RV Theft Statistics – 11 Facts You Should Know (Explained)


RV Theft Statistics

Are you looking for RV theft statistics?

Well, when you think about vehicle theft, you probably think of someone hot wiring a sports car and driving off into the sunset. You probably don’t think about RVs being hijacked — unless, of course, you’re an RV owner.

If you are, you’re likely very aware of how common RV theft actually is. But do you know the specifics? How about the researched statistics relating to the subject?

This article is going to cover all these questions and more. It’s also going to go in-depth on a few tips and tricks that you can use to prevent your RV from being stolen.

The Issue With Tracking RV Statistics

Before jumping into the statistics of RV theft, let’s talk about why it is difficult to find statistics about this topic.

If you quickly do your own Google search, you will find a lot of articles about how RV thefts are common and how to protect your RV. You will find very little statistical data to back up these articles.

The reason is not that RVs are rarely stolen. On the contrary, RVs are actually at high risk of being stolen, as we will discuss later. Despite how common RV theft is, there is very little statistical information about RV theft specifically.

feel free to use our infographics. Just remember to give us credit.


rv-theft-statistics
RV Theft Statistics

The reason for this is rather simple. RV theft is grouped in with motor vehicle theft, which also includes cars, buses, and motorcycles. As a result, there are very few reports about RV theft specifically, but there are tons about motor vehicle theft.

For this reason, we will discuss both RV theft statistics and motor vehicle theft statistics since they are intimately related.

RV Theft Statistics to Know

Here are some key statistics about RV theft specifically:

RVs Are At High Risk.All vehicles are at high risk for theft, but some are at more risk than others. RV owners must know that their RVs and trailers are at high risk.

👉 As of 2017, RVs and similar trailers were considered the 4th most common vehicle type to be stolen and accounted for 6% of stolen vehicles.

Though the Construction Theft Recovery Report has not put out a more recent report, it’s safe to assume that RVs are still up there. If you simply browse the Internet, you can see a huge influx of stolen RVs over the past year.

The National RV Dealers Association actually has a stolen mobile home report. This is the only website that tells outright how many RVs are stolen throughout the years.

👉 From 2013 to 2019, very few RVs were reported as stolen, with 3 being the highest reported in 2016.

In 2020, however, there was a huge influx in the number of stolen RVs reported.

👉 In fact, that number jumped as high as 26, which is 867% higher than reports listed in the years before.

Although not all motorhome thefts are reported on this database, it shows that RV theft is still a huge issue today.

RV Theft: The Meager Statistics

luckily, RV theft is a pretty rare crime when compared with the rate of other crimes. This is a conclusion I came to upon discovering that there are very few reported RV crimes and even fewer noted statistics on the matter.

According to the National RV Dealers Association 2013 had 2 thefts, 2014 had 1 theft, 2016 had 3 thefts, and 2018 and 2019 both had 1 theft.

This statistic only covers RVs stolen from dealerships, however, from it we can quite safely assume that the numbers of stolen RVs elsewhere is pretty low, too.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll never fall victim to this crime or that you’ll never know someone who has; it just means that you’re very unlikely to.

Unfortunately, other than this general information, there is very little in the way of statistics about RV theft.

RV Theft By State

According to the RVDA, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Florida have especially high numbers of RV thefts, though they don’t list specific numbers.

This is an interesting statistical point since, as we will learn later, Kentucky and West Virginia are not considered high-risk states for motor vehicle theft.

This simply means that states with low motor vehicle theft may be high for RV theft.

RV Theft by Month 

👉 According to a study conducted between the years of 2014 and 2016, the summer months tend to have the highest number of RV thefts.

However, RV thefts have dramatically increased during the fall months as well. This makes June through November the most common times for RV theft. The fewest RV thefts are reported during the winter.

Motor Vehicle Theft Statistics

Because RV theft is grouped with motor vehicle theft, motor vehicle theft statistics can be very enlightening in this discussion. Here are stats about motor vehicle theft as a whole:

Motor Vehicle Theft by State

Currently, the most common states for motor vehicle theft include the following:

•           California

•           Texas

•           Florida

•           Washington

•           Georgia

•           Colorado

•           Missouri

•           Tennessee

•           Ohio

In contrast, certain states are known for their low rates of motor vehicle theft.

👉 Here are the 10 states with the least amount of motor vehicle theft:

•           Vermont

•           Wyoming

•           Maine

•           New Hampshire

•           Rhode Island

•           Idaho

•           Delaware

•           South Dakota

•           North Dakota

•           Washington, DC

Motor Vehicle Theft by City 

👉 As of 2019, below are the 10 highest cities with the most motor vehicle theft:

•           Bakersfield, California

•           Albuquerque, New Mexico

•           Saint Joseph, Missouri-Kansas

•           Modesto, California

•           Topeka, Kansas

•           Yuba City, California

•           Merced, California

•           Yakima, Washington

•           Springfield, Missouri 

👉 As you probably noticed, 4 of these 10 cities are located in California, and 2 are in Missouri.

