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Old 11-17-2021, 02:39 PM   #1
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Exclamation Your thoughts on how easy it is to steal my trailer!

Hi, new here and new to travel trailers! I have a vintage Spartan, 30 feet. I know it's not an AS, but this is the best place I could think to post since there are so many knowledgeable people here. This question is not even relevant right now, since I have a while before it's renovated, but I spend a lot of my free time trying to learn as much as possible so that when the day comes, I'm prepared.

I'm paranoid and always thinking about the worst case scenario! So these are the things I plan to get to try to deter thieves:

GPS tracker, BRIGHT motion sensor lights, security system with the loudest alarm possible that will also record them and notify me (I am aware it can't notify police on the road), hitch coupler lock, boots (?) and anything else you lovely people suggest so that I can pile on the deterrents.

I plan to boondock a lot. One of my concerns is actually cities. I would like to sometimes visit different cities and enjoy nightlife (no, that does not mean getting super drunk and stumbling home to my trailer.) What are some things I could do parking-wise to prevent someone from stealing my trailer, which would be devastating but the worst part of that would be that my pets would be inside. My thought was to try to find fellow RVer's in these cities to let me pay them to park my trailer on their lot (if it seems secure enough etc).

What about leaving my truck (with all of its security measures as well) attached to the trailer and just taking a taxi or Uber to my destination? I can't find anything about this. Could be totally stupid but I was wondering if that would further deter thieves.

I know this is long. Thanks in advance!!
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Old 11-17-2021, 02:54 PM   #2
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Greetings from Kentucky and welcome to the forum.

When traveling and staying in RV, state or Federal parks I think you'd be okay. Many of the places we've stayed have a gate that locks about 10 PM and you need a code to get in, but not get out. We did stay at a city owned RV park once that locked the gate at 11 PM. No in or out at all. Come back after 11 and you parked your vehicle near the gate and walked.

I worry more about ours when it's in the storage lot. I have cable locks between the wheels on each side that go through the innards of X-Chocks. I don't put anything on the tongue other than a padlock on the hitch latch.

I wouldn't want mine on the street somewhere, connected to the TV or not. That's too easy to hook up to and pull away. I'd prefer something gated. I feel more comfortable in a larger RV park, one among many, rather than being the only trailer in a lot. We make friends with folks on either side of us and try to work something out to keep an eye on each other's stuff.

If someone REALLY wants something you have, they'll get it. You have to do your best to make it less visible and more difficult to take. Above what you have already mentioned, maybe consider something like LoJack.
https://lojack.com/
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Old 11-17-2021, 03:01 PM   #3
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Oh I've never heard of LoJack, will look into that.

I'm not sure how often I will be able to stay in RV parks, I have recently seen multiple YouTube videos and comments saying that it's increasingly difficult to book a spot, with the drastic increase in RVer's. I would feel best in an RV park but I am just preparing for the worst.

What if the trailer is backed up to a wall or something, so that they would have to steal the truck or move the truck before hitching it up to their truck?

It would be great to find someone who lives in a gated community to let me park my trailer on their property...
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Old 11-17-2021, 04:05 PM   #4
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Your thoughts on how easy it is to steal my trailer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zzz_vox View Post
…I'm paranoid and always thinking about the worst case scenario! So these are the things I plan to get to try to deter thieves:



GPS tracker, BRIGHT motion sensor lights, security system with the loudest alarm possible that will also record them and notify me (I am aware it can't notify police on the road), hitch coupler lock, boots (?)…

What about leaving my truck (with all of its security measures as well) attached to the trailer… Could be totally stupid but I was wondering if that would further deter thieves.

Welcome!

The things you reference are merely deterrents, or recovery aides. They will not prevent theft of either your RV, TV, or items contained therein. If a thief is determined to break in, or steal, there’s not much you can do to prevent it. Even if you record the theft the likelihood of arrest and prosecution are minimal.

We live in a time where crime is taking place in broad daylight with no regard to property, or people. You can utilize the means and methods you describe, but the best advice is to use your spidey senses when selecting as location, and being willing to relocate, or not venture away when you’re uncertain.

Let me say that it is reasonable to be concerned, but you can’t let the “What If” mindset consume you and rob you of the joy that RV’ing brings.
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Old 11-17-2021, 04:16 PM   #5
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Welcome!

The things you reference are merely deterrents, or recovery aides. They will not prevent theft of either your RV, TV, or items contained therein. If a thief is determined to break in, or steal, there’s not much you can do to prevent it. Even if you record the theft the likelihood of arrest and prosecution are minimal.

