Is RV and Travel Trailer Theft Common?

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How Common is RV and Travel Trailer Theft? While statistics were not readily available for RV break-ins, it’s safe to assume that it probably happens more often than we think. RVs are more likely to get broken into if they are left unattended for long periods of time or even if they look unattended.

Thieves are looking for quick opportunities to grab and run. If you shore up your RV to deter theft, leaving lights on, and purchasing and setting up an alarm system, you will be much less likely to be robbed. RVs are also broken into while in storage so make sure your storage place is secure. Read on for more information to keep you and your RV safe.

Are RVs Easy to Break Into?

Because RVs are made to be light, particularly travel trailers and fifth wheels, they aren’t necessarily made of the most durable materials. RV doors are the easiest way for thieves to enter and owners should consider replacing their standard locks for a more durable option.

Windows are another option for thieves. Consider getting sturdier options here as well. Also, make sure blinds are closed so thieves cannot see your belongings. If you plan to be away from your rig for a period of time, take all your valuables with you.

Which States Have the Most RV and Travel Trailer Thefts?

According to The National RV Dealers Association RVDA (2020), the states with the most RV thefts are Kentucky, West Virginia, and Florida. It wasn’t clear whether this was the stealing of the rig or break-ins.

How Do I Keep My RV from being Broken Into?

Concentrate on protecting your doors and windows, which are the first place thieves will attempt to break in.

8 Best Ways to Protect Your Motorhome or Camper

1. Change Locks (on entrance and storage doors)

Deadbolts are the most secure type of door lock. You can find models that have a keypad for your own easy mode of entry. These are simple to install yourself. Hatch locks from the factory are easy to pick and should be one of the first things you replace.

2. Get an Alarm System

Alarm systems for an RV can range from a simple motion detector to ones that detect fire, flood, CO2, and more. A security system with a camera and night vision can cost anywhere from around $100 to $500. Make sure you do your homework and get one that works well for an RV and with your own personal setup.

3. Secure Your Hitch

The use of a hitch coupler lock or hitch pin lock are some great ways to keep your trailer safe. X-chocks keep your trailer stable but can also be another way to deter thieves. A wheel chock lock is similar to a boot and goes around your tire and locks the wheel in place.

How Common is RV and Travel Trailer Theft? Best Ways to Protect Your Motorhome - secure your hitch
This is just one type of hitch lock you can use.

4. Close Window Blinds

Thieves will be less likely to want to break into your RV if they can’t see what is inside, including you. Close your window blinds when you leave and you might want to purchase a small safe for valuables. Take them with you if you can.

5. Install Motion Detecting Lights

Thieves, of course, don’t want to be seen as they pilfer your stuff. Make sure you have motion detecting lights for a simple and inexpensive deterrent.

6. Make Your RV Look Occupied

Lights on timers can make your RV look occupied. It’s also a good idea to inform the campground host or manager if you plan to be gone for a period of time. It usually isn’t a problem with the park if you have paid for the site but some places don’t want people taking up a spot and only coming in on the weekend. You can also ask a neighbor to keep an eye on things while you are gone. I wouldn’t recommend leaving your rig somewhere more isolated.

You can also lay a patio mat outside, cut weeds and lay in some wood for a fire. Anything that makes it look currently occupied will deter thieves.

How Common is RV and Travel Trailer Theft? make your RV look occupied

7. Lock up expensive batteries and your generator

The best ways to keep batteries from being stolen are to put them in your rig or take them with you. A battery lockbox can keep your batteries from being stolen and also keep them out of the elements. A battery shackle is a simple option with straps on top and through the middle of your existing battery box.

8. Install a GPS tracking system

This won’t keep your RV from being stolen but it will help you locate it if it happens.

Is My RV More Likely to Get Broken into While Boondocking?

The general consensus on RV forums is that boondocking is actually safer than staying in a park. As long as you don’t leave your rig for days or weeks, you probably won’t have any issues. The theory is, if you are out in the middle of nowhere with no one around, someone won’t happen by, see your stuff and take it. If you are at a park, someone can anonymously watch your coming and going and steal when the opportunity arises.

Best Ways to Keep You RV Safe While Boondocking

Staying with your rig while you boondock is the safest way to keep thieves from choosing you or for your entire camper to disappear. Of course, you might want to go sightseeing or go to get groceries. Just make sure you close the window shades and take all valuables with you. As I noted before, make sure you leave chairs out, a camp rug, wood for the fire so it looks like someone is coming back soon.