👉 Both states are in the top 10 states for motor vehicle theft.

👉 The remaining 4 cities are not located in states with the highest number of motor vehicle theft.

Motor Vehicle Theft By Holiday

Interestingly, there seems to be a really big connection between motor vehicle theft and holiday.

For example, New Year’s Day tends to have the greatest number of motor vehicle thefts, whereas Christmas Day has the fewest.

Here is a look at the number of motor vehicle thefts per holiday in the year 2019:

RankHolidayTheft Number
1New Year’s Day2320
2Labor Day2222
3President’s Day2204
4New Year’s Eve2201
5Halloween2191
6Valentine’s Day2174
7Memorial Day2161
8Christmas Eve2011
9Independence Dy1995
10Thanksgiving1683
11Christmas Day1580
RV Theft Statistic Chart

Where and How RVs Fall Victim to Theft

It goes without saying that most RVs are stolen while their occupants are away from them.

This means that most stolen campers get stolen when their occupants are parked on the side of the road and getting something to eat or doing some shopping, or when the RV is parked for a short period of time in a garage or outside of a house.

RV thefts taking place on classic campgrounds are relatively rare, with most of them happening while the vehicle is parked and left unattended at a different location.

Stolen in Broad Daylight– Theft from a Moving RV >> Check out the video below:

👉 RV thieves take special care to distinguish between travel-trailer-type RVs and motorhomes. Why? Well, this is because they are different vessels and as such, require different resources, different levels of planning, and different approaches to successfully make off with.

Travel trailers need to first be hooked up to a tow vehicle, while RVsmust be broken into and hotwired before they can be lifted.

👉 Based on this fact alone, it’s pretty easy to see that these two types of RVs require different preventative and safety measures to be in place in order for their owners to avoid having their summer vehicle stolen from under their noses – we’ll learn more about that in the following sections.

It’s easier for passersby to dismiss a travel trailer hijacking. This is because, at first glance, it’s impossible to determine if the person hooking the trailer to a tow vehicle is the legitimate owner or not.

👉 Motorhome thefts are easier to spot, for obvious reasons. One, of course, is that the burglar has to break the window first — an act that always looks suspicious. With a travel trailer, no one has to go inside of the vessel in order to steal it; it can all be done from outside and in broad daylight.

👉 In addition, RVs that are stored or parked at home serve as potential targets. When your RV is parked in the driveway or on the side of the street, it’s more likely to become a target than if it was parked inside a garage, as garage walls act as barriers that most thieves aren’t going to bother trying to tackle.

Read also: Can You Sleep In McDonald’s Parking Lot? (The Truth)

👉 RVs in storage facilities are also targets — especially if the facility is lacking in the security department.

An RV storage facility with security cameras, on-site security guards, or high walls and fences are more secure and less likely to be target by thieves.

👉 An RV that is parked on the street, like we said above, is a prime target. How safe your RV is when parked there depends on the street and the neighborhood.

Generally, RVs parked in busy places are safer since there are tons of potential witnesses walking by, while remote areas are basically beacons for RV thieves thanks to their deserted nature.

👉 Parking lots of large retailers and industrial sites aren’t as safe as they may seem, unfortunately.

During the day they are bustling with everyday activity but after the establishments close they are quite quickly deserted until the next morning. Sometimes, the areas are even completely empty over the weekend.

👉 Campgrounds tend to be relatively safe spots. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

For example, campgrounds with good security measures in place are on the safe end of the spectrum, while those with minimal security and management that isn’t invested in the security of their campers fall somewhere on the other side.

 RV Theft Prevention Tools

If you make it easy for a thief to steal your RV, the more likely a theft is to occur.

That’s why it’s important to be mindful of RV safety and to actively make it hard for RV thieves to make off with your vehicle. You can do this by employing a variety of prevention measures.

GPS Systems

While installing a GPS won’t protect your RV against being stolen in the first place, it will make it easier for your vehicle to be found should something end up happening.

Most GPS systems can be linked to smartphones and other devices, which makes it easy to track the location of your RV as soon as you realize that it’s not where it’s supposed to be.

When using a GPS system, you need to ensure that it’s placed somewhere where the criminals won’t find it.

If they do, they’ll find a way to disable it or abandon the mission, leaving your RV ditched somewhere and the offenders running free with little chance of being caught.