We live in a time where crime is taking place in broad daylight with no regard to property, or people. You can utilize the means and methods you describe, but the best advice is to use your spidey senses when selecting as location, and being willing to relocate, or not venture away when you’re uncertain.

Let me say that it is reasonable to be concerned, but you can’t let the “What If” mindset consume you and rob you of the joy that RV’ing brings.
I know they're deterrents, that's why I referred to them as deterrents lol. My question is how EASY is it with all of those deterrents. I am looking for any additional info on deterrents and where to park etc. I do not need a bunch of people telling me if people want to steal it, they will. This is obvious. I grew up in very bad neighborhoods.
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Old 11-17-2021, 04:47 PM   #6
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I know they're deterrents, that's why I referred to them as deterrents lol. My question is how EASY is it with all of those deterrents. I am looking for any additional info on deterrents and where to park etc. I do not need a bunch of people telling me if people want to steal it, they will. This is obvious. I grew up in very bad neighborhoods.


How easy is it with all those detergents? Very EASY! A moderately motivated thief would have your rig rolling out of your line of sight in less than a few minutes. Locks and such only stop honest folks!

If you want additional deterrents I suppose you could add claymores, attack dogs, and constantine wire. Your call, but then again you’re letting your paranoia live rent free in your head if you do.
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Old 11-17-2021, 05:01 PM   #7
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How easy is it with all those detergents? Very EASY! A moderately motivated thief would have your rig rolling out of your line of sight in less than a few minutes. Locks and such only stop honest folks!

If you want additional deterrents I suppose you could add claymores, attack dogs, and constantine wire. Your call, but then again you’re letting your paranoia live rent free in your head if you do.
Haha oooookay noted. I don't doubt that it's easy for some thieves, but I disagree that locks and such only stop honest folks. Honest folks aren't stealing trailers. The point is that they'd draw attention from bystanders if they're sawing through multiple locks and setting off an alarm potentially, vs driving away with a completely unsecured trailer. Obvs if I'm parked in a sketchy area this matters less. And if it's an area with no one around, they could take their sweet time stealing it.
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Old 11-17-2021, 05:18 PM   #8
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not perfectly on-topic but

..after an emergency appendectomy and subsequent high fever recovery period, the surgeon appeared at the end of my bed. In my delirium, I asked if the reason for the protracted high fever was a Snickers wrapper that was left behind by mistake... not happy.
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Old 11-17-2021, 05:50 PM   #9
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..after an emergency appendectomy and subsequent high fever recovery period, the surgeon appeared at the end of my bed. In my delirium, I asked if the reason for the protracted high fever was a Snickers wrapper that was left behind by mistake... not happy.
Yeah ok whatever, doctor's leave behind candy wrappers in peoples' gaping abdominal cavities alllll the time. NEXT.
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Old 11-17-2021, 06:07 PM   #10
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All of the deterrents you are considering sound great but will be a generally pita to set up every night. After awhile I suspect some steps will fall by the wayside or you will tire of the RV altogether from worrying about it.

As noted, if someone with skill/experience wants your trailer, they will probably get it.

In my roughly 17 years on this forum almost every trailer theft I can recall occurred in a dedicated, fenced storage lot. Few are ever recovered.

Me, I carry insurance. I don’t park in Walmart’s or truck stops. Tend towards city/county/federal campgrounds and prefer those with a camp host(s). So far, so good.
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Old 11-17-2021, 06:11 PM   #11
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All of the deterrents you are considering sound great but will be a generally pita to set up every night. After awhile I suspect some steps will fall by the wayside or you will tire of the RV altogether from worrying about it.

As noted, if someone with skill/experience wants your trailer, they will probably get it.

In my roughly 17 years on this forum almost every trailer theft I can recall occurred in a dedicated, fenced storage lot. Few are ever recovered.

Me, I carry insurance. I don’t park in Walmart’s or truck stops. Tend towards city/county/federal campgrounds and prefer those with a camp host(s). So far, so good.
All good info - thank you! Luckily I don't plan to need that kind of security every night. I agree that would get old.
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Old 11-17-2021, 06:24 PM   #12
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“My thought was to try to find fellow RVer's in these cities to let me pay them to park my trailer on their lot (if it seems secure enough etc).

What about leaving my truck (with all of its security measures as well) attached to the trailer and just taking a taxi or Uber to my destination? I can't find anything about this. Could be totally stupid but I was wondering if that would further deter thieves.“

I suggest you get your trailer roadworthy and some real experience traveling and camping under your belt, then many answers to your questions will come to you.

