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Protecting Your RV From Thieves and Vandals

Many motorhome, RV and trailer owners have to park there rigs where they are susceptible to being broken into, vandalized or even stolen. Indeed, RVs have been stolen or vandalized even when parked at home. There are many things you can do to help reduce losses which cost little or nothing.

When storing a vehicle, chain it to a stationary object like a substantial post with a heavy duty lock and case-hardened chains that cannot be quickly cut with ordinary chain and wire cutters. Rap the chain around the axle or frame. Then immobilize wheels using a "Denver Boot."

Using multiple anti-theft techniques has a synergetic effect. Thieves are lazy, otherwise they would have jobs, so they will go on to other targets if the job is too hard. Remove high-value items from motorhomes and travel trailers, easily removed items and store them at home.

Pick the location where vehicles are parked. Thieves and vandals do not like working in bright daylight or in front of a crowd. Park it close to well-traveled roads rather than on the "back lot."

Do not depend on street lights or lighting from adjacent buildings. Consider installing floodlights.

If possible store the RV in a fenced in area. For serious protection, fences have to be at least seven feet high, even topped with barbed wire, have a minimum number of gates, and use posts permanently set in concrete. Park trailers and vehicles strategically so they cannot be towed or driven away easily. If several vehicles are parked in the same location, wedge groups of vehicles together or against a wall or steep hill.

Have a good description of your equipment including serial numbers or other items for positive identification. Photographs help. Also record serial numbers and description on valuable items in the motorhome or camper.

If your insurer offers rewards for theft recovery and prosecution, advertise this prominently with the signs and decals. Thieves may be deterred knowing that rewards could increase the chances that someone could turn them in for the reward.

Most vehicles are stolen on impulse. This means the easiest one to steal is most likely to be taken. So make it as difficult as possible by installing a hidden switch or cutoff that prevents the engine from being started. These either shut off the fuel supply or interrupt the ignition system. For long term storage, remove a key component like the rotor, distributor cap, ignition wire, etc.

Use a steering wheel lock such as The Club. Also use an auxiliary device to make it difficult to saw through the steering wheel to defeat the steering-wheel lock. Steering wheel locks are now designed to protect the theft of air bags located in the steering wheel. Costing about a thousand dollars, airbags are now popular with thieves.

And finally, do not leave the keys in the vehicle.