 Tire Boot Locks

Tire boot locks are handy devices that prevent a vehicle’s tires from moving. Using a tire boot lock on each wheel when you’re not in your RV is a great way to make the act of stealing your RV as difficult as possible.

 Coupler Locks

Coupler locks are designed specifically for travel trailer RVs. They prevent thieves from being able to hook your RV to their tow vehicle.

Of course, they can be bypassed with the right tools and enough time, but the fact that they make stealing your RV more time consuming is risky business for criminals.

Steering Wheel Locks

When it comes to motorhomes, steering wheel locks are a great investment. They essentially lock the steering wheel in one position and make it impossible for thieves to drive the motorhome.

Cable Locks

Cable locks can be used for all types of RVs. Alone, they’re likely not enough to prevent theft but paired with another prevention method, these handy locks add an extra layer of protection. They tether your RV to posts or trees and keep them secure.

Padlocks

Padlocks work for all types of RVs. They are affordable and easy to find.

RV Theft: Best Practices

In addition to equipping your RV with all the tools mentioned above, there are also a number of best practices that should be adopted.

Close the windows

Okay, so keeping your RV windows closed while you aren’t in it isn’t going to stop a dedicated thief from stealing your RV.

It might, however, slow them down. Before they can hijack the vehicle, they will need to break or otherwise get the window open which takes time and ups the risk of them being caught in the act.

Be sure to close your windows before you leave your RV unattended.

Stay in sight.

If you’ve ever known someone who just got a fancy new car, you might have caught them trying to sit at a restaurant table with a view of their vehicle. Chances are that they were trying to “babysit” their car.

This idea can be adopted for RVs, too. If you go out to eat, why not park the RV in a spot that allows you to see it from inside the establishment?

That way you can keep an eye on it at all times and if anyone starts poking around, you can quickly remedy the problem.

Adopt a dog.

Like houses, RVs are worthy of being protected. What better way to protect your RV than by employing a dog to protect it?

Most RVs are too small for the large, scary breeds commonly used as guard dogs but even smaller breeds can be good at this job.

This is mostly because they bark so much. If someone tries to break in and steal your RV, you very well might hear your dog barking and be alerted to potential theft.

Of course, you won’t want to use this technique if you’re going to be storing your RV — dogs are living beings and as such, they need care and attention, too.

Read also: Do RV Rentals Allow Pets? (Pet Friendly Companies)

Camp near other campers.

We’ve all heard the saying that there is safety in numbers and, as cheesy as it is, it’s true. You’re a lot less likely to be a victim of RV theft when you’re around other people.

As a good rule of thumb, if you can see your closest RV park neighbor, they can see you, too.

Try to camp or park your RV within the line of sight of other campers. After all, no good thief will want to steal an RV that is being watched by a handful of witnesses.

Leave a light on.

When you go out for dinner or on a hike, leave a light on the inside of your RV. This makes it look like someone is inside the RV. You could also leave the TV or stereo on.

You might be thinking that thieves are well aware of this trick – and sure, they probably are. But if you were a thief, would you want to risk someone actually being inside? Probably not.

Avoid flashy embellishments.

Vehicles (and RVs) that are flashy and larger than life tend to be high up on the list of potential targets.

👉 Obviously, this is because the thieves are attracted to the fancy objects inside the RV and, when they can’t steal just the $3,000 stereo because it takes too much time to rip it out, they’ll settle for stealing the entire RV instead.

When you’re traveling in an RV, try to avoid showing your money off. Leave your most precious valuables at home and don’t brag to other campers or people you meet on your travels about your awesome new tires.

Park smart.

If you need a reminder of what we said above about where to park and where not to park your RV, here it is.

Park in high-traffic areas that have people or houses nearby. Avoid parking in dimly lit areas, at deserted rest stops along the highway, or on streets that hardly see any traffic within a  given day.

These are hotspots for vehicular theft — including RV theft.

If you’re unsure whether ana rea is safe for parking, try to think like a criminal. Would you be gutsy enough to attempt a theft in the said area? If so, then the area might not be all that safe and you should rethink your parking spot.

Read also: Can I Park an RV at Walmart? [Recent Law & Rules]

Conclusion

In general, stolen RVs don’t seem to be a pressing problem. There are no definitive RV theft statistics, which leads us to believe that the problem isn’t bad enough to warrant them. This is a good thing.

Even still, though, it’s never a bad idea to protect yourself against theft since you never really know what’s going to happen and no one who becomes a victim ever thinks that they’re going to.

Take precautions such as using various locks, closing the windows, leaving lights on, and staying near others and your RV should stay safely within your grasp.

References

http://www.rvda.org/

https://www.safewise.com/

Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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