Is My RV More Likely to Get Broken into While Boondocking RV and Travel Trailer Theft

How Often are Drivable RV Motorhomes Stolen?

RV motorhomes aren’t stolen often but when they are, it’s usually when they are unoccupied, such as in storage. An occupied vehicle is not attractive to thieves. They want something that is easily taken or that they have plenty of time to steal.

Best Ways to Prevent Your Motorhome from Being Stolen

Make sure you have your motorhome in a secure storage facility but even so, it is good to do a number of things to deter thieves. Set any alarms you might have, lock the wheels, and put a lock on the steering wheel.

How Often are Drivable RV Motorhomes Stolen RV and Travel Trailer Theft

How Often are Towable Travel Trailers or 5th Wheels Stolen?

According to statistics, some 88% of all RVs are towables, leaving 12% being motorized, so it stands to reason that a travel trailer or fifth wheel are going to be higher on the thieves list. It makes sense that someone could come in with a pickup truck, hook up your travel trailer and pull away in a relatively short period of time. A motorhome would certainly be more difficult to steal.

How Often are Towable Trailers of 5th Wheels Stolen

6 Best Tips for Preventing Your Towable Trailer from Being Stolen

Securing your hitch would likely be your first line of defense to keep your trailer from being stolen. Anti-theft devices include a hitch coupler lock or a hitch pin lock. X-chocks or a wheel chock lock will lock your tires and keep it from being able to be towed.

  1. A Cable Lock is a simple thin cable, similar to ones used on a bicycle. They can be used to lock the hitch pin in place. However, these can be cut with bolt cutters.
  2. Padlocks can also be used to lock up the hitch pin but can also be snapped with bolt cutters.
  3. Coupler Locks prevent the use of the hitch pin. They can be used when the trailer is hooked up to your tow vehicle.
  4. Tongue Locks incorporate the chains into the locking mechanism.
  5. Hitch Locks fit into your hitch and prevent a thief from using it. These are very difficult to break when properly installed.
  6. King Pin Lock are standard tongue-type locks for use on a travel trailer. There are ones made specifically for 5th wheels as well.

Conclusion

There are few actual statistics online for how many RVs are stolen or broken into every year because most RV thefts are lumped in with auto thefts. So it’s impossible to answer the question: How Common is RV and Travel Trailer Theft? With more RVs on the road these days it stands to reason that there will be more thefts. Remember, thieves look for opportunity and vulnerability. You will want to assess how your specific rig may be vulnerable and then purchase one or more locking devices.

Once you remove your camper’s vulnerable areas, you can provide them with less opportunity by having friends around who can take turns keeping an eye on your rig if you have to be away. Also, take care to secure your hitch or remove it when not in use. If you are camping, it might take time to purchase another hitch, leaving you stranded. If you remove your camper’s vulnerable spots, you should in general be safer and have a more enjoyable time in your RV.

Here’s an overview of devices and strategies to keep you and your RV less vulnerable to thieves.

Utilize a secure storage facility to reduce the risk of RV or Travel Trailer theft

  • Install a security system
  • Lock the X-chocks (X stabilizers on wheels)
  • Lock your tire boots
  • Using hitch locks (for travel trailers and 5th wheels)
  • Use steering Wheel Locks (for motorhomes)
  • Avoid leaving your RV unattended in high-crime areas
  • Never leave valuables inside the RV
  • Utilize a secure storage facility
  • When in a campground, get to know the people around you

Related Reading:

3 Best RV Security Systems For Every Category

Is it Safe To Leave a Pet in an RV?

Is It Safe To Drive An RV In Mexico?

Are All Camper Keys the Same? Don’t Get Ripped Off!


About the author…

Terri Nighswonger and her husband Todd are full-time RVers and work campers. They have been living full-time in their RV for nearly three years with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Newton, and their Minnie Australian Shepherd, Remi.

They originate from the Midwest but plan to enjoy the west for a few years, wintering in Arizona and summering wherever the road may lead. Writing is Terri’s passion but she also loves hiking, kayaking, walking her dogs, and anything she can do outdoors.

Full Time RVer Terri Nighswonger

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