As full-timers, so far we've been pretty lucky. We often boondock to save money and although we usually try to overnight only in safe locations, a few times we've misjudged. Winter of 2015 saw us in one of those creepy situations. We were drycamping in the parking lot of a closed-down Bob Evans restaurant in Florida. At around 2 a.m. there was knock at the door and voice called "Hey, is anybody in there?" When our dog barked, they sped away with their headlights off.Why You Might Need a Security System
Security—whether for your brick or stick home or your home on wheels—there's little more important than security. With a good security system, your home and possessions will be safe from burglary, as well as fire or vandalism.
Unfortunately, people usually view those who have motorhomes as being wealthy. As we all know, this isn't actually the case. However, when you're traveling in or sleeping in an RV, thieves see you as a potential target. This is why you should stay vigilant and take a few additional measures.How to Stay Safe
First, do your due diligence and read the RV park reviews for campgrounds and parking lots to determine their overall safety. Check out apps like AllStays and YELP where previous visitors leave a rating and general impression of the area. Next, scope them out. Do a drive through and if the place doesn't seem safe, go with your instincts. Always choose well-lit parking lot. Places like Wal-Mart and Cabelas offer free overnight parking for RVs. They are well-lit, monitored by cameras, and often patrolled. Plus, try to park near other RVers; there's safety in numbers.
Don't temp burglars. Keep all expensive items, such as your computers, tablets, and smart phones out of sight from doors and windows. Thieves are less likely to break in if they aren't sure there's anything valuable that they can easily find and grab. You might also increase your insurance to cover any pricey property you travel with.
Consider changing your RV locks and adding new ones. Surprisingly, many motorhomes come equipped with the same locks and identical keys. This means that your neighbor's key may actually also open your doors and cargo areas.
Lastly, when you leave at night, keep interior lights on—as well as the door light—to deter burglars. Plus, getting to know your neighbors helps keep the area safe. People are less likely to steal from you if you can identify them.
If You DO Decide to Beef Up Security
If you choose to get an actual security system, there are several options. Personally, we have two dogs and a sticker on our front door stating that we have a security system (we don't actually…please don't rob us…).
If you choose to get a security system, there are several reasonably-priced options. Unfortunately, many are only as reliable as your Internet service, which as we all know isn't always terribly reliable.
Guardzilla requires a very stable wireless Internet setup and offers a camera-based unit that plugs in and contacts your smartphone if motion is detected. When you get the text or email from Guardzilla, you can view a live video and use your smartphone to arm or disarm the system, as well as push a panic button. This sets off an alarm in your RV drawing attention and dissuading criminals.
NetBright is a battery-operated motion-detector light system that acts independently of the Internet. When one light is triggered by movement, it signals the rest of the lights to activate. They are reportedly easy to install and use the NetBright lights to alert you and your neighbors to unauthorized activity.
RV Guardian is a virtual boundary around your motorhome that detects smoke, changes in temperature (in case of fire), and break ins. If the perimeter is breeched, an alarm is sounded at the RV Guardian office and they call you so you can take appropriate action. It can also be set remotely for peace of mind while you're away, all of which requires good Wi-Fi.
Basically, stay within your comfort zone. Take appropriate preventative measures. There's safety in numbers, so if you take risks, do so with others and you'll likely be okay. There's only one fact in life; no one gets out alive. Enjoy the show!