9 RV Theft Statistics and Facts in Australia (Updated in 2023)
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
RV theft is a significant problem in Australia, which has the highest vehicle theft rate in any westernized country. While RVs are a bit more difficult to capture than your average car, they are stolen at an astonishing rate. They can potentially bring in lots of money for the thief. Plus, they are rarely reported stolen, which reduces the odds of finding the thief.
However, this diminished reporting also skews our statistics. Figuring out just how many caravans (which is what Australians commonly term RVs) are stolen and where theft occurs is challenging. We just don’t have enough reports.
With that said, we do have some idea of the RV theft situation in Australia. Here are some statistics that may help shed more light on the situation.
The 9 RV Theft Statistics and Facts in Australia
- Theft from caravans amounts to about 2% of caravan-related insurance claims.
- RV claims may be going down. According to some reports, they have been decreasing each year.
- However, according to other reports, thefts have increased.
- Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland have the highest theft claims.
- Theft in caravan parks lowers as the population of the park increases.
- RVs in parks are less likely to be involved in a crime than when parked in other areas.
- RV theft increases along the coast, where police response times are lower.
- Only about 10% of stolen RVs are recovered.
- Petty crime and theft of items from within an RV are more common than theft of the whole RV.
Insurance claims can be a wide variety of different things. Accidents, damage, hail damage, storm damage, and just about everything included in this claims summary. As you can see, theft is considered very low on this list. Therefore, you’re more likely to claim something other than theft.
With that said, we only included theft for the whole caravan in this statistic—not smaller theft, such as things off of the outside or inside of the caravan.
2. RV claims may be going down. According to some reports, they have been decreasing each year.
According to insurance data from several companies, claims for RV theft have decreased. Furthermore, the average amount for the claim has also decreased. However, all claims decreased during this same period, including the amount of each claim. Therefore, much of this may be due to a larger decrease in claims overall.
3. However, according to other reports, thefts have increased.
(The Grey Nomads)
With that said, other reports show that theft is increasing. It may be that these thefts aren’t being reported to insurance or that the RVs aren’t covered for theft. Either way, the reports don’t line up for one reason or another. Some claims put the increase at nearly 6% per year.
Who is at Risk?
4. Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland have the highest theft claims.
Overall, these areas tend to be hot spots for crime in general, so it isn’t surprising that most theft also occurs in these areas. Furthermore, more urban areas also tend to have higher rates of property crime. Victoria had about 37% of all thefts, while NSW has 30%. Queensland had 18%. The remaining thefts took place elsewhere.
5. Theft in caravan parks lowers as the population of the park increases.
The more people at a caravan park, the less likely theft is to occur in that area. In other words, if there are many witnesses, thieves tend to avoid doing crimes in that area. For this reason, camping at a park that’s more popular and has a higher population is likely to be safer. Visiting a busy caravan park doesn’t seem so bad considering the decreased crime risk.
6. RVs in parks are less likely to be involved in a crime than when parked in other areas.
If you want to avoid RV theft, your best bet is to park your caravan in a park. Caravans parked in other places are more likely to be stolen—this includes parking them at your residency, too. Likely, theft increases in other areas because the caravan is less likely to be used. Therefore, thieves are more likely to target them.
No thief wants to steal a caravan with someone still inside of it.
Of course, you can’t park your caravan in a park all the time—unless you live in it 24/7. Therefore, you must consider other safety measures when the caravan isn’t being used.
7. RV theft increases along the coast, where police response times are lower.
Along the coast, where RV parks are more popular, theft is also higher per capita. It is thought that this increase is caused by lower police response times. In places with higher police response times, crimes in RV parks tend to be much lower. Therefore, if you’re looking to escape crime, consider heading to places where police have a stronger presence.
