For many people vans are not just a means of transport but vehicles that are essential to their business and livelihood. However, with vans often carrying expensive tools and parts, it also makes them very appealing targets for thieves.
So much so that, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (AVCIS), the vehicle that is stolen most frequently in the UK is the lowly Ford Transit.
Whilst van drivers need to be aware of the dangers, there are a number of measures van owners can take to make their vehicles more secure.
Listed below are a few top tips to protect your valuables and potentially help you save money on you van insurance premiums.
Sound the alarm
Alarms and immobilisers should come as standard with the majority of modern vehicles nowadays and are a great deterrent to thieves, with an immobiliser putting a barrier to the ignition when a foreign key is inserted. If you have an older vehicle that doesn’t have an alarm or immobiliser it’s worthwhile to have them installed.
Keep your items locked up
The locks on your vehicle are all that stands in the way of a thief making away with a van’s contents.
In addition to a standard central locking system, drivers should consider both internal and external locks. External locks, including wheel nut locks and fuel cap locks will ensure both your wheels and fuel remain safe when leaving your vehicle. Door locks should be considered too as they are ideal if your job requires you to enter and exit your vehicle on a regular basis.
If you’re looking to purchase door locks we would recommend deadbolts, slam locks or Armaplate locks. If you’re considering interior locks then ignition locks, steering wheel, gear stick and handbrake locks will prevent movement of the vehicle when not in use.
These locks aren’t impossible for a determined thief to break but they will act as a deterrent, increasing the time taken to steal a vehicle and hence the chances of being caught.
Locks are not the only security tool available to van drivers as a means of protecting their vehicle though. Bulkheads are an additional obstacle you can place between a thief and the contents of your van. Meaning a thief will no longer be able to clamber over the seats to access your cargo, combined with window grilles that block off access from the rear, should mean your contents are completely inaccessible to any would-be thief.
If you’re carrying particularly valuable items you could also consider incorporating vaults and safes as storage units inside your vehicle as well.
Don’t be left in the dark
A thief will always be more attracted to a vehicle parked in a secluded dark spot, as there is far less chance of being disturbed whilst trying to gain access. Ensure you always park your van in a well-lit, secure parking area. If the area is monitored by CCTV then the chances of avoiding being targeted only rise. If the opportunity allows leave as few tools and equipment in the vehicle as possible when it is left unattended.
Make yourself seen and heard
An easily identifiable van will always be less attractive to a thief. Provided you have your logo and contact details clearly visible on the van, a thief will be less likely to steal it as good branding is something everyone, including law enforcement services, will always pay attention to whilst driving. Not only that but if the worse came to the worst and it was stolen, a branded vehicle will be much easier to locate than one of a plain, generic style.
Along with branding, strategically placed stickers on a vehicle, such as ‘Vehicle left empty overnight’, will also work as an extra deterrent.
What if your van does get stolen?
Installing all these security measures is all well and good for preventing a theft but what if your van does get stolen? The most important thing for the majority of victims of vehicle theft is to recover that vehicle as soon as possible. In order to do so you want to make your van easier to identify and recover.
Invisible marking is a great way of doing this. Stamping your vehicle and or the equipment inside with a unique identifier, which only becomes visible under ultra-violet light, will make it far easier for police to recover your possessions.
There has been an upsurge in the use of tracking technology over the past decade. Nowadays many electronic devices, such as smartphones will include a form of tracking as a means of recovering a lost or stolen phone.
Similar technology has also used in the motor trade too. Employing the use of a global positioning system will allow your vehicle to be located if stolen. Whilst expensive, as a reliable method of locating your van it can be a very worthwhile investment.
We hope you found this guide useful.
If you have any additional security tips for fellow van owners, be sure to let us know.