Keeping crime away from campsites
10 June 2019

Keeping crime away from campsites

Camping is one of the highlights of Scouting, and a great opportunity to get back to basics. Sadly, it can also be an opportunity for thieves to take advantage of the open, trusting nature of the Scouting community, and valuable items occasionally go missing from the site. This can be both upsetting and costly if personal items or specialist equipment are stolen. There are various precautions you and your group can take to reduce the risk of such opportunistic theft.

Prudent packing

Before you load up your backpack, think about what you really need to take with you. Are those expensive electronics essential, or can you survive a few days to keep them safe at home? Ideally you will have a basic kit list that you can issue among the Scouts, reminding them to pack waterproofs and boots, but also suggesting they leave valuables such as phones and iPads behind.

Recognise the risks

When you arrive at the campsite, take a moment to identify the high value items that could tempt a wandering eye, and under what circumstances they might be stolen. For example, if you will be away all day, or out at a campfire in the evening. Check for security weak spots at your site, such as broken fences, public footpaths, dark corners or areas beyond the reach of CCTV. 

Secured on site

As there is unlikely to be video surveillance in place, you need to secure your valuables or lock them away. Large items of equipment such as generators or bicycles can be locked to lampposts, signposts or even a car tow bar. Smaller, loose items and cash can be locked in the campsite safe or in a car when not in use. It may sound obvious, but be sure to keep valuables out of sight, rather than floating around in the porch of the tent.  

Everyone is responsible for keeping an eye on things, but it could be worth assigning one or two people to safeguard specific items. They’ll be responsible for locking or hiding them away when not in use. Regularly checking the site, or leaving someone to watch over it at random, should also help keep thieves at bay.

Tag and trace

The unfortunate event of a theft is not necessarily the final straw, as it may be possible to recover the stolen goods. To help the police identify your property, you can mark high-value, high-risk items with DNA water or identity plates, which only show up under special light. If the products have serial numbers, keep track of these in your group's inventory.

Cover up with the right insurance cover

Because camping is an open air, social affair, the options for protecting your property are slightly different. Many insurers will not cover items stolen from outside or in a tent. Check your personal home insurance policy as well as the Scout group policy to find out what is covered. 

Our account handlers can answer any further questions and help you pitch together an appropriate policy.