The Aftermath of RV Theft
8. Only about 10% of stolen RVs are recovered.
If your RV gets stolen, you likely aren’t getting it back as most stolen RVs are not recovered. Thieves that go after RVs know about different models, how to flip them, and where to hide them. This crime isn’t something teenagers or inexperienced criminals partake in. Therefore, the success rate for criminals is pretty high.
Those that do get found usually have some tracking device on the RV. Therefore, we highly recommend getting these devices for your RV in case of theft.
9. Petty crime and theft of items from within an RV are more common than theft of the whole RV.
Usually, criminals are much more likely to steal things outside of the RV than the whole RV. As you can imagine, this is much simpler and requires less setup. Teens are likelier to commit this petty crime, while older individuals are likelier to steal the whole RV.
With that said, very expensive items can be stolen from an RV, so it isn’t anything to laugh about. Washing machines, appliances, generators, electronics, sporting equipment, fishing rods, and tools are likely to be stolen. Sometimes, a thief might steal a whole RV, take everything out of it, and then abandon it.
Therefore, even if an RV is found, it is unlikely that everything will still be in it.
Frequently Asked Questions about RV Theft in Australia
How can you protect a caravan from theft?
There are many ways to protect a caravan from theft—most of which are very simple and inexpensive. Getting a cheap tracking device can be extremely helpful in the case that your RV does get stolen. There are commercially available devices that are specifically made to track stolen RVs.
Most RVs are stolen when the thief breaks through simple hitch-locking devices. Therefore, consider getting tougher locks to prevent theft. We also recommend using wheel clamps to prevent the RV from moving. Most thieves are not prepared to handle wheel clamps and their presence may deter the thief from trying altogether.
Using GPS alarms can be helpful, but these are often more expensive. These sound if the RV goes outside of a certain area. However, they often don’t work unless they have proper GPS connections (which isn’t always possible where the internet isn’t available).
How many caravans get stolen in Australia?
About 60,000 caravans and trailers get stolen each year. Around 10% to 6% of them are ever recovered, making it one of the easiest crimes to get away with. These statistics make it vital to protect your RV from possible theft.
How often do caravans get stolen?
The rate of caravan theft is likely decreasing, though the numbers are confusing. In all likelihood, this decrease is due to improving security measures, which prevent theft or deter it. It isn’t as simple for thieves to steal RVs as in the past, especially if the owner takes time to add extra security measures.
Should caravans be chained down?
You do not have to chain down a caravan to prevent theft. Instead, other theft-prevention options work better. Ensure your hitch lock is high-quality and not easy to remove. If you can see the bolts from the outside, the thief can unscrew them and add their own. You can also add wheel locks. If both of these measures are in place, the thief will likely be deterred.
You can utilize a tracking device too. Therefore, if the caravan is stolen, recovering it is much easier.
How do you check if a caravan is stolen?
Determining if a caravan is stolen isn’t always very simple. Thieves are very good at covering their tracks. However, you can often tell based on the amount of information still on the caravan. For instance, the CRiS number is displayed on several of the caravan’s windows. This number identifies the vehicle. It is likely stolen if the number is scratched off or tampered with. If you have the CRiS number for the caravan, you can get the number checked to see if it is stolen.
Damage to the towing hitch may also indicate that it was stolen. Often, the thief will need to damage the hitch to steal the caravan.
You should always ask for the CRiS number of an RV, as well as the original documentation. Ask for proof of ownership transfer between the old owner and the new one.
RV theft isn’t super common. However, it does occur. Usually, RVs are stolen from wherever they are stored. RV parks have a lower theft rate, though petty crime is higher. Even if an RV isn’t completely stolen, criminals can remove expensive items from the RV, such as appliances and electronics.
Protecting your RV is pretty simple, however. A tracking device placed inside your RV can help you locate it in the event of theft. You should always ensure that you use a secure hitch lock. We also recommend investing in wheel locks for added protection. These security measures don’t take much time and money, but they can help prevent theft.
Featured Image Credit: Virrage Images, Shutterstock