Last Updated on July 7, 2023
In the same way that you try to keep your home and car safe, you want to keep your RV safe too. For those of us who are passionate about our RVs, it is devastating to think that someone could just take all of your hard work away. Your RV, like other big purchases, is an investment, and you want to protect it against theft, both the RV and your belongings inside.
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Why Is RV Theft So Prevalent?
While the risk of theft is always present, it seems like most thefts occur in RV parks and camping spots. This is especially true when you are not there to watch over things; many thieves see that as an invitation for free stuff.
Unfortunately, they also target travel trailers, fifth wheels, and motorhomes because:
- They are expensive, making them worth stealing.
- They are often parked beside the highway while traveling, making them an easy target.
- They are more difficult to find after they have been stolen.
- Most RVs come with appliances, which are expensive and desirable for their quality.
As with any other crime or theft, prevention is your best defense. The more you do to protect yourself, the less likely you are to suffer a loss of property or your RV. Here are some tips for how to prevent RV theft.
Prevent RV Theft
One of the best things you can do is to create physical deterrents. Thieves often go for simple marks, locks, and other giveaways that an RV is occupied. If they see that the owner has taken steps to protect their property, they are more likely to look elsewhere.
Here are some ways to create a physical deterrent:
You can use wheel locks that restrict the wheels from moving, but can easily be unlocked when you are ready to get going. Additional options include hitch locks which are placed on the hitch itself so the RV cannot be hooked to another vehicle and steering wheel locks for motorhomes. There are several different locking devices at varying prices, and cost matters if you want to keep your RV secure. Cheaper locks may be easier to break, so investing in a high-quality lock is the best way to protect your RV.
RV manufacturers have begun installing heavy-duty locks on the door latches of their vehicles. You can also purchase new locks for your own RV or rig, which are much stronger than the standard ones that come with the vehicle. The regular lock found in many RVs is a simple pin and clip, which will pop open with light pressure.
Tire locks are also something you can install fairly easily on your own – and it requires no maintenance at all. There are tires that come with small locking lugs that only require the lock itself to be attached to secure your RV’s tires; typically, thieves will not want
Aside from installing locks, you may also opt for security windows. There are several security window covers on the market that make it impossible for thieves to get in, even if they break through the glass. They also add another layer of protection should someone try to get inside by unlocking a door or window. Security products come in different levels, but you can get one that works for you.
2. Situational Deterrents
If your RV is not used for large portions of the year, where you store it is essential for its safety. If you have the space to store it at home, it needs to be kept behind a locked gate. The area the RV is stored in should also have motion or light sensors, especially if the RV is not stored close to the home.
This way, if a thief tries to break in, they will be detected. It is also important that the RV never be left outside without being locked up and disconnected from all power sources, including battery chargers. When parking at an RV camping site, it should be parked away from dense foliage where someone could hide while trying to get inside of it.
When you have to use a storage lot for your RV, most places already have security built-in, so make sure you check all the features available at a lot before deciding where to store your RV. Do they have a camera system, a guard dog, fencing, and someone on-site at all times? Even if these features are available, you may still want to invest in some locking devices too. It doesn’t hurt to be extra careful.
Situational deterrents encompass ways to make your RV less appealing to a thief. Keeping the RV and all of its contents clean and unmarked is one way, as many thieves will steal RVs that they can easily sell for parts. They want quick cash and if they cannot get that or find that there is nothing worth selling or stealing inside, then the risk becomes too great for them to take.
Do not leave your personal information, such as registration names and addresses, the title inside of the RV when it is not in use. Not only does this give thieves information that they can use to steal your RV, but it also makes it much easier for them to steal personal ID information from inside the vehicle.
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Electronic deterrents are great for protecting your RV when it is on the road. There are several electronic devices that can be used to help protect your RV, including automatic tire locks and trackers.
Automatic tire locks work by locking and unlocking your tire whenever the RV is in motion. Each tire has a small hook that locks and unlocks with electronic commands from the RV itself. They do not pop or go flat, they only lock and unlock at the driver’s command.
