Van security

Van and work tool theft

In recent weeks two of our security partners have reported break-ins to their work vans. There is also an increase of incidents reported in relation to van/work-tool theft on several of the local neighbourhood online sites we are members of.

There are seven times more light goods vehicles than lorries on our roads. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), there are more than 3.2 million vans used for business across the UK. Over 48,000 vans were stolen in 2021 according to research from AutoExpress, up 3% from 2020. And with criminals becoming more sophisticated in how they break in, it’s more important than ever to make your van theft-proof.

Your van is most at risk when you leave it somewhere. Parking securely can deter criminals. After all, most thefts are opportunistic. If you don’t give thieves the opportunity, then they might not target your van.

Whether you live and work in areas prone to crime or not, you’ll want to minimise the chance of theft. One of the best ways of doing this is understanding how criminals operate. Some of the newer ways criminals are targeting vans include, ‘door peeling’ – an act of folding the top of a door open with force to see if there are any valuables inside, and ‘key-fob hacking’ – criminals use a device that tricks your car and fob into thinking they’re close to each other.

Some of the following tips are simple, but they’re easily forgotten during/after a busy day at work:

Choose and purchase your van based on its security

Look after your keys at all times

Always store your tools elsewhere at night – take them out of the van and put them somewhere secure. While out and about lock any expensive equipment in a secure storage box and bolt it to the floor of the van. This will make it harder for thieves to make a quick exit with your property. Remove ladders and any external storage overnight

Mark your property – you can mark your van and all the tools with paint, permanent markers or ultraviolet pens

Be careful of van signage/branding – advertising your business is important but can also act as a beacon for thieves when it’s printed on your van – it can indicate to criminals what types of tools they could find inside

Park somewhere well-lit – additional lighting can be enough to deter criminals. Remember thieves operate 24/7. Your van is equally as vulnerable during the day as it is at night

Back up against a wall – If possible, reverse your van so the side and back doors can’t be accessed

Invest in technology – install a good quality tracking device. Consider CCTV and home security, and have an alarm fitted

Utilise visible ‘old school’ security deterrents such as steering and handbrake locks – these can be effective at making your van less appealing to a criminal

Make sure you have the correct van insurance

Many experts recommend taking additional steps to protect your assets. One of the best lines of defence is a quality lock. Vans with ‘slamlocks’ installed lock up instantly as you shut the door, or an alternative is a ‘deadlock’ which will secure the doors with a single bolt. Also consider a catalytic converter lock.

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