Tiny House Security Upgrades

Cheap but Effective Security: No Wheels

Cheap Security Upgrade: Remove Wheels

May 25, 2015

Together with some new equipment that I bought over the past few days, we have been able to upgrade our tiny house security. After the attempted theft of our tiny house early last Friday morning, we spent much of the rest of the day researching ways to make our tiny house more secure. This effort was initially disheartening because everything we read said there is no foolproof way to keep a trailer from being stolen. Even the people at Orlandi where we bought our trailer told us that there is no locking device you can buy that a thief can’t defeat. Anything a thief wants to take, they will take. However, we also learned that you can dramatically reduce the risk of theft by taking a layered approach, applying multiple theft deterrent devices that simply make your tiny house or trailer so difficult to steal that it is not worth the effort. This is the route we decided to take. We are now applying four layers of security and I hope to increase that to five.

Here is what we have done:

  1. First, we removed both wheels on one side of the trailer. I loosened the lug nuts, jacked up one side of the trailer using some scissor jacks I purchased a while ago, took the wheels off and then lowered the trailer back onto some three ton jack stands that I purchased at harbor freight for $20.00. I thought it would be difficult to remove the wheels. However, it only took Sheila and I about 30 minutes to do it and I think I could do it even faster with practice, especially now that I have also purchased the correct size socket to take the lug nuts on and off with my electric drill. If somebody still wants to take my trailer, they will have to bring their own wheels and jacks and take the time to put those wheels on.

    Wheels Removed

    Wheels Removed

  2. Second, we purchased and installed a Club 491 Tire Claw lock around one of the wheels on the other side of the trailer. So far, I really like this lock. It was not too expensive and was very easy to install. I’m sure this lock could be broken just like our original hitch lock was. However, it’s one more thing the thieves have to do before they can get away.

    Claw Lock

    Claw Lock

  3. Third, the tiny house is currently in our RV parking lot behind a locked gate that someone would have to break into to get to our trailer.
  4. Fourth, I would like to install a new hitch lock. I recovered the original Trimax UMax100 hitch lock that was cut off the trailer. The only thing broken is the shackle itself which looks like it was cut with bolt cutters (they must have been massive bolt cutters). I’ve written to Trimax, the company who manufactures the lock, to see if they can send me a new shackle. Then I will have a second lock the thieves have to cut.

    Original Trimax Lock (cut with bolt cutters)

    Original Trimax Lock (cut with bolt cutters)

  5. Fifth, I’m planning to install a GPS tracker inside as soon as I rig up some power to keep the GPS tracker charged. The solar panel and batteries I was planning to install on the house anyway should take care of that.
  6. Finally, I have one additional security measure I’m not going to talk about here, just in case any would be thieves are reading this blog entry. Suffice it to say that anybody who attempts to steal my tiny house again will encounter an extra little surprise that I doubt they could anticipate and might even get them caught.

I have to admit that my tiny house does not look nearly as nice with the wheels off. However, I think I can build and paint some kind of plywood cover to go over the axles so the missing wheels are not so noticeable, at least while I am still building. When I get my tiny house finished and parked where it’s going to live, I will probably take all four wheels off and build some kind of fence or skirt all the way around the outside of the trailer frame to make it look more attractive.

If you have other ideas for additional layers of security, please feel free to comment. I think I have probably already done more than I need. If somebody still takes my tiny house after all this effort, they must need it more than me. I just hope they have a good idea for where to hide it because I have no idea where you could store a stolen tiny house without another person or a GPS satellite ever finding it.

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2 Responses to Tiny House Security Upgrades

  1. Gregory says:

    Russ, real bummer about the attempted theft, I’m still in shock and awe at both the attempt and the profound stupidity of the thieves. However, I have a cheap solution (maybe around that would allow you to keep it back in your driveway, wheels and all and alert you (and any other “neighborhood watchers”) to any attempted theft at any time. Cheap in time at least, but it might take us a day to invent it. But I want to build one for myself too so email or call me and we can talk about it. Maybe we can whip it some weeknight. I’ve got all the parts necessary and though your GPS tracker is solution in finding it should it get stolen again, it doesn’t alert you when it has been stolen unless you’ve been actively watching the position.

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