RVs can be vulnerable to theft for numerous reasons. For one thing, thieves know the person is traveling and will be in a new place the next day and may not have the luxury of time to deal with filing a report and police follow ups that go along with the whole process. Also, when parking an RV a lot of big, valuable equipment gets placed outside the RV – generators, BBQs, etc. – and these are huge magnets for thieves. If not traveling, RVs are usually parked in storage lots or other areas where eyes might not always be on them.
Secure Your RV
Take Inventory: The first line of defense is to take inventory of everything in your RV. Know your RV. This will come in handy should the worst case scenario occur, and can be used for insurance purposes and police reports. Take photographs if you can as well. The more detailed this list is the better.
Remove Valuables During Storage: When parking your RV in the off season or between trips, remove the valuable personal items. Those extra items that you may carry while traveling such as generators, expensive grills, camping gear, etc., can be tempting to a thief. Keep them at your house if possible.
Install an Alarm: Perhaps obvious, one method in securing your RV from theft and vandalism is to install an alarm. However, unlike home alarms, alarms that are installed in your RV are not connected to the police or private security service. They are more in line with auto alarms – the loud obnoxious kind. The main drawback to this is that should your alarm go off due to wind, a cat, or the like then that alarm is going to cause problems if you are not around – particularly when your RV is parked in long term storage.
Make Tracking Easy for Police: The next thing you can do is to make your RV stand out. When police are looking for a stolen RV most times all RVs look the same to them.
- Put big identification numbers on the roof – like the first four numbers of the registration. Helicopters can get a bird’s eye view of that quickly.
- Another deterrent against theft is to stick the serial number on the windows of the cabin – some insurance companies require this.
- Have pictures that you can provide to police.
Don’t Make Things Easy: Never leave the key in the engine. This is tempting, especially with an RV – better safe than sorry though. Numerous police reports describe RVs being stolen just this way.
Install Visible Locks: Big, visible, heavy locks can also work as a psychological deterrent. You can also, if you want to get real serious, have a hidden general switch installed that can prevent ignition or stop the flow of fuel. These switches have been proven a great preventive measure for RV theft.
Install a Boot: The boot is something to consider as well, and works in the same way these big visual locks do, but also prevents lugs from being stolen from the wheel.
Hide the Hitch: Another simple trick is to park your RV so the hitch is hard to reach. Many people like to back into a space, or driveway, and while this is easy for you when you go to leave it also makes it easy for thieves to use your hitch to tow it away while you are on a hike. Instead park your camper so the hitch is away from the standard access area. This makes it more time consuming for thieves, and will act as a good yet simple deterrent.
Motion Lights: These lights are great but can be wearisome if there are a lot of critters running around your camp. However, there is no denying that it can get pretty dark out there and a motion light can really help make some campers feel more secure.
Park in a Secure Area:
- If traveling, park around other people if possible (if in a KOA or Campground, etc).
- If parking long term, make sure you park your RV at a SECURE, SAFE storage facility. Ask about security measures. Too often we see expensive RVs parked in nothing more than a vacant lot with a small chain link fence around it.