RV, camper van, site trailer, and work truck carry considerations

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Re: RV, camper van, site trailer, and work truck carry considerations

Postby Interblog » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:06 am

chasfm11 wrote:... I get it from the OP that having high end electronics visible can change the remote possibility of being a victim in an RV significantly. But we've had our RV since 2004, have over 60K miles on it, driving it all over the country and have never come close to an incident in a "camped" situation. I've tried to query my RV neighbors within that same timeframe and have yet to hear even a secondhand story about an incident while parked.
....


Instagram might make you a believer.
;-)

Retrospectively, I realize that it would have been to my own benefit, and to the benefit of other people by establishing fact-based perspective, to create a small spreadsheet to capture the basic details of the break-ins that vanners in particular have historically reported on social media. Those reports formed the basis for what I do know about the general modis operandi - for instance, the reports that vehicle invaders most often enter through the driver's door, which is something that I would not have predicted.

As one example of such a break-in, and this also relates back to what another poster mentioned about in-vehicle security systems, two of the most prominent social media "stars" of the van world had their rig broken into (I haven't figured out how to seamlessly embed a link here, but if you google 'Roadtreking RV burglary', you can see their report). When I heard that, my first thought was, "Oh my word - somebody actually had the nerve to break into the Wendlands' vehicle?!" but of course, criminals do not read blogs and social media before choosing their targets, duh.

The Wendlands responded with a number of new in-vehicle countermeasures, including the installation of an IP camera / motion detector which communicates with them through a cellular air card when they are away from their van. In the event of another break-in, the camera will immediately ping their phones (assuming they are in cell range), plus it will take pictures of the invader and send those to their phones as well. This scheme potentially will allow for the summoning of police and interception of the criminals before they leave the area. The camera brand they chose was Canary, but new products are emerging in the marketplace all the time. Such devices are potentially of interest to anyone who believes that they have a higher-than-average chance of vehicle burglary or robbery. Entry costs are low for the basic IP tech described above, although people with single-battery vehicles (chassis only) may want to think carefully about how they supply power to both the camera and the cellular hot spot that it requires to communicate with the outside world.

Getting back to another comment, the electronics don't have to be visible - I never, ever leave anything visible in my rig, as that is just asking for trouble. If the van itself appears "expensive", that's more than enough to draw attention. Owners of mainstream RVs and trailers might indeed suffer less from this risk, in a variation of the "safety in numbers" theme and because a more ordinary RV may suggest more ordinary theft pickin's and therefore would be of correspondingly diminished interest to thieves.

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Re: RV, camper van, site trailer, and work truck carry considerations

Postby RPBrown » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:07 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:Generally speaking, I’m not much of a believer in signs. If you stop to think about it, the only factor in the OP’s scenario that doesn’t apply in my own home is seclusion. OTH, I live in a very quiet suburban neighborhood where people tend to keep to themselves, and there is some distance between the houses. If I thought those kinds of signs - whatever the content - were effective, my house would be festooned with them. It’s not, and for good reason.

“This house defended by Smith & Wesson”, and other signs like that are simply advertising that say “guns available to steal inside this house”. And I don’t believe quoting chapter and verse of the law will matter either. Remember? They are law-breakers. They don’t care about your stinkin’ laws. What’s my first line of defense? Two large dogs who don’t like unaccompanied strangers. Their bark says “anyone who wants to come in here is going to have to face me before they can leave......and once in, they’ll pray they can leave with their dangly parts still attached.” I have a home alarm system, and external surveillance cameras, but that barking is what first alerts me to a possible threat.

I realize that a home security system may not be of practical use for an RV. However, dogs love to travel. Get yourself a good one. They provide companionship as well as perimeter security. He or she will hear or smell bad juju long before you are aware of it, and it will give you time to get to and deploy whatever your chosen firearm happens to be.

A thief who sneaks up on your RV in the middle of the night may not have any qualms about breaking in while you’re there, but he’s going to be mightily discouraged by the sound of a dog that sounds like it’s barking steel bricks. If all goes well, the thief will leave and look for a softer target, and you’ll never even have to confront him.


