How Often Are RVs Stolen?
Should you be worried about your RV being stolen? RV theft is on the rise, with an increase in thefts across multiple states. So, how often are RVs stolen, and are you a target?
If you have ever searched for RV theft statistics in your area or across the country, you likely didn’t come up with any concrete numbers.
RV theft isn’t very well tracked, so unfortunately getting accurate numbers is tough. With thefts increasing and the number of reports of stolen RVs increasing every year, we will hopefully start to see more accurate tracking and published statistics.
The National RV Dealers Association is one organization publishing data they have been able to collect. Their statistics are only the thefts they have information on, so actual numbers are likely higher. Since there is no national database of stolen RVs to use, this is the only information we currently have.
Is RV theft a serious problem?
Statistically, RV theft is not a serious problem in the United States. Now, if it’s your RV that was stolen, of course that is a serious problem; however, the odds of it happening are low.
While current RV theft is not commonplace such as auto theft, it is on the rise and should be on the mind of RV owners. The more RVs there are on the road, the more that will be stolen. So, as the RVing community continues to grow, we will likely see a rise in RV theft.
According to the NRVDA stats, RVs are the fourth most common type of vehicle stolen. That being said, most stolen RVs get categorized as a vehicle or a trailer and not as an RV. This makes accurate statistics almost impossible, and any numbers you hear being passed around can almost certainly be added to.
In 2020, there was an alarming jump in RV theft of over 800 percent! When you consider that RV theft prior to that was only a handful, the overall number still isn’t great, but the rise is worth noting.
Where is RV theft most likely?
Not surprisingly, the odds of your RV being stolen vary on your location. Any state with large numbers of RVs is obviously going to have more RVs targeted.
The number one location for RV theft is Florida. This probably isn’t a surprise to many, as Florida is well known as being a popular location for RVing. Floridians spend hundreds of millions every year on RVs, and the state draws RVers from all over the country and Canada.
Kentucky and West Virginia are number 2 and 3 in RV theft, with California and Tennessee rounding out the higher-risk states. All of these states have a healthy RV community and lots of yearly sales. RV theft, regardless of what state it takes place in, comes down to one important factor, and that is the ease of theft.
How to prevent RV theft
RV theft is pretty easy for seasoned thieves, so taking precautions is essential for RV owners. With practice, we all know how quickly an RV can be hooked up. Now, do just a walk around your RV, and that time can be under a minute!
Thieves aren’t worried about double-checking everything; they are simply hooking up and driving away. Anything you can do to make stealing your RV more difficult and time-consuming is a deterrent.
Hitch locks are cheap insurance for RV owners and take no time to install after unhooking from your vehicle. While hitch locks can be broken, even a cheap one is a deterrent and adds complications for would-be thieves. That being said, investing in a quality hitch lock is a small price to pay to keep your RV safe.
Most RVs that are stolen are never recovered by the owners. A GPS tracker may not prevent your RV from being stolen, but it can help to recover it.
GPS trackers can send instant alerts of movement, giving you the chance to contact storage facility workers or police and possibly prevent theft. In a worst-case scenario, a stolen RV can be tracked and intercepted.
Keeping your RV at your home in a well-lit area is unattractive to thieves. Adding some obstacles such as a car parked in front of it or a secure locked gate will be a reason for would-be thieves to move to the next target.
Having your RV in the back corner of your property or beside a garage with no lights gives thieves cover of darkness to operate. Motion lights are an unwelcome surprise for the bad guys.
Secure storage facilities
Storage facilities may seem secure; however, this is the most common place for RV theft. There is nothing suspicious about people leaving with RVs, so it creates a perfect location for thieves to scout out targets.
Before choosing a storage facility, make sure they have cameras, restricted hours of access, and staff on site. Combining hitch or wheel locks while parked in storage yards doubles your protection.
RV theft statistics
As mentioned, the more RVs on the road and in storage facilities, the more thefts there will be. So, how do we get more accurate numbers going forward?
The National RV Dealers Association has started putting out some stats, so hopefully they can continue to compile information on thefts. Having RV thefts documented specifically as RV theft and not lumped into vehicles and trailers is a start.
As thefts increase, RV owners will hopefully counter by being more diligent with theft prevention, and we can keep the RV theft numbers low.
Get tips from other RVers
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.
Kendall lives with his wife and their two cocker spaniels full-time in their RV currently in Mexico. He is one half of DashboardDrifters.com and the co-founder of RVSpotDrop, a web service for full-time RVers.
2 thoughts on “Is RV Theft A Serious Problem?”
My Son and his family’s RV was stolen from a secured storage facility. It was insured, but all the things that were in it, and the time it took to fill out forms. It was only a couple of years old. My Son actually works for Parole and Probation. It ended up being recovered with Vin No#’s filed off and other damage. Finally ended at auction with my Son taking about a $4,000. total hit.
I wish Mr Jennings would explore and publish some “tips” on safety for single, senior, rv amd trailer people out on the road.