Finding RV’ers who are able and willing to allow you to park a 30’ trailer and tow vehicle on their lot in a city is not a viable plan, in my experience.

Getting into some campgrounds with a trailer that long can be tricky.

You will find that your person, your trailer and your things are generally safe from others, tho thefts happen they are uncommon.

Again, I think you need some real world experience with RV’ing to get a better idea of what is going on out there.

Good luck to you,

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Old 11-17-2021, 08:29 PM   #13
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Oh I've never heard of LoJack, will look into that.

I'm not sure how often I will be able to stay in RV parks, I have recently seen multiple YouTube videos and comments saying that it's increasingly difficult to book a spot, with the drastic increase in RVer's. I would feel best in an RV park but I am just preparing for the worst.

What if the trailer is backed up to a wall or something, so that they would have to steal the truck or move the truck before hitching it up to their truck?

It would be great to find someone who lives in a gated community to let me park my trailer on their property...
LoJack is a GPS device installed in your trailer or vehicle. If it's stolen you contact LoJack and they activate the device which is located by the company. They can send police out to the location.

BUT! The bad guys will take the trailer/TV to a parking lot or strip mall and leave it. They will monitor it for a few days to see if the owner misses it and notifies LoJack. If no police show up they will take it away and have their way with it.

We have a gated community as part of our subdivision. The HOA says 24 hours maximum parking. You're aren't going to find a residence on a large lot, say a half acre, with dogs etc. with a gated entry very often. Most wouldn't let you park there anyway as they have that setup for themselves.

Finding RV parks with available sites will be easier earlier in the afternoon at places that aren't near attractions. You want to be near cities for the nightlife so you'll have to find something outside the city and drive in a longer distance. We stayed in state parks and private RV parks for short periods. Most state parks have available, non-reservable spots on a first come basis. Most RV parks will have a few reservable spots, mostly up in front and possibly without a gate. It varies. I use an app called RVParky. It used to cost, but now it's free and quite good. You can use it to locate various RV parking places and then call them to check availability. Download and install it, check your area to get familiar with it. There are others but I don't think you can beat this for free.

People who steal trailers etc. are professionals. Backing up to a wall probably wouldn't stop them and they wouldn't be careful about how they drag your TV out to get at the trailer. They will find a way with torches, Saws-All, bolt cutters and other things. YouTube has a ton of videos on how to defeat all kinds of locks and vehicle deterrents.
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Old 11-17-2021, 08:38 PM   #14
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A trailer will only be stolen if there is a market for it. That's why Ford and Chevy pick-ups, followed by Honda sedans, are the most stolen vehicles - plenty of market for parts, if not the whole thing. A vintage 30' Spartan would be next to impossible to resell without getting attention, and the parts market is next to nil - unless you already have one and need parts. A good deadbolt will keep the curious from finding out what's inside - that's about your only risk.
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Old 11-17-2021, 09:06 PM   #15
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I wanted to respond with a short and concise response but I won't.... It's easier to steal your RV when it's attached to your tow vehicle. And it's fairly simple to shatter the steel on your locks and chains with liquid nitrogen. I stay every where in the intermountain west as well as California, Nevada (where I live), Canada, and Alaska. No one has ever attempted to steal my AS in 18 years. And no one is attempting to steal it at this moment (I happen to be texting this comment while sitting in it). Forget the alarms, GPS, EPA, DEA, or retired Marine stickers on your recreational vehicle. You can't stop them, you can only slow them down. If you're that concerned, buy adequate insurance. Now, if you have insurance, go back to sleep, and let the insurance company worry about it....
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Old 11-17-2021, 09:08 PM   #16
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Your stated scenario brings up some questions.

You don't plan on campgrounds so where do you plan to boondock. You mention visiting cities and entertainment and nightlife but where will you be parking a 30 ft Spartan.

Several have stated their various security devices and tactics so you will have plenty to choose from.

As Maggie said once you start your adventure your scenarios will evolve into reality.

Big box stores usually have large parking lots but the intention there is you are frequenting the store or with your vehicle. "Some" Walmart stores allow overnight parking in the outer limits of their parking lot but agai. The intention is you are shopping or doing a quick overnight without unpacking unhook get or setting up camp items. The Walmart practice is slowly diminishing in urban areas due to cities zoning or building restrictions. Streetdocking, stealth camping, urban camping is also getting more regulated. Not that you can stealth camp in a 30 ft Spartan.

