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Leaving at the end of the year for my TransAfrica attempt and want to make the vehicle as secure as possible....
So I've got new doors fitted, had all of the locks renewed, fitted window guards to the rear door and the side window (only one as I have a roller shutter fitted to the other side) and have an immobiliser installed, but I need to make it even MORE secure - from talking to other more experienced travellers!
Does anyone have experience of what to do to make the doors less likely to be broken into eg van-vault style locks, I want to fit something to all 5 doors and need some guidance on systems that are avaliable for a Landrover Defender 110, or ones that can be made to fit.
Another area is the windows, the weakest most obvious point of entry. Apart from fitting window guards to all of the remaining doors and front windscreen - do methods such as security film really work? They don't offer much visual deterant more a means of slowing a would be thief down. Again all views welcomed.
If you have any tricks or cunning security ideas let me, and the forum, know.
Dont take a nice looking jeep make it look like an old peice of crud and noone will want to steal it. Remember this rule of thumb, theives know that the more locks that you have the more precious the kit your carrying.
I don't wash my bike unless I'm doing my weekly checks and then I only clean where I need to look like just the heads of the screws.
The only things that are kept 100% clean all the time are the lights, and the reflective stickers, and the brakes everything else is as dirty as I can get it, It makes the bike alot less visable to theives when parked up for the night.
The crappier your vehicle is the better - in your case too late judging by your website ;-) The more sponsors stickers you have the richer you look - though that applies more to attempting bribes perhaps.
Anyway, strong bolted on padlock harsps are the way to go - the standard landy door locks provide no obstacle - you just stick a screw driver between the handle and the body work, little bit of elbow grease and you can open the door.
Mine are by a company called Corbin, a Black and Decker company - Footloose and others sell them. (about £12.50 each I think - might have a pic ) Then just get padlocks with all the same key and your away. Sleeping in the rooftent without decent locks will mean you will get broken into - has happened to quite a few people.
Worth getting a Full Metal Jacket or similiar as well. Locks up your driving pedals (see The Expedition Specialists or google - take extra keys) and provides some piece of mind.
Also worth putting in some switches - such as your fuel pump wire - and you should have an easy to reach battery cut off switch as well.
So thats 3 things to overcome before they drive away. Also, park in gear with the hand brake on - harder to tow it away then.
You can get the stick on window protection - works well but bloody expensive.
Everything on the outside has to be bolted down and padlocked.
Oh, and never leave the vehicle unattended unless 100% certain. If you must, plonk a street kid on the bonnet with a lollipop and promise them more if all is well when you get back (girls are best, or brothers and sisters)
Never leave anything in sight such as your gps - have a piece of black cloth to cover your stereo - prevents dust as well.
I don't think foreign car theft is such an issue in Africa, where there are so many police and military check points. Foreign car (with a roof tent) will be immediately noticed (even if they are bribed somebody will still notice).
My thinking goes that don't make you car to look like a prison cell. Just keep your valuables (actually all stuff) away from view and have some locked compartments inside. Alarm also helps, at least so I think. If they open a door/window then alarm will sound and they have no time to open your locked compartments to take stuff.
Car theft in East Africa IS big business! Loads of armed car jackings but if you drive a LandRover you're pretty safe. In East and South Africa Landrovers are not particularly targeted by criminals. Toyota bakkies, cruisers, hiluxs and combis are more sort after. But if they do want to pinch your car, punching the lock out with a screwdriver is an old faithfull so:
1. replace normal door locks with the Solex type.
2. Fit a Mul-T-lok gear lock.
More likely is smash and grab - so don't leave valuables such as GPS's, cell phones etc in view. I actually cut a hole in the load bed above the spare wheel mount and welded in a safe - only to be accessed in secure areas = in which we kept forex and passports.
Sand ladders were mounted and secured over the rear side windows and I fabricated a grill to go over the rear window. EVERYTHING externally mounted was chained and padlocked inc. the poo spade!
