Boondocks: noun plural | boon-docks
1. Rough, remote, or isolated country
2. Rough country filled with dense brush
Statistically speaking, you are much more likely to be a victim of theft or crime in general in your own home than in your RV. In fact, if you search for RV crime statistics, you will be hard-pressed to find much of anything. Simply put, RV crime is just not very common. However, when boondocking or traveling anywhere that is particularly remote, it is not uncommon to be concerned about safety. Here you will find my opinions and rationale on why boondocking is not only safe, but a very enjoyable way to camp.
RVs are much less appealing to a thief than a permanent residence. Thieves are aware that appliances, jewelry and other valuables that can easily be pawned and converted to cash are not as abundant within RVs as opposed to site-built, residential homes. More times than not, burglars will target your home where they will likely find full-sized appliances and electronics as well as most of your valuable jewelry.
Camping down a back country road on public land makes you no more of a target for a crook than anyone who lives in a home on a remote country road.
Criminals are opportunists, they apply their trade where there is maximum opportunity and minimal risk. Criminals would more likely target urban areas, or more populous places where people congregate to heighten their likelihood of finding something worth stealing. Think about it. Why would a criminal drive miles out in the middle of nowhere with the hopes of finding someone camped in the boonies to victimize? While criminals aren't always the smartest people in the world, they can also be clever and cunning so it is always wise to keep your RV doors locked while away from your campsite.
However, being humans, statistics don't always alleviate our fear and safety concerns. Let’s look at some steps you can take to further minimize your odds of being victimized in the boondocks and make you feel safer:
- Place a sticker on your RV to indicate that an alarm system or guard dog is contained in your rig. Better yet, install a 12 volt alarm or take Fido RVing with you. A dog makes a great alarm system and no criminal, or human being in general, wants to be bitten by one.
- Talk to other RVers that boondock on a regular basis. They will happily share their experiences and recommendations for camping in the boondocks, you will quickly learn there is not much to fear.
- When boondocking alone, put two chairs, an extra pair of large men’s shoes and a large dog dish outside your RV door to deter would-be burglars.
- Park where there is cell phone service when possible. Not only for your personal safety, but in general, it is always a good idea to be able to make an emergency phone call if needed.
- If you are a motorhome owner and feel unsafe where you are boondocking, keep the jacks up, awning in and your RV ready to roll. If you are threatened you can just jump in the cockpit and drive away at a moment’s notice.
- Know your exact location. Be sure you are able to provide a good description of where you are camped including the name of the road, milepost and your position relative to both. Better yet, capture the coordinates of your campsite via your GPS receiver when you arrive at camp and keep them handy to give to first responders if needed.
- Park out of view, or in view if you prefer, of a roadway depending on the circumstances and surroundings.
- If your RV is equipped with a wireless remote key fob, keep it nearby when camped. The panic button would scare away most any criminal. The honking horn and flashing lights can be seen and heard for miles.
- Carry a Spot Messenger. Regardless of cell phone coverage, it allows you to check in with family, let them know where you are camped and summon 911 services from most anywhere. Learn more at: http://findmespot.com/en/
Surveys indicate that more than half of RV owners carry a firearm with them. The choice to do so is totally yours. Some things to consider:
- Some RVers believe that by carrying a weapon, you’re very likely providing one for the trespasser to use against you or in their next burglary. If you do carry a weapon, are you prepared to actually use it? Be sure to keep it tucked in a safe, concealed spot that only you know about.
- In most states within the U.S., the Castle Doctrine gives you the right to protect your place of residence which includes RVs. Be sure to read up on these rules and regulations. I strongly encourage those that carry a firearm to know the law of the land as it varies from state to state.
As an alternative to a firearm, some boondockers carry less lethal protection such as mace, bear spray, pepper spray or wasp spray. Again, there are legal ramifications, so know the law and act responsibly. If you think rationally about camping in the boondocks, apply the steps mentioned above and go for it! I am confident that you will find boondock camping a very enjoyable and safe alternative to conventional campgrounds. The price is right too! Remember, no matter where you travel in your RV, if trouble is going to find you, it can find you anywhere.