Five basic steps to help prevent van theft

Credit: AdobeStock/Kirill Gorlov
Credit: AdobeStock/Kirill Gorlov

Leasing company Van Ninja informs RCI readers on five security tips they should consider to prevent van theft.

Whether you’re self employed or work for a company, a van may be the lifeblood of your business. In fact, there are 4.1 million licensed vans on Britain’s roads today with 42% of those owned by individuals.

Often vans will be stacked with valuables like tools or raw materials so a break-in can have serious consequences for your operations – not to mention your insurance premiums.

Nobody wants a disruption to their business, so taking steps to safety proof your van is paramount.

1.    Park responsibly

Before we get on to enhanced van security measures, the simple idea of parking your van in a carefully chosen area can deter opportunistic thieves. Always choose a well-lit area and ideally one in close proximity to other cars and pedestrians. A CCTV secure car park is best, while, when at home, parking in front of home security devices can be a sound choice. These devices include alarms linked between house and vehicle and security cameras.

How you park your car can also decrease your van’s vulnerability. Reversing onto your driveway can protect your van’s rear doors while parking closer to walls or other obstructions can decrease the likelihood of thieves gaining unwarranted access. When leaving your vehicle, double-check your van is locked by pulling the handle instead of absent-mindedly listening for beeps or clicks.

2.    Consider your van’s design

Whilst your company branding can be an effective marketing tool, over-explicit van designs can reveal the contents of your vehicle and make it more of a target for thieves. This can even leave your van the subject of ‘casing’ – where thieves pre-meditatively scout out your van – as opposed to a spontaneous crime. Eschew detailed designs in favour of more discreet or blank branding to keep your contents safe.

3.    Improve your van lock

Van owners should look to empty their vans of expensive materials wherever possible to decrease the chance of theft. However, whilst keeping supplies or tools in your van for lengthy durations is ill-advised, this is not always practical.

When you are forced into leaving your van contents unattended for long periods of time, an upgraded lock is a must especially with easily available lock-picking tools able to break into most manufactured-fitted locks.

Installing a slam lock is a helpful tool as it lends an extra layer of security, while also providing a visible, physical deterrent. Slam locks are a sage choice for delivery drivers or users with frequent drops or stop-offs as the lock is engaged as soon as the door is closed.

Deadlocks are another option and are considerably stronger than standard fitted locks as they don’t pose any spring mechanism weaknesses. This makes them a reliable choice for users leaving their van’s parked overnight or in potentially insecure areas. Steel-clad or heavy-duty options work best here.

4.    Physical theft prevention  

While protecting your van’s contents is top priority, it is also wise to secure the whole van. Old school physical deterrents such as steering-wheel, pedal and gear-lever locks are good choices here and can really discourage criminals from breaking in.

Getting into the habit of putting these in place at the end of a day’s work, or when leaving your van unattended, can be a worthwhile routine while wheel clamps can also be used in extreme circumstances.

5.    Sound the alarm

Another line of defence is to fit your van with an alarm which triggers upon possible break-in. It is commonly thought that all vans come factory-fitted with such devices, but this may not be true of older or cheaper models. A high-quality aftermarket alarm solution is a good buy and more hi-tec models can even be linked up to your home or mobile device. While alarms only alert you to break in, immobilisers can shut down the van and prevent it from starting completely.

>>Read more about van safety here.

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