I do have signs that say "Warning, Guard Dogs" on both gates into my back yard. They are only there to prevent any civil action should an unscrupulous person decide to sue after my Pit Bull or Golden Retriever tries to eat them when they enter their domain. Funny though, my little dog is usually the only one that barks. The other two remain in stealth mode :mrgreen:
Several years ago I had a German Shepherd that followed a BG into the back door of my house while we were gone. We got home, and although she always met the car, she was nowhere in sight. Went in the house and could see her head poking above the bar between living room and kitchen. Saw patio door was shattered and as we walked around the bar, she was sitting on a badly bitten and cut up BG. His only words were to please call the law or shoot him but please get the dog off of him. When LEO came and took him away, one of the officers told me to go get the signs and put up because he had seen instances where a BG had sued the homeowner.
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Re: RV, camper van, site trailer, and work truck carry considerations

Postby The Annoyed Man » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:20 pm

Interblog wrote:
chasfm11 wrote:... I get it from the OP that having high end electronics visible can change the remote possibility of being a victim in an RV significantly. But we've had our RV since 2004, have over 60K miles on it, driving it all over the country and have never come close to an incident in a "camped" situation. I've tried to query my RV neighbors within that same timeframe and have yet to hear even a secondhand story about an incident while parked.
....


Instagram might make you a believer.
;-)

Retrospectively, I realize that it would have been to my own benefit, and to the benefit of other people by establishing fact-based perspective, to create a small spreadsheet to capture the basic details of the break-ins that vanners in particular have historically reported on social media. Those reports formed the basis for what I do know about the general modis operandi - for instance, the reports that vehicle invaders most often enter through the driver's door, which is something that I would not have predicted.

The only problem with such a spreadsheet is that the number of reported incidents are not statistically valuable without knowing the total sample size. If, for example, 100 people report incidents, that sounds like a lot. But if it is 100 reported out of a sample of 100,000 viewers, that’s a statistically small enough number to not mean that much. It might even be lower than the number of reported residential burglaries for a similar suburban sample size.

Also, how affluent looking is your RV? I remember a cop friend of mine telling me that the B&E rate in rich neighborhoods was far higher than in poor neighborhoods. Poor people dont’ have anything worth stealing.
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Re: RV, camper van, site trailer, and work truck carry considerations

Postby Interblog » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:14 pm

I think that tracking can still have value in relative if not absolute terms. No, we don't know how often it happens in the community as a whole. But I can see how many people there are, who happen to otherwise be regular forum and social media users, who end up having to face a big mess of this kind. And it's a large enough percentage of the "regulars" who eventually get hit, that causes this issue to get my attention.

As for the vans looking "expensive", the challenge we face is that, historically, a large fraction of small RVs have been built predominantly on Sprinters, and every Mercedes Benz Sprinter van looks expensive by simple definition of its badge (except for obvious commercial vehicles like contractor trucks). There could be nothing more than sleeping bags, a camp stove, and plywood boxes set up on the inside of any given Sprinter, and the outside would still look very attractive to thieves. We are starting to see small RVs and camper vans built instead on the Promaster and Transit platforms, which perhaps appear a bit less rich, but that movement is in its infancy.

Instagram is particularly useful for retrieving those smaller, older vans that lack sophisticated electronic ignition lock-out technology, and which therefore are sometimes stolen outright (rather than broken into). As soon as that photo gets posted with a STOLEN caption, the entire community shifts into lookout-mode. And the vans often do get recovered because of tips gleaned from the hive-mind of Instagram.


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Re: RV, camper van, site trailer, and work truck carry considerations

Postby BBYC » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:37 pm

WTR wrote:
BBYC wrote:It sounds like one of the few situations where the shockwave non-shotgun would shine. In my case, my EDC is also nearby at night. If I was in a remote location, I would consider adding something with more reach if I could, like an AR pistol or carbine.


Why would you need something with more " reach " in a SD situation? Capacity maybe, but more reach?

A remote area has the possibility of longer range attacks.
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Courage to change the things I can
And the firepower to make a difference.


