There is no hiding that van theft in the UK is a prominent crime, with at least 30 vans being stolen on average every day. When it comes to tool theft, figures are even more disheartening.
According to recent research carried out by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, 57% of tradespeople are in the habit of leaving their valuable work tools inside their van at night. Unloading instruments from one’s vehicle every evening is not the most appealing of routines; however, not emptying your van may turn out to be a risky move if it is not equipped with trackers or extra locks to prevent break-ins.
In fact, Volkswagen’s study revealed that 55% of tradespeople in the London area have been subjected to tool theft in the last year, followed by the West Midlands (33%) and the North East (28%). Alongside losing precious and costly equipment, van drivers then find themselves unable to work for a number of days, which will inevitably add to their significant financial blow.
“Tool theft is a massive problem for tradespeople, with thieves targeting vans parked up overnight across the country,” said David Hanna, Head of Sales Operations at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. “It not only costs van drivers millions in buying new kit but also impacts their ability to do their jobs, further impacting their finances.
“We’re urging people who own expensive equipment to take extra precautions to deter would-be thieves, whether that’s removing items overnight, adding extra security measures, or avoiding parking in unlit, secluded areas.”
Here are a few tips that will help you keep your van and equipment as safe as they can be from thieves.
Prevent “peel and steal”
Many delinquents use the so-called “peel and steal” method – a simple yet effective technique which allows burglars to easily open the side door of your van. By grabbing the top of the door with their fingers and pressing their knees against it, they are able to pull it down in a matter of moments.
A strategic way to prevent thieves from doing this is to park your van close to a wall or to other vehicles. Not only will they struggle to perform the “peel and steal” technique, but the lack of space will also stop the doors from fully opening.
Park in well-lit spots
When leaving your van unattended, it is always wise to park in a frequented zone that is nicely illuminated. Under the spotlight, felons are less likely to carry out their misdeeds as their bad intentions would be easier to spot. To deter would-be thieves even further, make sure to park your vehicle in a CCTV-monitored area.
Apply stickers on your vehicle
Simply placing stickers on your vehicle can be surprisingly effective. By advertising the fact you are using a security system for your van, thieves may decide that attempting to break into it is ultimately not worth the risk.
“Melius abundare quam deficere,” the ancient Romans would say. The aphorism means “better too much than not enough”, and it is quite fitting when reasoning about your van’s security. An extra pair of locks (slam locks, deadlocks, etc.), trackers, and additional alarm systems can go a long way in keeping your vehicle and tools protected.
Many manufacturers have even set up phone apps that notify you when your Ford or Vauxhall van has been opened. Ultimately, it is better to be safe than sorry!
Keep tools and inventory out of sight
This may sound pretty obvious, but it is worth remembering that leaving valuable equipment on show is an implicit invitation to opportunist delinquents. If you decide not to remove your tools from your van, make sure to keep them out of sight.
Also, in the unfortunate event of a break-in, it may be wise to write up an inventory that lists the value, make, and model of your instruments. Just ensure, though, to lock the spreadsheet somewhere safe.
This short list will allow you to gain a solid head start over ill-intentioned criminals. By leasing vans fitted with modern and handy technology, worries about overnight thefts will no longer keep you tossing and turning in bed.