RV owners dread hearing the glass shatter or pry bar peeling metal when a thief breaks into their cherished home on wheels. Returning to violated personal space and stolen property is any RVer’s nightmare. Unfortunately, RV theft and burglaries are rampant across North America totaling in thousands annually.
But you need not resign yourself to becoming another worrying statistic. Implementing a few smart RV security precautions can deter even seasoned thieves from seeking their next easy score. This article explores physical barriers, visual deterrents, and common-sense strategies you can utilize to protect your precious asset from meeting a screeching, unlawful end. Read on to give your RV the best chance of resting easy where you last parked her!
First, Identify Which Type of RV and Locations are Prone to Break-Ins and Theft
Before you can take steps to protect your RV from theft, it’s important to understand which types of RVs and locations are most at risk. This section will discuss the factors that make certain RVs and locations more vulnerable to theft, so you can make informed decisions about how to best protect your RV.
What Types of RVs Prone to Theft
According to rvtravel research, travel trailers see the maximum cases of RV theft:
- Travel trailers constitute 82% of stolen RVs indicating they are the most vulnerable
- Class C motorhomes represent less than 7% of total RV thefts
Clearly, travel trailers require substantial securing from thieves looking for easy targets.
Locations Where Most RV Thefts Occur
Understanding locations prone to RV break-ins is also important:
- Storage yards see maximum RV thefts at 40.9% as they often lack adequate security
- Nearly 29% of thefts occur at businesses/parking lots when RVs are left unattended
- Private home driveways also see substantial cases at 17.2%
With this data in mind, all RV owners must evaluate their parking spot choices and vulnerability to prevent becoming another theft statistic. Storage facilities in particular need security scrutiny.
So travel trailers are most prone to theft attempts which usually occur at storage yards with minimal protection. Assess your RV model, and likely locations and take suitable precautions.
Things You Will Need to Keep Your RV Safe and Sound
Utilize layers of physical and visual security deterrents to safeguard your RV:
Lock RV Doors and Windows
Properly locking all entry points is the first line of defense. Install high-security deadbolt locks in every exterior door, including storage compartments. Ensure locks cannot be easily picked or pried open. Tightly close and latch all windows when leaving the RV unattended, using additional window locks if possible. Securing all external access points deters break-ins and theft from the RV interior.
Install a Hitch Lock
A hitch lock is inserted into the trailer hitch receiver to prevent the removal of the connector. Attached to the vehicle frame, it secures the hitch receiver in place so thieves cannot hitch and tow away the entire RV. Choose a heavy-duty lock resistant to hacksaws and power tools. Hitch locks immobilize the vehicle when parked by denying access to tow it away.
Use Wheel Locks
Applying external wheel clamps onto the RV’s tires physically stops the wheels from turning or rolling. With the drive/steering wheels immobilized, thieves cannot move or maneuver the parked vehicle, essentially anchoring it in place. Use highly visible, pick/drill-resistant wheel locks across multiple wheels for maximum vehicle security. This prevents theft of the RV itself.
Install a Security Alarm System
Installing a comprehensive security alarm system deters potential thieves and detects actual break-in attempts. Motion sensors will pick up movement inside the RV and trigger loud audible alarms and flashing exterior lights to frighten intruders away. Surveillance cameras provide real-time monitoring and video evidence to identify criminals. Having visible alarm system signage also warns thieves that the RV is protected.
Install GPS Tracking
Covertly installing a GPS tracking device allows constant remote monitoring of the RV’s location when unattended. Advanced GPS tracking systems send alerts if the RV is moved or driven out of designated safe zones. If criminals do manage to steal the RV, authorities can pinpoint its location via GPS to recover the vehicle. GPS tracking also deters theft in the first place.
Deter Visibility of Valuables
Burglars often look into RVs through windows and windshields for visible valuables left behind to target. Completely covering all windows, doors, and skylights with curtains/blinds prevents criminals from peering inside. Also stowing away or locking up any expensive gadgets, jewelry, or cash creates uncertainty for thieves about reward potential. Removing these theft incentives greatly improves RV security.
Leave the Slides Out
Most RVs have slide-out sections that extend outwards to create more living space. Leaving these slide-outs fully extended when leaving the RV unattended serves two key functions:
With the slides extended, potential intruders cannot access the inner living areas, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. The open slides block entry into these spaces, acting as a barrier.
Extended slides make the RV impossible to drive or maneuver. Because the slides are protruding out from the vehicle’s sides, thieves cannot retract them and therefore cannot move the RV from the parked site. This helps prevent theft of the entire vehicle.
Remove the Electric Jack Battery
Many RVs use electric or hydraulic leveling/stabilizer jacks that can be lowered down to lift the RV off its wheels and anchor it. Removing the battery from such jacks disables their ability to operate electronically.
Without battery power, thieves cannot easily retract the jacks to bring the RV fully back down onto its tires so it can be driven away quickly. This helps deter vehicle theft.
Put Down Stabilizer Jacks
Stabilizer jacks are installed on RVs specifically to steady and immobilize the vehicle when parked. Engaging these jacks firmly on the ground essentially anchors the RV in place, making it impossible to maneuver or drive away without retracting the jacks.
With the vehicle weighing down and resting on stabilizer jacks, theft of the entire RV becomes very difficult for potential thieves.
RVs cost significant money so owners must take all precautions against theft. Assess your parking locations, and utilize multiple locks, alarm systems, and visual/physical deterrents to safeguard your motorhome. Stay one step ahead of lurking thieves by proactively eliminating all observable vulnerabilities in your RV security. Remain watchful and spare no effort needed to protect your prized home on the road.