This article is a follow on to the article that I wrote, “Trailer Theft it Could Happen to You”. I am writing this article because I have had a few things happen to me that involve people thinking that what I have belongs to them. I want to reiterate my feelings on how important it is for you to protect your possessions, in this case your RV. This isn’t a new concept, but when you have something taken from you it becomes a passion to try to help others keep what they own.
There are two parts to this concept of keeping your RV. The first is in trying to prevent the RV from being stolen. The second part is in recovering the RV if it is in fact stolen. In my case, my trailer was easily stolen because I did not have any locks and I did not have a way to track the trailer once it was taken. A lesson learned!
As I mentioned in my previous article, there are a number of things that you can do to help protect your trailer from being stolen. These include locks for the kingpin of a 5th wheel, tongue locks for travel trailers, wheel immobilizers, chains to attach the trailer to an immoveable object or in the extreme case, removing the tires from the trailer. All of these things and anything else you can think of will help to prevent a trailer theft. However, as we all know, if a thief really wants your particular trailer, they will find a way to get it. They have tools for cutting the locks and chains and removing the wheel immobilizers. You just need to make it not worth their time and perhaps they will go to an easier target.
So how do you get your RV back if it is stolen? You can hope that the police will dispatch every available asset and dedicate their time to finding your prize possession. NOT! They will put your report in the system and hope they get lucky. However, if you have a GPS tracking system installed in your RV then you stand a much better chance of recovering your RV.
I firmly believe in the GPS tracking system and can now speak from personal experience as to the effectiveness of the system.
A few months ago, as of this writing, I had my truck (tow vehicle for my 5th wheel) stolen. My wife and I had gone to a store to pick up an item that she had purchased but wasn’t able to fit in the car. It was around 8:30 pm. I pulled up in front of the store to let my wife out to retrieve the item. When she got inside she realized that she could not lift the item so she motioned for me to come and get it. I was only about 20 feet away so as I got out of the truck and left it running. As I was going in the store, a young man was coming out of the store. He saw that the truck was running so he got inside and took off. It took me about 5 minutes to realize the truck was gone. I was never more than 20 feet from the truck but my view was obscured.
We called the police and an officer was there in about 15 minutes. As I was filling out the police report, it dawned on me that I had ONSTAR in my GMC truck. ONSTAR has GPS tracking built in. Since our cell phone was in the truck, my wife went inside the store and called ONSTAR. After ONSTAR verified that my account was active and spoke briefly with the police officer, they set out tracking the truck. Within 5 minutes my truck was located driving through a town about 30 miles away. Within another 20 minutes or less, the police had arrested the thief and recovered my truck. This whole process took about 1 hour. Fortunately, there was no damage to the truck.
If I had had a GPS locator with an advanced warning system in my trailer, I might have been able to recover it like I recovered my truck. In my current trailer I have a GPS system that has a vibration detection sensor. As soon as it detects movement, it calls three phone numbers and sends out emails.
I believe that if you are truly serious about keeping your RV, then you should consider buying a GPS tracking system. There are several companies that make the units. You can refer to my previous article to get some info on the systems. The system I use is the DeWalt Mobilelock which has a monthly monitoring fee. However, Rocky Mountain Tracking has a battery operated system that doesn’t have a monitoring fee until you activate the system for tracking.
GPS systems have become very ubiquitous over the years. Not too long ago, the GPS was for military only. Then the airlines got access to GPS and now you can use GPS to find your way around or track your wife and pet. So why not put a system in your RV to locate it in the event it is stolen?
There is an alternative to the GPS system and that would be LoJack. LoJack works on a transmitted radio signal that is tracked by receivers in police cars. LoJack is more likely to be used in driving RVs because of the need to be wired into the electrical system of the vehicle. LoJack has been around for a long time and has been very successful in recovering stolen vehicles. The information on their website states that they have a 90 percent recovery rate. The only downside that I can see with the LoJack system is that it does not cover all of the US. Your can go to their website to find out if coverage is abailable in your area.
My personal feeling is that I would rather have an assisted GPS system for my trailer/RV. GPS covers the entire US and allows you to track your asset from any computer. With the assisted GPS you can even locate the unit if it is under cover.
Another problem that we face is that of having our RV broken into and things stolen from the inside. This came close to home about a week after my truck was stolen. While at the storage facility where I keep my trailer, I noticed that the tongue support was broken on the utility trailer next to me. There was also a large chain attached and it looked like someone was trying to pull the trailer. I reported this to the management. When they came out to look, they found that the fence behind the trailer next to mine had been cut and the trailer had been broken into. There were several other places where the fence had been cut and several other trailers had been broken into. Fortunately, the thieves didn’t touch my trailer.
There isn’t much you can do if someone wants to break into your RV and only vandalize it. However, there is a company that provides an infrared motion sensor and camera combined to detect an unauthorized entry to your RV. The camera takes a 10 second video of the intruder and sends it to the companies computer server and then notifies you of the break in. The website is www.rvsecurity.net . At least you’ll have a picture of the thief.
Don’t forget to pay your insurance premium!