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Re: RV, camper van, site trailer, and work truck carry considerations

Postby WTR » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:03 pm

BBYC wrote:
WTR wrote:
BBYC wrote:It sounds like one of the few situations where the shockwave non-shotgun would shine. In my case, my EDC is also nearby at night. If I was in a remote location, I would consider adding something with more reach if I could, like an AR pistol or carbine.


Why would you need something with more " reach " in a SD situation? Capacity maybe, but more reach?

A remote area has the possibility of longer range attacks.



I think trying to return fire at a remote shooter is fruitless . The shooter knows where you are ( might even have a night scope). You have no idea where to return fire.The shooter fires , you expose yourself to return fire. The shooter nails you. Better to hunker down and wait for the shooter to come to you. All you need is a pistol and a shotgun.


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Re: RV, camper van, site trailer, and work truck carry considerations

Postby Soccerdad1995 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:04 pm

Mike S wrote:Wow, welcome to the forum! You are brand new here, & you've already opened a very thoughtful discussion & brought a specific topic to discuss. Thanks!

I typically recommend to avoid posting signs such as the one in your image, for two reasons:

1. It implies that you own firearms, & firearms are a lucrative commodity to a criminal (using it in other criminal acts, or to sell to other criminals for a quick buck). If the perp determines (correctly or not) that the vehicle (or home for that matter) is unoccupied, they may be even more enticed to break in.

2. Not that this sign SHOULD bear any influence on your justifiable use of force in court, but if you were required to use deadly force it MAY be the photo that accompanies the media coverage in the 'court of public opinion'.

I hadn't thought about an optional sign before you brought it up, but your post reminded me of the signage at rodeo arenas reminding participants that equine sports are inherently dangerous, & that they are assuming responsibility for their own injuries.

Perhaps an alternate sign for your situation could read:

"Pursuant to Chapter 9 of the Penal Code, deadly force may be justified in self defense, defense of a third person, or to prevent unlawful entry with force of an occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of employment."

This might be benign enough to get the point across, without being seen as a challenge to break in.

On another note, since you travel frequently you'll always want to check the use of force (& prohibited places) laws of the state(s) you travel to/through.


So you're saying that it's a bad idea for me to have a Koran, Bible, and Torah sitting next to my back door with a sign that reads "Please make peace with your god before breaking into this residence."
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Re: RV, camper van, site trailer, and work truck carry considerations

Postby Interblog » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:24 am

WTR wrote:...
I think trying to return fire at a remote shooter is fruitless . The shooter knows where you are ( might even have a night scope). You have no idea where to return fire.The shooter fires , you expose yourself to return fire. The shooter nails you. Better to hunker down and wait for the shooter to come to you. All you need is a pistol and a shotgun.


Myself, I'm solely concerned with vehicle invasion scenarios. In every break-in case that I've heard about to date, because of the way that the owners were using their vehicles, they didn't come face-to-face with a criminal. In my case, there's an excellent chance that I would still be in the vehicle at the time of a similar break-in.

As examples:

(1) In the break-in case I mentioned above, both of the Wendlands exited their vehicle in an upscale shopping area in order to go into a restaurant. More often than not, when my husband and I stop to eat, he goes into the restaurant and orders food, while I wait in the van. We either eat after having resumed driving, or, we remain in the parking lot and eat there. Why?? Because restaurants are crazy-noisy - loud music, people shouting over one another, dishes hitting the floor. If we are on a cross-country road trip and we stop to rest, we want QUIET for a few minutes, because the interstate highway system is also deafening. Moments of quiet are essential for sanity on long-haul trips.

(2) In another case, one of our forum regulars had his new van broken into at his residence less than 24 hours after he purchased it (the thief inflicted $3,000 worth of damage on his first day of ownership, yippee). Well, if that had been me, I would likely have been in that van at the time of the break-in. I routinely sleep in the van while testing systems modifications and other DIY improvements (it IS an off-grid van, and the ability to sleep / live in it is the whole point).

