Can Thieves Steal Your RV?
RV theft is something most people probably don’t put much thought into. Although it is generally less likely than auto theft, RV theft is something that should be considered by RV owners.
Your RV is a significant investment in many cases. Often, our RVs are left stored and unused for periods of time leaving them vulnerable to theft.
The 4 Best Ways To Prevent RV Theft
So what should we be doing to help prevent RV theft? Here, we look at some steps you can take to prevent the theft of your RV along with some things that may help prevent theft from within your RV.
1. Physical deterrents
This is probably the option most people will think of when they think about ways to stop RV theft.
Physical deterrents are objects that attach to your RV to prevent it from being moved.
Some options include wheel locks that attach to the wheels and prevent them from turning. They have to be unlocked and removed before the RV can be moved.
Hitch locks are very common and are a cheap option to help prevent RV theft. Hitch locks simply lock in place on your hitch and prevent your RV from being hooked up to a potential thief’s vehicle. Simply attach it to your ball hitch or fifth wheel hitch, lock it shut and that’s it.
There are different types and price points for these types of locks. You should consider the price of your RV when looking at the cost to secure it. As with padlocks, some of the cheaper options of hitch locks are easier to break than a higher quality built lock.
If you have a motorhome or van, you may want to consider having a steering wheel lock to prevent would-be thieves from driving away with your home on wheels.
2. Environmental deterrents
Where you store your RV is very important and can have a large impact on vulnerability.
If you store it at home, having your RV parked behind a locking gate adds another obstacle for thieves to deal with and any extra obstacle is a deterrent. An open driveway can be an easy getaway.
Having your RV in an area with lights and/or motion sensor lighting is another great deterrent. Often RVs are not stored directly beside your house and maybe in a back corner of the lot. Being able to light this area will be beneficial.
Many RVs are stored off our properties in large storage lots. For the most part, these lots are secure and a great option for those who do not have room on their property.
If you do choose to use a storage lot, be sure to look around the property for things such as full perimeter fencing, security cameras, after-hours patrol, or onsite dog watch.
It is smart to utilize other forms of security such as wheel or hitch locks even if you’re using secured storage lots.
3. Electronic deterrents
Having a GPS such as WhereSafe GPS attached to your RV is a great option for preventing RV theft, regardless of any other deterrents you are using.
WhereSafe GPS is a simple install of a tracking sensor that is hidden out of the way. With the smartphone app, you are able to get notifications of the movement of your RV and track the location.
Monthy and yearly service plans are available and are a small price to pay for knowing the 24-hour location of your RV. They also offer a seasonal package that allows you to hold the plan for 4 months of the year.
Car alarms are another obvious choice for motorhome and van owners. Many newer motorhomes and vans will have a factory alarm, however, if you have an older unit, vehicle alarms are readily available and most often installed by the retailers.
See also: Affordable GPS Tracker For RVers Has Many Uses
4. Contents theft
A more likely occurrence than having your RV stolen is having something stolen from inside of it. Here are some easy things you can do to help ensure you don’t lose any valuables.
Lock your RV!
Oftentimes at campgrounds or while boondocking, people don’t lock their RVs. While we would like to think nobody would steal in these places, it does unfortunately happen. If you are going to be away from your RV for any length of time, lock it up.
The locks on RVs, in particular the storage compartment locks, are known to have similar keyed locks to other RVs. Lock upgrades are available and may save you some lost property.
Locked or unlocked, it is never a good idea to leave any valuables in your RV if possible. Things that are left behind, like say a laptop, should be stored out of sight. Like in many homes, locking safes that are bolted down are a great idea for your RV.
Valuable outdoor items such as your surge protector, and if you have one, your generator, should be secure and locked when not in use. If possible, have your generator in your truck or tow vehicle and secured inside.
Leave a light on inside and outdoors.
A lit-up RV and surrounding area may be less appealing to steal from.
Communicate with your neighbors.
Let your neighbors know you will be out for the day and won’t be expecting any guests. Campground attendants can also be notified.
