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Do You Need An RV Security System?

spy vs spyAre you concerned that your RV is a target for thieves?

If so, you might think you need an RV security system to guard your possessions.

But before you bust out that platinum credit card, consider the facts.

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RV park and campground crime statistics reveal that you’ll likely have a difficult time justifying the investment in expensive monitors and alarms.

In 2006 for example, 273 million people visited US National Parks and only 11 deaths were attributable to violent crime.

And the crimes themselves?

Well, they’re not pretty, but they don’t involve robberies. Of the 11 fatalities, two people were pushed off cliffs, one committed suicide, and one was a DUI accident victim. Only two individuals died due to aggravated battery. Several others were innocent victims of gang related violence and stray bullets.

It’s not all good news though.

In 2010, crimes at California state parks tripled over levels recorded in the mid-1990s. But even with the sudden increase, the crime rate was only equal to levels seen in normal, suburban areas.

Talk to experienced RVers and you’ll find that RV theft and burglaries are rare for several reasons:

  1. RV neighbors can see what’s going on. When you’re living inside a RV, it’s much easier to watch outside activity than it is when you’re inside a stick home.
  2. Criminals have a hard time blending in. RV parks and campgrounds are small neighborhoods where people know who belongs there and who doesn’t.
  3. RVers tend to be neighborly and will usually keep an eye out for each other.
graffiti on trailer
Graffiti Vandal Handiwork

If you’re still concerned that thieves could target your RV, don’t invest in expensive cameras, locks and other high-tech RV security gadgets. Fake security camera anyone?

At least not until you review these free tips for avoiding theft in campgrounds and RV parks.

Consider Your Campground Attitude 

The old adages “Like attracts like” and “You get what you ask for” ring true when it comes to how your attitude shapes your reality.

For example, the more strongly you believe that criminals lurk behind every tree, the more likely it is these elements will appear in your life – just as you believe they will.

While it’s wise to stay alert and not put yourself into dangerous situations, keeping a positive outlook about your campground environment, and giving your RV neighbors the benefit of the doubt before you get to know them, will go a long way toward keeping crime away from your doorstep.

Park Your RV in a Safe Location

One of the easiest ways to avoid RV theft and crime is to avoid putting yourself in unpredictable environments.

Here are some ways to stay safe in RV parks and campgrounds.

  1. Read RV park and campground reviews. If you’re concerned about the safety of a neighborhood surrounding a RV park, visit websites like RVParkReviews to learn what others have to say. If you notice a consistent stream of negative reviews about the RV park’s location, move on and find another place to settle in.
  2. Choose well-lit areas for overnight parking. If you choose to go “blacktop boondocking” in a parking lot or truck stop, remember there’s safety in numbers. Stick by other RVers and only park in areas with enough lighting to deter sinister activity.

Eliminate the Temptation for RV Break Ins

If neighborhood thieves are lurking in your RV park or campground, you can make their plans more difficult to achieve.

Eliminate easy opportunities around your campsite by taking the following RV security precautions:

  1. Change your RV locks. Most RV storage compartments share the same locks and keys. Protect your belongings by changing the factory default locks and installing after-market ones for every compartment.
  2. Don’t leave expensive items in plain sight. While you don’t have to put a padlock on everything from your iPad to your gas grill, it’s wise to stow or lock items of higher value when you’re not using them.
  3. Leave expensive belongings at home. If you’re really concerned about your expensive items, consider leaving them in a more secure location. You’ll feel more at ease when you go camping if you have less to lose in the first place.
  4. Keep lights on at night when you’re away. Interior lights left on inside the RV will keep criminals guessing if someone is home. Exterior motion detectors are good deterrents too.
  5. Get to know your neighbors. Even if you’re only in a park for a short stay, getting to know your neighbors will send a message that you care enough to say hello and look out for their best interest – hopefully they’ll reciprocate.

Insure Against RV and Campground Theft

Sometimes crime happens despite your best efforts.

If you’re unlucky, having adequate RV property theft insurance goes a long toward easing the sting of being violated by criminals.

lock your valuables to your RV
Lock Up Your Valuables

Before you hit the road and put yourself in the potential situation of being a crime victim, call your RV insurance agent for an estimate on property theft coverage that will adequately compensate you in the event of property loss.

dropcamRemember to upgrade your insurance coverage whenever you add more valuable items to your RV.

Things like mobile devices and expensive bicycles can be covered.

Should you decide that you want additional peace of mind, you might consider installing a Wi-Fi enabled camera system, such as this one made by Dropcam.

But you’re probably better off using the money to buy standard bicycle locks for your outdoor equipment.

Common Sense is the Best Security System

There’s a fine line between being vigilant and just plain paranoid.

But following these common sense personal safety tips will go a long way toward keeping your possessions safe – and keeping you in a carefree state of mind.

The best way to squash any worries about crime is to do what you would do when traveling in general:

  • stay alert to your surroundings
  • blend into your environment by maintaining a low profile and
  • avoid putting yourself in potentially dangerous situations in the first place

2 thoughts on “Do You Need An RV Security System?”

  1. Peggy, So sorry to hear about your stolen trailer. I’m glad you at least got some of your belongings back. Thank you for sharing your tips for securing your new trailer. Eric

  2. Our 2014 Coachmen Freedom Express 305RKDS travel trailer, which we bought last December 2013, was stolen on November 11 from the truck parking lot in an area owned by the company my husband works for. We had a hitch ball lock in place, but that didn’t deter the thief. I was so devastated as our personal belongings were in it, and a few of them are non-replaceable. A week later our trailer was found 20 miles out in the country hidden behind a barn! We got it back, as well as our personal belongings; however, we had several items missing. The thief and a boy were living in our TT for a week and messed it up. They slept on our bed, used our bathroom, ate our food, watched our TV, etc. They were practically into every nook and cranny, violating our personal space and privacy. Our TT was no longer our “home sweet home.” Last Saturday, we traded this trailer for a new 2015 Heritage Glen 302FK.

    When our trailer was found and brought home, I immediately bought a padlock for the coupler latch, another hitch ball lock, and a tire boot lock (the store had only one left, we plan to get another one). When we bring our new TT home either this Saturday or Monday, we will definitely lock it up. I am awaiting to hear from our insurance agent as to whether we should add a GPS tracking device.

    I learned during this experience that stealing travel or fifth wheel trailers is the norm. Thieves want them as meth labs, live in them during hunting or fishing seasons, or just for free. Also, I am not going to leave non-replaceable belongings in our TT. They are better off at home!

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