Lately, we’ve been reading several accounts about RVs being stolen or broken into. So, here’s some RV security tips on how to prevent your motorhome or camper secure from being broken in or stolen while you’re using it or while your motorhome or towable camper is in storage.
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In a past article, we recommended several personal safety tips while traveling, camping and boondocking. However, in this article, we are concentrating our efforts on discussing how to keep your RV secure.
So, we want to provide some good RV security tips to help prevent break-ins and theft. We hope these simple theft deterrent guidelines provide better insight before getting behind the wheel or in the passenger seat to trek off to your next adventure.
If you’re planning your next RV vacation or full-time RV living, this is the perfect time to prepare to protect your family so you don’t become a victim to crime.
RV Travelers’ Guide to Personal Safety and Security
The very first thing you should do after buying an RV is log and take photos of your motorhome or camper along with its’ VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to document ownership.
But, it’s also a good idea to put a indentifying mark in an inconspicuous location. Whether it’s a engraving, decal, paint marking or other identifying feature aside from what’s already on there.
This way, when reporting loss to law enforcement authorities, you can add let them know of other distinguishing markings that may make it easier for them to identify if recovered.
Know your EXACT LOCATION
This is especially important if you’re parked. Once you finished checking in, write your exact location on a piece of paper and posted it near inside of your door or refrigerator. If there is a bonafide emergency where you must call 911, you have the address and site number of your location.
Kind of like boaters having a float plan, similarly let your loved ones whom you trust know your whereabouts.
Be careful what you share on SOCIAL MEDIA
We learned the hard way with this one. We posted a photo of our campground site on Facebook and Instagram. Someone saw that and came for a visit at 9:30 pm. We didn’t know who they were. They weren’t ones who posted ever on our pages. While its hard to know everyone in our audience, it just kind of spooked us alittle.
By all means, share your travel plans with your family or those who are close to you privately. But while your at specified areas, wait until you leave the area to share your exact locations. This also includes ‘checking in’ on Facebook. You never know if someone could be watching your every move and take advantage of a situation during your absence.
Keep your doors and compartments LOCKED
We keep all RV doors locked simply to keep us safe while we are inside; awake or sleeping. But also, it keeps ‘honest people honest’. This also goes for keeping your RV basement storage compartments locked.
And while criminals can bypass locks, why give them free access to your RV and your possessions without a fight
Always take your KEYS and KEY FOBS
Speaking of door locks, it’s a good idea to take all of your RV keys and key fobs with you should you be away from your RV. Do not leave them in your motorhome or trailer.
Not only for you to have access to your RV, but why make it easy for criminals to steal or drive your motorhome away?
Any spare keys should be kept in your lockable safe.
Speaking of lockable safe, we highly suggest keeping a good fireproof and waterproof safe in an inconspicuous location in your RV. Not only to keep important documents such as birth certificates, passports, social security cards, credit and debit cards, password books, insurance and loan papers, etc.
But also, you’ll want to store your spare keys, medications, firearms, and ammunition.
If you can find a way to bolt your safe to the floor of your RV would be an added theft deterrent.
We’ve read many accounts of RVers returning to their RVs only to find their hitch lever of their toad or tow vehicle has been tampered with or has malfunctioned. But worse, not having an RV hitch lock installed and coming back to an empty space with no RV.
So, no matter if you have a fifth wheel, travel trailer or motorhome, there’s a hitch lock for every one of those applicable hitches or pins.
Here’s a few hitch locks that may apply to your RV’s hitch setup
Dogs of any size can be a big deterrent of criminal activity. Seriously, a thief or intruder would have to be really stupid to risk being bitten or dogs sounding like burglar alarms.
All of that said, as I mentioned in our personal security article, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to place a large water bowl with a large dog leash outside their motorhome or camper door; even if you don’t have a dog. Because if a thief or intruder hasn’t been stalking your campsite, who aren’t they the wiser to know those are just there for show?
