As the camper from the neighboring campsite approached, his facial expression revealed obvious concern. He introduced himself and we shook hands. Before I finished informing him of my name, he asked if I had seen anybody else but him at his campsite this morning. I had not, but then I don't make it a practice to be eyeballing others' campsites. Turns out, he was the victim of a campsite theft. He went for a hike early that morning and upon return, his high performance, and expensive ice cooler was gone. The two men, who occupied the campsite on the other side of his site, were also gone when he returned from his early morning hike.
Campsite thefts and other security issues are not common problems at campgrounds today, but criminals do perform their bad deeds at camps occasionally. Campground security strengths vary from campground to campground, depending on the campground manager's budget. So, as is the case at home, each person has to do what they can to deter a criminal visit. Successful campsite security is gained from a dose of common sense and a review of the campsite before leaving the site or hitting the sleeping bag to sleep.
What You Can Do
Here are some tips to help cut down concern of theft at your campsite:
- Keep all personable valuables on you or locked in your vehicle;
- When visiting the shower, keep valuables where you can see them, not lying on a bench where other bathers may pass by;
- Place larger items you can't put in your vehicle out of plain view from the road, if possible;
- If campsites are close to one another, ask your campsite neighbor if they would be so kind to be on notice of any person nosing around your campsite while away and you do the same for them; and
- Select campsites away from busy pathways to reduce passerby's reviews of your camp gear.
The camper with the missing cooler admitted he shouldn't have left the cooler sitting on top of the picnic table. But instead should have slid it under the table or placed it out of sight in his tent, or better yet, lock it in his vehicle. Not having any evidence that the two guys camping next to him could be suspects, he simply reported the incident to the camp office. He also mentioned his next cooler would be locked in his vehicle when he was away from the campsite — lesson learned. Camping is about getting away from the daily rat race, but a camper must remain on alert because thieving rats are everywhere.