Whether you bought a used or a brand new RV, your investment should be secured. You might want to know the statistics on RV vandalism, so you can verify if “stealing campers” is a usual problem.
According to the 2015 reports of the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NVCIS) showed that the camper thefts in the UK had increased by 20% in previous years.
Moreover, Club Care Insurance reported a 36% increase in RV thefts in 2016, contrary to 2015. These past statistics showed that it is mandatory to have camper security and protection.
Searching for RV theft statistics was difficult because they are hiding in plain sight. Moreover, it is difficult to find such information because RV crimes rarely occur.
In this post, I am not only going to tell you how often do motorhomes get broken into, but will also address the reasons why and how these vehicles have been stolen. Moreover, you’re going to learn a few things about maximizing protection against such thefts.
The Construction Theft Recovery Report (2017) showed that RVs and trailers were the 4th (6%) most typical vehicle to get stolen.
According to Camping.Lovetoknow, robbing an RV is a rare crime in comparison to other felonies. There are a few motorhome theft statistics on the web.
Suppose you search the RVDA’s (National RV Dealers Association) stolen mobile home report. In that case, you can figure out the number of stolen incidents in the past and current year reported by recreational vehicle dealers.
This is the only website that shows the number of stolen RVs which are as follows:
- 2013: Two
- 2014: One
- 2016: Three
- 2018: One
- 2019: One
- 2020: Twenty-six (the last stolen vehicle was reported in July 2020)
RVs stolen from recreational vehicle dealers represent an insignificant number of stolen RVs. Most probably, not every recreational vehicle dealer has reported its stolen motorhome on the website.
According to these numbers on the website, it signifies that mobile home theft is quite rare. In the United States, not a vast number of mobile homes get stolen.
The other source worth mentioning here is the Insurance Information Institute. It does not mention RV specifically, but it highlights that vehicle theft is trending downward.
Vehicle-related theft in 1991 increased to about 1.7 million. However, it has significantly decreased to about 55% in 2017, as stated by the FBI.
However, the FBI still warns industry observers to remain cautious because thieves always use sophisticated and new means for stealing autos.
These tactics include using smart keys that eliminate hotwiring, switch automobile identification number, and use a stolen identity to acquire a loan for an expensive vehicle.
States That Have the Most RV Thefts
According to Property Casualty 360, the top ten states had the highest motor vehicle thefts in 2018.
According to RVDA (2020), the states which have significant RV thefts are:
- West Virginia
Now, let’s find out the common causes of increasing RV thefts in these regions. Continue reading.
Robbers continuously look for an easy opportunity. Motorhome theft usually occurs when owners do not take proper security measures for their mobile homes.
Since motorhomes have less security than homes, they are ideal for stealing valuable items and making money.
Defects or foundational issues in an RV makes it easier for the thieves to break-in. Here are some top trailer problems that invite thieves:
- Lacking in the vehicle’s stability
- Insufficient security measures
- Trailer parked in an unsafe campground
- Stress on trailer’s frame
- Camper jacks have become weak.
- Chassis moves too much.
- Campers that are usually two to three years old
For a thief, a trailer and motorhomes are two separate things. For stealing trailers, a towing vehicle is needed to hook the rig up. In contrast, for motorhomes, you have to break-in and hotwire the mobile home to drive it away.
A trailer or motorhome is usually stolen when the owner is not occupying it. Therefore, it means that travel trailers get stolen when they are stored or parked for a while, unattended at different locations other than campgrounds. Because in campgrounds and RV parks, RV thefts are extremely rare.
Outside the Garage
Your RV can be an easy target if it is parked outside the garage. Moreover, your RV is not safe inside the house too. If you are storing the camper inside the house, make sure it’s properly secured.
If you are parking your rig on the side street, its security relies on how jam-packed or cramped up the side street is. For instance, there is less chance that your camper will get robbed if you pull up near Times Square, Manhattan. Contrastingly, criminals will steal your RV, if you station it on a quiet and lonely street.
Moreover, industrial zones are the most sought-after parking spots for campers. However, the problem is that these zones are populous during working hours.
Sure, there are cameras in these large lots, but you might have to park in a quiet corner. Thus, it can make the crime go unnoticed.
It is quite challenging to spot a thief who is about to steal a travel trailer because they are randomly hooking the rig to the towing vehicle. Plus, you are unaware whether this person is a legitimate owner or not.