Another trick some people have used is having a sign for the door reading “back in 20 minutes” or something along those lines to suggest the owners could return at any moment. Having a sign announcing you are a dog owner, whether you are or not, can also be effective in preventing RV theft.
Utilizing any of the available options for RV theft prevention along with some common-sense actions will help deter thieves. Any obstacle or added risk can be an effective way to discourage RV theft.
RVers looking for valuable how-to information have learned to go to the experts. Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.
Kendall lives with his wife and their two cocker spaniels full-time in their RV currently in Mexico. He is one half of DashboardDrifters.com and the co-founder of RVSpotDrop, a web service for full-time RVers.
Zack M says
I don’t lock any of the doors of my rig. It typically does not have anything of great value in it. The cost to repair damage from someone prying a door open would be higher than what I would lose.
When stored it is in a very secure location with several security cameras.
Get one so complicated they can’t?
Our area has had an issue with catalytic converter theft, favoured targets are FORD E350, E450 and F-53 motor home chassis, what to do?
Better yet…sign reading, “There is nothing on this property worth losing your life over. Camera system never sleeps. Dobermans take turns. Lost 911 number. Practice The Second Amendment. Skilled with backhoe. Lime re-order just delivered . Ponder your next move very carefully.” Never any thefts or tampering reports filed. Oh, lighten up, Snowflakes.
Gary Reed says
In addition to a wheel lock I use a lockable lug nut on the wheel I put the wheel lock on.
I have heard thieves will Carry a spare tire and remove the tire with the wheel lock and install their tire to move the RV.
James Bush says
Don’t own one, 99.9% of RV owners have no clue how to drive…a car.
“Lock it or Lose It.” But, as an old Harley riding buddy that was a professional locksmith often shared….”Locks keep the honest, and the terminally stupid out.”
James Raymond says
I have s sign that I set grizzly traps, 11 new never used from 1920 s -1940s all but one has the tool to remove them, But I quote in the sign that I leave a meat clever to hack one’s own leg off. And I do have traps, don’t actually set them, but in dangerous areas, probably better than shooting a theif dead and leaving the theif for grizzly dinner. My trailers, my Prevost Liberty all have GPS, alarms cameras , plus trail cameras, Desert Eagle stainless 50 cal. Smith & Wesson 500 mag, Henry 4570, and my favorite A Parker 10 gauge double barrel.
I use the same mechanism I installed in our daily driving vehicles… RAVELCO. Just paid to have one installed in the RV we bought a couple weeks ago.
Not So Free says
Did I mention my pet rattlesnake?
Byron Jerry Ellison, Sr says
About a year ago,, while my ’18 Tiffin Phaeton 37 BH was in for service, an attempt to steal it was made. The Thieves drilled out the two locks in the door handle, to gain access. FORTUNATELY, my service facility had known of the increase in theft activity and had removed a certain fuse that precluded the engine starting (a 8.9L Cummins). Damage included a couple of scratches and the two locks. My service provider took care of the damage and now along with the removal of the certain fuse, I don’t leave the coach overnight. Per the Police Dept., the theives are stealing and parting out the rigs. bje
Dave Mosher says
My 2021 Grand Design Momentum was stolen right out of a well lit secure gated compound. We watched the video, it too 7 minutes to couple up, bypass master switch, retract 6 leveling jacks and drive away. Our replacement trailer will have a GPS tracker with geofence and my own proprietary security. I am installing a relay across the breakaway switch that, when plugged in, will lock all six electric brakes the first time the thieves put a foot on the brake and stay on for 15 minutes or more. Applying again and again until either abandoned or the batteries go dead. When I hook up I pull that relay so it reverts back to the normal breakaway operation. Like a hidden key, when relay / key is in the system is active, when really key is removed it will be mobile. All the security in the world is useless if they get it out of storage. My goal is to make them give up and abandon it. We will also install a low data, year round, internet connection and some wifi outdoor cameras. Of course, the tongue lock and cameras are the primary defence. Brake lock #2 and then GPS locater #3. But if we fall back on GPS to recover it we will not want it back. That will only provide us the satisfaction of knowing that they can’t have it either. And who knows, maybe me & my Vetran buddies steak it out and deal with the thrives personally.