This week I revealed my concerns about leaving our truck camper while shopping in a Walmart or watching a movie in a movie theater.
To be clear, in eleven years of truck camping we have never had anything stolen from our camper, nor have we ever heard of anyone having anything stolen from their camper in similar situations. Nevertheless, I think about it.
After reading through the reader responses, the consensus seems to be (1) always lock entry and exterior storage doors, close all windows, and lower the blinds, (2) never leave anything valuable out and visible, (3) always park in well lit and highly visible areas, (4) no theft deterrent is going to prevent a determined thief, and (5) don’t worry about it, that’s what insurance is for.
I also want to bring your attention back to Bryan Appleby’s excellent two part series, “Personal Safety for Truck Campers: Part 1” and, “Personal Safety for Truck Campers: Part 2”. As a retired law enforcement officer and full-time truck camper, Bryan has some invaluable advice and insights into this topic.
This week’s Question of the Week was, “How do you protect your truck camper from theft while you’re away from it?” Thanks again to TCM reader, Jack Masters, for suggesting this question.
“I have a 90 pound fearless seven year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever who owns and has access to every cubic inch of the camper, truck, and its contents. Nothing I own is worth the pain and suffering one would encounter by opening a door and just trying to enter.” – Bruce F., 2005 Ford F350, 2000 Lance 1031
“I do not keep any visual attractions to be viewed from the windows of the truck or camper. I also lock it, but locks only keep out honest people. If anything were to happen, I would call that lizard who handles my insurance.
Since I got you on the line, let me tell you a funny story about theft. Back in 1968, when there was a strike going on with the local New York garbage haulers, there was a clever young man who had an excellent idea.
He took all the garbage he had accumulated for the past weeks and put it into a couple of boxes. He then wrapped those boxes to look like beautiful gifts that anyone would love to have. He put the gift wrapped boxes of garbage in his car and drove it to a shopping area that was known to be a troubled area for automobile break-ins.
He parked at the far end of the row and left his windows down for all to see the pretty wrapped gifts and went in to buy a pack of smokes. Upon his return, his gifts were gone… and so was his garbage.
This falls back to my original theft deterrent, don’t leave things in plain sight.” – Ben H,, 2006 Ford F350, 2005 Lance 981
“By nature we are very trusting people and usually leave our camper unlocked in a campground. However, we do lock it if we leave the campground or anywhere on the road or a parking lot.
To simplify matters, we did just install a keyless lock by RV Lock. It has a very simple keypad and even a key fob for easy access, so we don’t need to carry keys anymore!” – Charles C., 2001 Ford F350, 2012 Chalet DS116RB
“These do not prevent the entire truck from being stolen, but impacts other security:
1. I have installed (welded myself) a steel safe that is mounted in the jump-seat area of the truck. This holds cameras, computers, etc.
2. I have a swing-out cage for a gas can that, when closed, covers the rear door. It has a steel band lock.
3. I have made a hidden steel small safe (not telling where) that is welded to the vehicle. No one knows it’s there. It holds extra cash, and a credit card.
4. I don’t park my vehicle in places known to be problem areas. Check with local Forest Service offices, etc.” – Chris W., 2008 Nissan Frontier, Four Wheel Camper
“I usually tie my mother-in-law out in front out the truck camper. It would keep me away!” – S. Frank L., 2006 Ford F-350, 2012 Lance 1172