However, it is more evident when a person breaks into the motorhome. The truth is, the stolen trailer is mostly not reported because several people do not realize they are witnessing a crime, although they have seen the theft.
Thieves prefer stealing campers when nobody is at home. Professional thieves can even record your patterns and behavior before stealing your RV.
Furthermore, these criminals can also target storage facilities. When searching for an ideal RV storage facility, choose one that offers around a clock security system and tall fences or walls. These essential safety features ruin everything for camper thieves.
How You Can Protect Your Motorhome
Your Valuables That Should Be Out of Sight
Remember, road thieves are not mastermind criminals who plan a robbery to swipe up your stuff. They’re more like casual opportunists. When they find something interesting, they try to break-in and steal it.
Therefore, before you leave your rig, ensure that your personal belongings are out of view. Don’t ever forget these things on your floor, dashboard, or seats.
- Wallet or purse
- Laptop and its case
- Backpack or briefcase
- Shopping bags
- Small electronics like a music player
- Cash and even coins
- Your keys – most people do forget!
Talking about precious things, don’t leave your pet inside if you’re going out for hours. It may be unsafe.
Which RV Parts Need Extra Protection
Some motorhome parts are relatively straightforward to break-in than others, and thieves usually target those. Therefore, be mindful of implementing additional security on those RV parts.
The doorway is one of the easiest ways to break into an RV. The locking system present in a few travel trailers does not perform marvelously in securing the vehicle.
Several windows in the trailers are sealed. However, this does not prevent a thief from breaking it and stealing what’s inside. Therefore, consider those materials for RV windows that are resilient enough to bear wild smashes.
The worst thing is to leave the trailer hitch unguarded. It is the most common RV part that thieves target to steal the camper. What they do is they attach the unprotected trailer hitch to their truck and drive away.
Thieves are mostly lazy, and when they try to get in, they do not usually look for something huge. These kinds of thieves want quick thrills and a tad bit extra revenue by doing minimal work.
You can make your vehicle less desirable by making it a challenging target for such individuals. So:
- Put additional locks and deadbolts on your door.
- Always roll up windows after parking your rig.
- Activate window/doors security systems.
- Go for window tinting, only if it’s allowed by regional laws.
- Use other mechanisms like locking your trailer’s steering wheel.
- Keep all the essential and valuables with you.
- Make your trailer look like it is occupied by keeping the light or a radio on.
- Do not use glove boxes or consoles to lock your cellphones because they are too apparent for thieves.
- Secure your trailer’s hitch with hitch locks. These hitch locks go underneath the rig and are wrapped around the trailer’s hitch; hence, making it entirely impossible to couple it with the fifth wheel.
You must have photocopies and electronic copies of all motorhome-related paperwork. Take plenty of pictures (interior and exterior both) of your rig from many different angles.
Moreover, you must have insurance that offers RV theft coverage. These are essential prerequisites that will make the RV recovery process easier and a lot less painful.
If you undergo this unlikely scenario, immediately call the police for help. Please give them a detailed description of what happened and the paperwork and photos of your recreational vehicle.
Also, call your insurance company and report them about the theft. If you find your RV, it might be bad because many thieves remove furniture and other essential features. But – finding your camper is much better than not finding it at all.
I recommend that you opt for excellent security systems with a camera to keep tabs on your camper. Some of the best security systems are as follows:
This system is a virtual fence that you can place around your campsite to create a virtual perimeter. The alarm will go off when someone crosses the boundary.
It is an absolute best because it offers several safety features. Besides protecting from burglaries, it also safeguards from hazards like carbon monoxide and fire.
The GPS tracker will not prevent an RV theft, but it will allow you to track your mobile home. Thus, place the tracking device in such a place where criminals cannot figure it out.
Wheels stabilizers will provide hurdles for thieves as it prevents the tire from moving. The more wheel stabilizers you use, the more difficult it will become to steal your camper.
If you own a trailer, the coupler lock is essential because it does not allow thieves to hook up your trailer to their towing vehicle.
However, if you own a motorhome, steering wheel and brake pedal locks are a must. These locks become a difficult task for them; hence, it will increase the chance that they will surrender without stealing your motorhome.
In Closing – an RV Theft a Common Issue?
According to the limited statistics and information present on the web indicates that stolen RV is not a common issue. There are not enough statistics to prove that recreational vehicle theft is beyond the rare event.
100% safety is never guaranteed; therefore, I recommend that you protect your RV by taking anti-theft measures outlined in my article.
Be safe, camping folks!