Car theft
How to minimize the possibility of losing your car and everything in it

In collaboration with Pavel Prasivka: www.ppfoto.cz/blog/

New Zealand is undoubtedly wonderful, the people are helpful and friendly. However, even here all is not exactly ideal. Very often you meet with arguments that people don´t lock their houses, leave the car unlocked in parking lots and never got anything stolen. That may be true, but statistics are pretty clear. Every year is in New Zealand stolen and robbed more than 50,000 cars, and it is only reported cases. The sad fact is that (un) willingness of local police to solve the robbed backpackers´ cars contributed to the fact that many people do not report robbed cars any more.

If we were constantly engaged in what may or may not happen, we were lying around at home under the duvet and praying that the house isn´t hit by falling plane. But we are all brave and just a threat does not scare us, so let's at least give a few tips on how to minimize the risk of losing everything.

How to minimise the risk

  1. Don´t buy a campervan
    This may sound as silly advice as we all want to live in a car. But the truth is that campervans are really good target for thieves as there is always high chance to find some valuable stuffs inside
  2. Lock your car even if you are inside
    Never leave your car unlock if you are not close to it. And lock yourself in during nights.
  3. Always park you car overnight with the possibility of free departure
    This is connected with previous point. Some thieves don´t care that you are in your car. Always park your car in the way they can´t block your way out and you can escape. Such cases are really rare but it happens, I personally know 2 people who experienced such a situation.
  4. Stay overnight in legal places
    There will be more cars staying overnight and the possibility of being robbed is always higher if you are alone.
  5. Parking places by famous tracks
    Those places are famous for stealing cars and from cars. For example the beginning of the Tongariro crossing is really dangerous. How to protect yourself? Don´t be afraid to spend couple dollars for save parking and use the bus to get on start. Don´t leave anything valuable in the car. If possible, park the car in town or find somebody to park in his garden and get a lift.
  6. Check the parking first
    If you see broken glass on the ground it´s pretty clear.
  7. Check Wikicamps reviews
    Some attractions´ reviews give you a valuable warning. It mostly happens in places where you have to park and then walk for a while to reach the attraction.
  8. In general, North island is more dangerous than South island
    It doesn´t mean your car won´t be stolen in Sout island, just be more careful in North. 
  9. Always keep your documents on you
  10. Build a secret storage in your car
    This is only emergency solution if you really have to keep some valuable stuff in your car. The thieves will probably have enough time to give your car a "proper check" so they will find absolutely everything.
  11. Avoid dangerous areas
    This seems to be pretty simple advice, but how to find out which area is safe? In general people very often say that most thefts are caused by Maori people so you should avoid areas with strong Maori population. But what we know from talking to locals it is not really only Maori people stealing here. So read reviews and try to find out as much information as you can before visiting any area.

How to minimize the consequences of theft from cars

  1. You can buy anything but photos!
    Back up, back up, back up! There is almost nothing worse than loosing all your pictures and videos. It doesn´t have to be theft, your card or HDD can fail, you can lose your GoPro or whatever. To keep all your pictures on at least 2 independent storages and upload online as often as you can.
  2. Hold another 2 passports
    If it is legal in your country (usually you can hold more than 1 passport, as a reason you can use "incompatible visa"). Keep one on you, 2nd in your car and 3rd back home so somebody can send it to you if needed.
  3. Always have your notebook on you, even if it´s heavy
    Beside professional camera computer is usually the most expensive item you´ve got.
  4. Keep all important document online
    Make PDFs of all your important documents and keep them online on Google Disc or email. 

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