Recent analysis shows 32,056 vans have been stolen since 2015, with nearly 10,000 thefts coming in the last year alone. Charles Stubbings, Account Manager at car finance and loan company, Moneybarn, gives advice on how to keep you and your customers’ vans safe.
On top of the rising thefts of commercial vehicles, the contents of vans are often also targeted. Analysis by the ECIC shows tool theft from vans has skyrocketed 55% in the last year.
With van and tool thefts a growing threat, Moneybarn has put together a handy guide on how to deter thieves and protect your valuables.
When it comes to van safety, it’s often best to go back to basics, like picking your parking spots wisely.
If possible, the safest option is to store your van away in a garage, however, a home driveway is the next best option, as you’ll have a better chance to hear any attempted break-ins. If you regularly park your van on your driveway, consider fitting a motion-sensor light outside your home to further deter potential thieves.
Where driveway parking isn’t possible, always leave your van in a well-lit area to give criminals no hiding places. And if possible, park on a road or area monitored by CCTV.
Vehicle thieves rarely act by chance and often have the skills needed to hotwire a van once inside, so they can simply drive off in seconds.
It’s recommended to fit an immobiliser in your van – a device which prevents a vehicle’s engine running unless a corresponding fob or token is used. Immobilisers are estimated to cut vehicle thefts by 40%.
Steering wheel locks add extra protection – simply click the device onto your van’s steering wheel overnight to stop carjackers driving away with your vehicle.
Even if your van is kitted out with anti-theft gear, it’s still recommended to fit a GPS device. So, if the worst does happen, you’ll be able to track down the location of the stolen vehicle.
Like home burglars, van thieves will likely have scoped out your vehicle for valuables before attempting to break in.
The safest measure you can take is to empty your van every night and keep valuable equipment stored away in a garage or shed overnight. However, if you simply have too much to transport or need to leave your van parked for a long stay while working on a project, tinted windows will block the view into your van.
Blacked-out windows stop outsiders being able to see into your vehicle and for criminals this may mean your van isn’t worth the gamble.
The price of parts
Sometimes, criminals aren’t after the whole van – just its valuable parts. One of the most valuable parts of a car or van is the catalytic converter – worth as much as £4,000 per ounce for the right material.
The number of catalytic converter thefts in certain parts of the country has almost doubled since 2018. And vans are a prime target thanks to their higher position from the ground, making it easier for criminals to crawl under and remove the piece.
If you are worried about catalytic converter theft, consider investing in a catalytic converter alarm. The alarm detects if the catalytic converter is being tampered with, scaring off potential criminals.
Mark what’s yours
For vehicle thieves, it’s all about stealing the van, its contents, or its parts and selling them on as quickly as possible, avoiding getting caught.
They don’t want to hold onto items for too long and certainly don’t want them to be traceable. Although not applicable for doing deliveries, if you have a customer who wants to deter thieves then you should advise them that marking your valuables could be the difference between their being stolen or not.
The best way to permanently mark tools is by getting them engraved with a name or the name of the business. This small marking will make the tools immediately traceable and will put thieves off taking them. A cheaper alternative is to use spray paint to mark tools – just enough to make them stand out and lessen their value to potential buyers.
It’s my vault
Sometimes, a locked van isn’t enough to keep your tools safe. One smashed window and criminals have access to all your valuables.
Installing a van vault gives you a secure place to store valuable tools. They can be fitted to vans and provide a heavy-duty storage solution for belongings, which can only be opened with a key and is built to withstand forceful attempts.
Company Address: Athena House, Bedford Rd, Petersfield GU32 3LJ
Telephone: 0330 555 1230
Company vision: Moneybarn’s vision has not faltered in over 20 years: to help good people access affordable and sustainable car, van and motorbike finance. The phrase ‘doing the right thing’ is inherent within Moneybarn and is the driving force behind achieving good outcomes for our customers and our business.
To find out more about Moneybarn and its van leasing options, click here.