Trackers are also helpful because they provide real-time tracking for your vehicle if it does happen to get stolen. There are several types and models of trackers to choose from, so pick one that you feel will work best for your RV and driving habits.
For some RVs, these devices are permanent– they come with the vehicle when you purchase it or are installed at a dealer before leaving it with the customer. For other RVs, they must be purchased and installed separately.
Most electronic protections used on cars work for RVs too. Ideally, it is recommended to invest in GPS systems to deter theft. As mentioned earlier, a simple tracking device like this can be hidden and easily accessed, and controlled from your phone. You will get alerts anytime the RV moves, as well as location details.
These systems are especially useful when the RV is stored a lot away from your home. You can also add security alarms to your RV, which helps deter theft when you are on the road traveling. Most alarms utilize a hidden switch that is not visible from the outside of your RV. You can also choose to add glass break sensors, which will activate the alarm if broken.
If you have a backup camera installed on your RV, it may be best to go with an invisible security system. These cameras are only slightly noticeable and blend in well with the outside of the vehicle. Not only can you get alerts when your RV moves, but it can also record any activity that happens near or around the vehicle.
Some systems start automatically once you park and deactivate when you leave to help keep track of all activity while you are away from your RV. Regardless of what type and model of tracking and alarm system you choose, it is best to invest in battery-operated or solar-powered ones. This way, the devices will remain functional even if your RV is not plugged into an electrical socket.
Have you ever heard the saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? That saying holds true when it comes to protecting your belongings inside the RV.
It is more probable that your stuff will get stolen over the entire RV. If you are staying at a lot or boondocking, these tips can help you keep your things safe and prevent your RV from being damaged during a break-in.
- Always lock the RV – Anytime you are away from the RV, keep it locked. Even if you know your neighbors and those camping around you, be safe and keep the doors and windows locked. Get a new RV lock. It is worth changing the original locks for the outer storage areas on the RV too.
- Hide valuables – if you have valuable items like electronics in the RV, keep them put away and out of sight when you leave. Ideally, you don’t want to have very valuable items with you, but if you do, invest in a safe to keep them locked up. In the RV world, items like the generator and surge protectors are considered valuable, so keep them locked up too.
- Use a door jam – If you can, purchase and use metal wedges so doors cannot be opened all the way. They usually come with the RV when it is purchased, but if not try to find them at your local hardware store or an auto parts dealer. The purpose of those wedges is to jam the doors open just enough so that someone cannot get them open, but you can still use the handle to open them.
- Invest in a fireproof safe – If you have files, important paperwork, and other items that are irreplaceable stored in the RV, make sure they are stored in a fireproof safe. You can double up by putting them in both a small safe and a larger fireproof safe for even more protection.
- Use a Security System – If you can, invest in a security system to protect your RV while it is stationary. There are several types of systems available to choose from and they vary in features and costs. If you have an upgraded electrical system on your RV, you can add solar-powered cameras or invisible alarm systems that will detect motion around the vehicle. Use stickers to show potential thieves that your RV is under surveillance. Even if you don’t use a security system, get some stickers and stick them on your windows.
- Upgraded door lock – Most RVs come with entry door locks, but you might want to upgrade them for better peace of mind. You can choose between a key-lock or combination-lock system that will help protect your motorhome when you are traveling and while you sleep at night.
- Leave the lights on – The more lights you have on in and around the RV, the less likely someone will try and approach it.
- Communication – If you are traveling with friends, let them know when you will be away so they can help keep an eye on the RV. When camping with friends, try and park next to each other so you can keep an eye on what is happening.
- Park in less isolated areas – If possible, look for areas that are well-lit, have security cameras installed, and where you feel safe. If you are in a dodgy area, it is best to park under street lights or somewhere with people around.
With any or all of these tips, you can help prevent the theft of your RV and belongings. No matter where you go, you want peace of mind that your investment is protected, and these deterrents are the best way to help you get that. If you leave your RV for longer periods of time, just make sure the place you leave it has security in place or someone you know will be watching it.
Last update on 2023-12-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API