For people that are new to RV camping and even seasoned RVers, safety is an issue of concern that crops up time and time again. This is very understandable as daily news reports are littered with stories of various crimes.
In this post, I’ll offer some safety tips, talk about the different crimes that are likely to occur in RV parks and campgrounds, and allay any fears you may have about the RV lifestyle.
There are significant safety advantages to staying in RV parks and campgrounds while on a road trip. Some offer gated areas and security check-ins meaning con artists and others up to no good won’t be able to easily wander around your campsite. And many feature surveillance cameras to catch would-be criminals in the act. According to KOA, RVing is relatively safe since most campgrounds don’t typically attract the criminal element.
Even the busiest RV parks see much lower crime rates than other areas. According to VEHQ.com, the odds of being a victim or a major crime in an RV park are 1 in 25,000. That’s much lower than in many residential areas in the U.S.
Of course, some are safer than others depending on location, the number of people in the general area, and security efforts and surveillance systems. Despite the secure nature of the managed campground environment, it’s always best to prioritize your safety and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself when you’re RVing.
Crime in RV parks and campgrounds
We know that crimes occur everywhere. Your preferred RV campgrounds are no different. The good news is that most of these crimes prove to be petty and inconsequential to personal safety. After reviewing several camping blogs and forums, I can break RV park crimes into two broad groups:
- Petty crimes
- Major crimes
Petty crimes in RV parks and campgrounds
When discussing RV parks and campground safety, petty crimes are the main concern as they are far more common. The incidence of these crimes is still low but sometimes they do happen.
Many avid campers report that they have never witnessed a petty crime take place. Others have tales of criminals stealing bicycles, BBQs, and propane tanks, and trying to break into parked RVs. The best thing about petty crimes is that you can usually stop them by being security-conscious. Locking your RV with a deadbolt, keeping windows locked, padlocking your Electric Management System (or surge protector), and keeping all valuables hidden and out of sight can deter the odd petty criminal.
Major crimes in RV parks and campgrounds
As mentioned earlier, the odds of you being a victim of a major crime in an RV park or campground are extremely low. Most campgrounds have security systems put in place to stop them from happening.
On any given day, a lot of people move in and out of RV parks and campgrounds. The large number of people and unpredictable factors present seem to deter perpetrators of major crimes. Apart from the odd bomb scare which usually proves to be a prank call, significant crimes in RV campgrounds are few and far between.
RV park security systems
With the availability of high-tech equipment many RV parks are using technology to secure their facilities. Total security can only be achieved with the assistance of every member of the camping community. However, it all starts with RV park management.
The following are a few security measures adopted at many camping facilities:
Surveillance cameras: In many RV parks there is an eye in the sky watching the comings and goings. Of course, these cameras are not situated in your private spaces. However, as long as an area is public, it is likely covered by surveillance cameras. Since nobody wants to be caught on camera carrying out criminal activities, surveillance cameras do a pretty good job of stopping crime at campgrounds.
Entrance security: Many RV parks have gates, security checkpoints, and speed bumps at all access points. It may seem inconsequential but it contributes to the air of security around a campground. These checkpoints are there to prevent non-campers from gaining access to the RV park and by extension, you and your RV.
How to pick a safe RV park
Staying safe starts with you! Before committing to days or possibly weeks camping in a particular RV park, do your due diligence. You may not be wise to stay in the first campground you come across.
Do your research and plan ahead
Your first line of defense for staying safe in an RV park or campground is to do your research and plan ahead before you ever show up to the campground. This will help you to avoid most of the poorly-rated and unsafe campgrounds altogether while RVing.
There are numerous ways to research RV park safety but the best ways are to check independent user reviews of the campground as well as check out Google street view to get a better feel for the area the campground is located.
Three favorite websites for independent RV campground reviews are:
In addition to independent campground reviews check out the RV park website and Facebook page.
Also, goodsam.com rates its RV parks and campgrounds using a three-number rating of a campground’s amenities, cleanliness, and environment/visual appearance. Each category is rated on a scale of one to 10 and a star is added for exceptionally clean restrooms. If you’re looking for the best of the best, Good Sam annually releases a list of top-rated RV parks and resorts. For 2023, a total of 156 Good Sam Parks scored flawless 10/10★/10 rating.
Before committing to an RV park I recommend checking out available photos of the campground on their website, Facebook, and Good Sam to get a better feel for the facility. In addition to any security concerns, I’m interested in the general layout of the park and invidual camping sites.
While it’s true the photos displayed on the RV park’s website will usually put the campground in the most favorable light, you can still get a pretty good idea of what the campground is like from the photos.
Pro tip: If the RV park or campground doesn’t have a website or a Facebook page this is usually a big red flag and warning sign. And if they don’t this usually indicates it’s a good place to skip especially if you’re concerned about safety.
Personal safety tips
Always lock up your RV whenever you want to leave your site. Even if it is only for a short period, lock up to avoid problems. All outside storage spaces should also be afforded the same level of security.
Keep your shades and window blinds down. This is the best way to eliminate temptations.
Park near other RVers. The expression safety in numbers also applies in RV campgrounds. If you are near other campers, they can watch out for you and vice versa.
Staying at an RV park or campground should be an enjoyable experience. Don’t forget to have fun!
Take care of yourself. You’ll find it hard to get a replacement.