6 RV Theft Statistics and Facts in Canada (Updated In 2023)
Sadly, RV theft happens everywhere and is surprisingly common. However, it does happen at different rates in different areas. Therefore, where you park your RV plays a massive role in whether or not it gets stolen. The types of RV and other factors matter, too.
Not much information exists on RV theft. There is no official government report on stolen RVs. Often, stolen RVs don’t even get labeled as “vehicle” theft. Therefore, the numbers are very skewed and must be estimated via third-party sources.
Let’s look at some eye-opening statistics to understand RV theft in Canada.
Click to Skip Ahead:
The 6 RV Theft Statistics in Canada
- RV thefts have decreased in some areas over the last 5 years.
- Many RVs are not reported as stolen, which can affect the theft data.
- Nearly 82% of RVs stolen are travel trailers.
- The second-most-common class of RVs stolen is Class C motorhomes, though these only represent 7% of all stolen RVs.
- Most RVs are stolen from storage yards.
- The safest place for RVs is at a campground or RV park.
RV Theft Compared to Other Vehicles
1. RV thefts have decreased in some areas over the last 5 years. (The Stettler Independent)
RV theft has thankfully decreased over the last 5 years, like most vehicle theft. According to the Central Alberta RCMP, there were 738 RVs reported stolen in 2016. However, only 478 were reported stolen in 2020. However, we don’t have statistics for all areas. Even the department that gave us these statistics went on to say that the numbers may not be reflective of the truth.
The department states that many RVs aren’t classified as “vehicle theft.” Many aren’t even reported stolen, as those in storage areas may stay missing for months before anyone reports it.
2. Many RVs are not reported as stolen, which can affect the theft data. (The Stettler Independent)
A large percentage of RVs aren’t reported stolen. Usually, these RVs are kept in a storage facility, where they can be swiped easily and gone long before anyone notices. In these cases, the thief often sells the vehicle quickly, fabricating a new serial number. The sale doesn’t raise any red flags, as the vehicle wasn’t reported stolen before the sale went through.
When and Where
3. Nearly 82% of RVs stolen are travel trailers. (RV Travel)
While we don’t have exact data on why this is, it’s probably because travel trailers are easy to steal. You only need a hitch on your vehicle to hook it to a travel trailer and take off. On the other hand, many other RVs have specialized hitch requirements that most people can’t meet. Therefore, they’re much more difficult to steal. When other RVs were stolen, the car towing them was often stolen, too.
4. The second-most-common class of RVs stolen is Class C motorhomes, though these only represent 7% of all stolen RVs. (RV Travel)
While much fewer Class C motorhomes were stolen than travel trailers, they did come in as the second-most-common type of RV to be stolen. Likely, these RVs were targeted because they are more expensive than many other options while also being smaller. Therefore, thieves can make off with them easier. Plus, they are also more common than larger, more expensive RVs. Simply put, there are more out there to steal.
5. Most RVs are stolen from storage yards. (RV Travel)
Many RVs are stolen in storage yards, despite many RV owners believing they are safe. Often, RVs stolen from these areas aren’t reported stolen for months. Therefore, thieves can often sell the RVs before the theft is even reported. This may be why thieves often target these storage yards. Based on this logic, it also makes sense that RVs would be most at-risk in the off-season.
You can often find footage of the thieves taking off with the RV as if they own it. However, very few facilities can prevent theft from happening. Cameras aren’t going to confront a thief, after all.
Other businesses also had a high theft rate, including RV repair facilities.
6. The safest place for RVs is at a campground or RV park. (RV Travel)
On the other hand, campgrounds and RV parks are the safest places for RVs. Likely, this is because the potential thief is afraid that someone may be currently in the RV. RVs in use aren’t commonly stolen. Instead, it’s RVs in storage.
Very few RVs were stolen when parked along the road, too. However, this is likely because very few RVs are left on the side of the road. Usually, RVs on the side of the road have experienced a breakdown, making them more difficult to steal.
Frequently Asked Questions About RV Theft
How Common is RV Theft?
Sadly, RV theft is not kept track of very well. Instead, different departments label RV theft differently. Sometimes, they are considered “other vehicles.” Sometimes, they have their own category. Other times, they aren’t counted as vehicles at all. Or, only certain RVs are counted as vehicles, and others are counted as property. It varies quite a bit.
Therefore, figuring out how many RVs are stolen yearly is impossible. No official website publishes this information.
How Do I Keep My RV From Being Stolen?
There are some basic ways to keep your RV from being stolen. You should have a hitch lock to ensure no one can pull up and take off with your RV. Often, this is how many RVs are stolen—anything else requires significant work and planning.
Secondly, you should avoid leaving your RV at storage businesses as much as possible or choose businesses that have strict security in place to prevent theft. Cameras are great, but they often aren’t very helpful in the long run. Instead, security around the property to prevent people from getting in is key.
Also, ensure that the towing vehicle you’re using has good security. Often, people will steal the towing vehicle, too, which makes stealing the RV easier. An unlocked car or one with a poor security system could easily lead to your car and RV getting stolen.
Some types of campers can easily have their wheels removed. You can easily remove one wheel when storing the RV in these cases. This way, you can ensure that the RV won’t be stolen. You can also leave the slides out, if possible. The theft may be unable to close them when quickly making off with the RV. Then, when driving down the road, it will become very obvious that something is off. The police may pull the individual over just because the slides are out.
You can use chains to lock your wheels together in various ways. For instance, you can chain your wheel through the axle. You can also chain your front and rear wheels, preventing them from turning.
When you park your RV, put down your stabilizer jacks to prevent it from being towed away. If the jack is electric, you can cut off the electricity to make raising them again impossible.
You can also add a small tracking device to your rig. Often, these aren’t expensive and they can make finding your RV again fairly easy. They’re particularly important for RVs being stored in storage lots when you might not even know that your RV is missing. Simply having a tracker on the RV can make it much easier.
Should I Cover My RV When Not in Use?
It is recommended to cover an RV when you aren’t using it. This coverage will protect against theft, too. Most RVs are stolen when they are not in use, after all. Furthermore, your RV is still exposed to weather events when not in use. UV damage can occur even in calm weather. Therefore, even when you aren’t actively using it, your RV can become damaged.
Do RVs Have Tracking Devices?
Most RVs do not have tracking devices built in. However, you can add a tracking device to your RV for a low cost. These simple tags can make finding your RV after it is stolen fairly easy. Therefore, they are highly recommended.
Some high-end RVs do have tracking devices as standard. However, most do not.
What Do Thieves Do with Stolen RVs?
Most thieves sell the RVs shortly after they are stolen. Often, the RV doesn’t travel very far before this occurs. Often, thieves will forge paperwork and serial numbers to make the stolen RV go unnoticed. Other times, the thief may steal from a storage yard and assume that the owner won’t be back to check on the RV soon. Therefore, they may be able to sell it before it is even reported stolen.
Statistics for RV theft are not tracked well by any government body. Therefore, it is hard to determine just how many RVs are stolen in Canada and which way that number is moving. Most areas track these thefts differently, making it challenging to figure out what’s what. Therefore, third-party websites (such as those that list RV reward advertisements) must be utilized instead.
The story those numbers tell is one where RVs mostly get stolen from storage yards. These storage yards often have sub-par security. Owners may not even realize that their RVs are gone until months later.
Featured Image Credit: Pol Sole, Shutterstock