Automobile Key Fob Alarm
Plain and simple, criminals hate attention; whether it’s bright lights or loud sounds. This is why it may be useful to keep your vehicle’s key fob on your body or within easy reach when sleeping. If someone breaks into your camper or RV while you’re inside, simply press the alarm button to sound the car alarm.
Door and Window Alarms
As we mentioned with the car alarm, another great theft or break-in deterrent that you could apply to your camper or RV are simple battery-operated door and window alarms.
But I have to warn you, they are loud but that’s the principle of having them. Again, criminals will most likely cease what they’re doing and run when an alarm sounds when trying to break-in through a window or door.
They are super easy to install and engage and work exactly as advertised. The alarm is quite loud and a great deterrent. Just be aware that the distance between the alarm and magnet must be less than 1 centimeter. So, make certain to read the manufacturer’s instructions to get the most effect in protection.
In addition, they are inexpensive for those RVers who can’t afford to invest in an expensive hard-wired theft alarm system in their RVs or campers. Just know, it’s important though to replace their batteries often to ensure they will work when you really need them to.
Motion Sensor LIGHTS
Not only can criminals be deterred from sound but also instant bright light. Criminals don’t want attention or anyone knowing they’re committing a crime.
So, installing motion sensor lights outside your RV or camper is easy and great to light up your outdoor camping space should anything move; including large wildlife. And, they don’t have to be hard-wired into your RV’s electrical system.
RV SECURITY System
Considering RVs relocate often, it’s imperative to have a security system that is self-monitoring without a subscription for service. No need to have a permanent address needed to work.
The complete Ring RV security system implements motion sensors, door sensors, keypad operation and works with most internet setups. It’s wireless and has a 1080p camera device that allows you to see who’s at your door.
There are additional components you can add later based on your necessity of use such as a full-integrated smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm unit that replaces your smoke detectors. You also can add a flood and freeze sensor alarm, stick up battery-operated camera and smoke and CO2 listener that can be used to detect propane leakage.
Installing the Ring security system is amazingly simple and easy to use! Each component includes everything you need for mounting. Using the screws will ensure they don’t detach when transiting.
2nd Amendment PROTECTION
Now, you may see decals mounted on RV windows or doors that read: “protected by 2nd amendment”, “Don’t tread on me”, or any other 2nd Amendment support media.
Though some may look at it as a deterrent, we don’t feel it’s a good idea to advertise that you may have firearms in your RV. Why advertise you have expensive guns in your RV? That, in itself, may place yourself and your RV as a target of theft (and controversy).
That said, owning and using firearms legally and responsibly is one of your constitutional rights. So, abusing it not only could put yourself and your family in danger but everyone else as well.
We encourage you, as a U.S. citizen, to stay in touch with your legislators of keeping your second amendment rights intact and protected; just as with any right written in our U.S. Constitution.
Whether an RVer has any firearms or deadly weapons in their RV is perfectly within your rights as long as they are legal to own, to transported and and to use. Each state’s legislation may differ from another.
So, it’s important to be familiar with reciprocity laws, licensing and what firearms you’re transporting across state lines in your RV.
We highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the laws on the federal side (ATF). But do know, neither ATF nor any other Federal agency issues such a permit or license. Carry Concealed Permits (also referred to as CCDW – Carry Concealed Deadly Weapon) are issued by a State or local government.
For individual state laws regarding firearm protection and use, we encourage you to read a few articles to get the most beneficial information:
All of that said, if arming yourself with a legal firearm is what you choose to do to protect you and your family, you will be held responsible should you need to use it. The outcome is permanent and may pose legal ramifications.
Also, it bears repeating to always keep all firearms out of reach of children and those not trained properly to use them. To alleviate that, a good small portable handgun safe is perfect to safely store your firearm when not being carried. We also recommend a trigger lock for an extra safety measure.
Oh, and it’s wise to store your ammunition away from, not only your firearms but, any heat-producing sources.
That’s a Wrap!
So, that wraps up our recommendations and pro tips on RV security. Knowing and using our tips on how to prevent theft and break-ins will keep your investment safe. But more importantly, these will help keep you and your family safer so you all can enjoy your RV adventures.
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