day were as dis­ap­pointed as I over that. My tightly squeezed fist just fit through the hole.

Part of my dis­gruntle­ment was that on mov­ing to this house I iden­ti­fied that lead­light as a se­cu­rity is­sue and screwed a sheet of clear Poly­car­bon­ate on the in­side of the door. Years later my spouse wanted to strip the door of var­nish so I re­moved the panel. It got put be­hind some­thing, lost from sight and for­got­ten. Its re­placed!

Ve­hi­cle-wise, se­cu­rity is some­thing we should al­ways be aware of whether city or ur­ban. If there’s an alarm use it. If there isn’t con­sider fit­ting one. Some of our older trucks like Cruis­ers and Pa­trols are be­com­ing rare and in de­mand. They are cov­eted by the cur­rent go-hard bri­gade so usu­ally have all the fruit, tyres, winches, jacks, lifts, racks, ropes, GPSs, ra­dios, etc. Just the thing for get­ting se­ri­ous but also just the goods for tend­ing the crop or strip­ping out for re­sale. Must be a lively black mar­ket out there.

Old-tech

They are rel­a­tively old-tech so easy to bur­gle. Lock-pick­ing and car-break­ing tools are easier to source than one may think.

You can buy ‘learner’ pad­locks – with clear sides and a set of tools so you can prac­tise pick­ing them! A back­ward move I reckon, shouldn’t be al­lowed. I bet the lock shops hate it.

Rowan Atkin­son had the berries with the bolt and sta­ple on his Mini door! Makes a lot of sense. Unalarmed ve­hi­cles only need a win­dow bro­ken to al­low full ac­cess. Doesn’t take long to bust a win­dow! Bang, its gone. Speed is of the essence for bur­glars. Bang, click, grab, gone!

Se­cu­rity has three main rules: Stop them get­ting in, make a lot of noise if they do, and make it dif­fi­cult to get any­thing out.

Be aware, don’t park in dark spots, hide ev­ery­thing. Make it look as if it's empty. Be sure it’s locked, win­dows up. Avoid ar­eas with easy es­cape routes like dark al­ley­ways to other streets. Se­cure re­mov­able items like fridges or winches. Pad­lock the fridge in place. If a winch is bolted in place it can be un­bolted – a min­i­mal splash of weld on a nut will slow them down! Same for spot­ties. Wires can be eas­ily cut. Don’t leave a GPS or other good­ies in sight. Ropes or straps looped over a high lift on the spare wheel or bush bar are easy tar­gets.

Num­bers game

It’s wise to be in­sured but, believe me, in­sur­ers don’t like to pay out and there’s al­ways an ex­cess to take off. You need to sup­ply a record of the price, pur­chase date and supplier and all model and se­rial num­bers for each item. Oth­er­wise it won’t be cov­ered.

Pho­to­graphs may help so get out there to­mor­row and take lots of pix of the items as well as their name plates. Keep re­ceipts!

It’s taken a full cou­ple of weeks to get all my num­bers to­gether. Most I had to hand but a cou­ple were dif­fi­cult. One item was a re­cent gift and I hadn’t col­lected its de­tails. You must log a Po­lice re­port and pass its number on to the in­sur­ance co. Cops will ar­rive for a thor­ough look round so try to avoid splash­ing your fin­ger­prints over ev­ery­thing.

It’s wise to also log onto Trade Me, Cash Con­vert­ers and pawn­shop web­sites to file ‘stolen item’ re­ports there. They are obliged to hold items for only two weeks be­fore they can go on sale. I thought the hold pe­riod was three months and was a day late fil­ing mine. But so far there’s been no re­sponse from that an­gle.

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