PS: Ditch the after market immobiliser and alarm...wear, tear and dust get in and "immobilise" them, either that or they'll malfunction at the worst possible moment. Happened to me in Nairobi and luckily not on safari - visible/physical protection is much better than electrikery that can, and usually will, go wrong.
If you do fit an alarm etc, learn how to "circumvent" it.
Very worthwhile and valid points all of them so taken on board!
The vehicle has been plastered with logos and sponsors in the run-up to our departure but these will be cleaned off for the journey - most are on there to satisfy the PR side of the project and once we've had the press launch can be scrapped.
We'll allow the to get as filthy as possible on the drive down through Europe to make it as undesirable as we can...difficult when the new doors have just been resprayed!
The hasp and locks are definatly the way forward for protecting the rear passenger doors and back door but the lack of bodywork to attach them to at the front leaves me looking for another way of securing them? Any links or ideas on these?
I've put a kill switch in to isolate all electrics and will think about the best way to isolate the fuel pump as its another way of stopping 'potentials' in their tracks should they get in.
I've been trying to find a company in the UK who supply gearlocks similar to the ones I've used in South Africa but am coming up with nothing, again any ideas?
I have Dead locks fitted to my two front doors (slightly sheepishly admitting to being a security paranoid - too many years in IT security). Way back when there was a thread about this - some company in Liverpool sold ones that work well on the front doors. i will try to take some pictures.
I never use them as I feel the padlocks and normal door locks are enough.
Re: hasps - take a tip from the overland truck companies (who know about these things) and make them out of alu tread plate. That way when someone tries to jimmy them they will bend rather than just pop out of the bodywork.
Better and better security fittings, but..............
Originally Posted by Bundubasher
Car theft in East Africa IS big business! Loads of armed car jackings
........how are you going to deal with this one? Everyone on this thread is from the UK, so far anyway, and we all know what happens in the UK when a car is hijacked and the owner resists such an event.
Life is cheap, and nowhere more so than in Africa when vehicles and theft are concerned.
I lived in South Africa for 3 years and luckily my path was never crossed by any form of crime - bar a camera being stolen from my bag on the beach, my own fault for leaving it there.
Everywhere you go in the world there is the potential for someone to finish you off just for the phone you're carrying/car you're driving etc etc its just reducing that risk as you go that can lengthen your own life!
Not at all sure until (and I hope it never happens) the situation arises how I'd deal with it, but as Alan Wicker once said when asked about Africa and carrying a weapon "no-one will shoot you when you've got a smile on your face".
It may sound naive to believe it but its a great way to think about it....
All of my security is with the UK in mind more than anything - didn't 70 odd Defenders get nicked in Yorkshire in a short period a while ago?
I got acosted by the military in Guinea when it all kicked off a few months ago. Luckily most of them were cooking food 100 metrest away and the guy who wanted my landy had overdone it with whatever he was using for dutch courage so when getting out of the car I as able to discuss the situation with him in a slightly pyhsical way.
With a bruised rib, a black eye and his gun I was able to speed off. Took a week to stop shaking. Nothing much will help when your in the wrong place at the wrong time...
I still feel safer bush camping in Africa than walking around the boozing areas of a UK city at 11:30pm on a Friday night. Or going to watch some blokes kick a ball about ;-)
Ask local advice seems sensible, but mostly they tell you it is very dangerous you so kinda have to ignore it ;-)
In towns such as jo'burg and Nairobi fast expensive cars are the pick of the day and recently the new Prado's - they can be easily moved across borders and resold.
Nothern Kenya the borders are non existent - vehicles, people and even UN aid parcels, are constantly moving backwards and forwards. Double cabs, pick ups, working cruisers are all much sort after by shifta. However I;ve heard of loads of locals geting jacked (even know one doctor who was car-jacked twice) but never any muzungu's - well not since those tourists in north africa anyway.
The shifta know a decent vehicle when they see one and so you'll be safe in a LandRover!
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