Have good photos of your Spartan. Mark it with a hidden engraving or tag in case you need to ID it if stolen. Have it properly insured especially if you are living in it. Keep it hitched if in urban areas if Uber or Lyft is easily accessible. If using a car service in a urban area walk to a nearest intersection versus bring the car service to your front door. Leave a in case of emergency phone number in the window if security or a tow driver need you to move your vehicle.

Most of us here camp and leave our trailer but it's usually in a campground of some sorts.

Happy travels.
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Old 11-18-2021, 10:24 AM   #17
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The best way to prevent theft is to make it as annoying and tedious as possible to make off with the trailer. You have a head start with a longer trailer (the shorter the trailer, the easier it is to steal). Adding a combination of the other available "theft deterrents" like a hitch lock, cables throught the wheels, etc., is another good step. *Advertising* the fact that the vehicle is equipped with GPS tracking devices is another good measure. Despite what people might say, having it hooked up to your vehicle is likely a good way to help prevent theft. Stealing a modern truck (with a trailer attached, no less) is more difficult than making off with a bare trailer. We hear stories about trailers being stolen just by hooking up the "runaway chains," not even using the hitch coupler.

Anecdotally, the majority of thefts we hear about on this forum are crimes of convenience. It is repeated over and over that if somebody really wants to steal your trailer they will, but it would seem that (thankfully) these "professional trailer stealers" are a rare breed. Typically trailers are stolen by two camps: yahoos and people in unfortunate life circumstances (sometimes those categories are combined).

Parking in a place where someone is "keeping an eye on" your trailer is another good step, but there have been several recent thefts where that didn't seem to matter. I believe one trailer (as well as the tow vehicle) was stolen from a Las Vegas casino, with the entire thing on video but no one did a thing to stop it, and another was in a highly populated RV park where the thief brazenly cut the hitch lock with a cordless cut-off wheel, hooked up, and drove off, and nobody even questioned what they were doing. :-(

All this said, I think with a bit of common sense and preventative measures, the likelihood of someone stealing a thirty foot long vintage trailer is low. Sometimes worrying about these things too much prevents the immeasurable joy we can achieve with adventures and memories that are much better than simply hiding in a hole and fearing the world.
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Old 11-18-2021, 10:33 AM   #18
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I'd go with the insurance. My company will replace the trailer with new for the first 5 years, then it will go to agreed value (what I paid for it plus solar install with all that hardware and batteries). For $380/yr, I don't worry about it.

As for marking in hidden areas, that is something I'll be doing. Make sure it's in several places where you or PD can find it. Make sure you have photos of the rig, VIN and all permanent valuable accessories (TV, stove, etc).

These things are easy to steal. I worked in security and was at one seminar where an instructor went out to an attendees car and with all of us watching was in it in 10 seconds, defeated the locking steering column, started the car and actually blocked the lo-jack signal with a signal blocker. All in less than 60 seconds. That was with the owner's approval.

To misquote the movie Field of Dreams "if they want it, they will take it".

Insurance is the best protection you can have, short of a extremely protective dog you don't feed often.

I own a SuperDuty and have a kill switch which is hooked into a wiring harness and looks to just be OEM. It so well hidden I hope I don't forget where it is. Even though there is no way to start the truck, if they really want it, they could drag it onto a flatbed and go on their merry way. Nothing is perfect
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Old 11-18-2021, 10:39 AM   #19
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Arrow Paranoid About Security

When we purchased our AS I was a "bit" concerned about security both while travelling and when in storage. If you go to my Blog I have written a very detailed post on the "How Too's Of Trailer Security"
https://www.marriedwithairstream.com/trailer-security/

In Saying all this - remember nothing is absolute, that's why we have insurance
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Old 11-18-2021, 10:40 AM   #20
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Your stated scenario brings up some questions.

You don't plan on campgrounds so where do you plan to boondock. You mention visiting cities and entertainment and nightlife but where will you be parking a 30 ft Spartan.
The cities thing will not be the majority of my travel. If I do stay in a city, I will plan ahead. I don't plan to just park the trailer on the side of a street in say, Chicago. I would attempt to find an RV park but if that fails - that's what I am curious about.

I plan to boondock in BLM land, campgrounds and RV parks if they are available, but I have heard they are increasingly impossible to book without booking like 6 months to a year in advance. The trailer will have lots of solar and a composting toilet, so I won't *need* hookups.
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