(3) In another case, one of our forum regulars had his van broken into during the first 30 minutes of being parked on a "guarded" pay lot near the St. Louis Gateway Arch (IIRC, the police speculated that the pay lot was actually being run by organized crime, not by a legitimate service provider). Well, I typically arrive at a destination and the first thing I do is have a short nap to recharge my energy. So I would likely have been inside the van in THAT scenario, too.

(4) In another case, an Instagram vanner was broken into while staying at a friend's residence, with the van parked in the friend's driveway. Again, I wouldn't have been staying in any friend's house - I would have been in the van itself.

(5) In another case, a vanner was broken into while parked in a public beach lot. Again, I would likely have been in the van during the conditions described.

Those are some examples of why I'm fixated on this specific scenario.


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Re: RV, camper van, site trailer, and work truck carry considerations

Postby chasfm11 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:28 am

Perhaps you should consider an RV type that is not being targeted at the same level as your van type. At some point the insurance companies are likely to pick up on such a high rate of associated crime and start charging more because of it. My RV insurance has always been less per year than my passenger vehicles. While I'm sure that that is due to the insurance company's expectation of the number of miles that I drive it, the comprehensive component to the insurance would be higher if my type was being broken into at a similar rate to yours Like not deliberately going into a bad neighborhood to avoid trouble, having something that attracts less criminal interest might be a better choice in the long run.
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Re: RV, camper van, site trailer, and work truck carry considerations

Postby Interblog » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:16 am

chasfm11 wrote:Perhaps you should consider an RV type that is not being targeted at the same level as your van type. At some point the insurance companies are likely to pick up on such a high rate of associated crime and start charging more because of it. My RV insurance has always been less per year than my passenger vehicles. While I'm sure that that is due to the insurance company's expectation of the number of miles that I drive it, the comprehensive component to the insurance would be higher if my type was being broken into at a similar rate to yours Like not deliberately going into a bad neighborhood to avoid trouble, having something that attracts less criminal interest might be a better choice in the long run.


I can see where some people would choose to do exactly that, and in many situations, they would be wise to do so. The first and best line of defense in ANY scenario is to keep a low profile and do not attract the attention of aspiring predators. My daily driver intentionally looks like a manure heap for this reason - dirty, cluttered, etc. After having two daily driver break-ins earlier in my life, I decided I didn't want to deal with that scene any longer. So I now drive an older high-mileage car which is a mess. Nobody breaks into the likes of it because, even if there are valuables in it, it would be impossible to locate them in all that mess!! I'm a fairly organized person and it annoys me to keep a car like that, but in THAT context, it represents the lesser of evils to me.

However - and this is a big 'however' - my husband and I decided to team up on this off-grid van project, and it really has become a hobby that we wish to continue to enjoy. We've put thousands of hours of DIY and a great deal of financial investment into it, and it is literally one of a kind by this point - there is no other vehicle that resembles it, and very few in existence anywhere that have comparable technical capabilities.

Therefore, it is here that I feel like taking a stand. This gets into the "free country" head space. It's a free country, this is what I've decided I want to do, and now I have to respond to the corresponding risks with appropriate preparations. That's just the nature of the beast.

Other owners of this general type of van typically feel similarly. Very often on the van-centric forums we hear the sentiment expressed, "I worked hard and saved money for 40 years, and now at this stage of my life, this is the ONE THING that I want for myself in terms of a personal reward."


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Re: RV, camper van, site trailer, and work truck carry considerations

Postby BBYC » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:33 pm

WTR wrote:
BBYC wrote:
WTR wrote:
BBYC wrote:It sounds like one of the few situations where the shockwave non-shotgun would shine. In my case, my EDC is also nearby at night. If I was in a remote location, I would consider adding something with more reach if I could, like an AR pistol or carbine.


Why would you need something with more " reach " in a SD situation? Capacity maybe, but more reach?

A remote area has the possibility of longer range attacks.



I think trying to return fire at a remote shooter is fruitless

I guess police can stop carrying long guns in their vehicles now :mrgreen:
God, grant me serenity to accept the things I can't change
Courage to change the things I can
And the firepower to make a difference.


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