If you are using a van for your business, it’s likely that van security is a premium concern for you. In fact, a recent study by Simply Business suggests that 98 percent of all tradesmen are worried that their tools might be stolen from their vehicle while it’s left unattended. And there is good reason to worry because as you well know, stolen tools can mean days or perhaps even weeks of being unable to work – not to mention the cost of trying to replace them. However, it seems that despite their concerns, many tradesmen still leave their vehicles unlocked and a large majority leave expensive equipment in their vehicles overnight.
In another survey conducted in February 2017, Simply Business spoke to 160 tradesmen in the construction industry. And apparently, a staggering 70 percent of them made a regular habit of leaving tools in their vans during the night. Moreover, another nine percent admitted that they occasionally do the same thing.
Conversely, only 21 percent of respondents claimed to never leave tools in their vehicle overnight – a surprisingly low statistic given how widespread concern about van theft has proven to be. In fact, theft claims have been on the increase in recent years, as thieves have developed new techniques that allow them faster access to locked vehicles – such as the ‘peel and steal’ approach, which sees criminals peel back sliding doors using little more than their bare hands.
Van theft-Keeping you van and tools safe
Of course, the best thing to do is to remove all of your tools whenever you are away from your vehicle – but this isn’t always a practical or achievable solution. So what else can you do to minimise the risk of theft?
1. Van alarm and immobiliser
Not all modern vans come with an engine immobiliser or alarm fitted. If your vehicle hasn’t -fitting one is a real must. It doesn’t need to break the bank- a basic system can cost as little as £30. Installing an alarm system will deter a potential thief and render the ‘peel and steal’ tactic nigh-on-impossible in a built up area.
2. Location Tracker
Another preventative measure to consider is a tracker. Fitting a tracker is not going to stop your vehicle from being stolen, but it will increase the chances of getting your van and tools back. This clever advice helps police to locate your vehicle in real time, increasing your chances of recovering your tools and vehicles. A tracker will also help reduce your insurance premium.
3. Remember to keep your vehicle locked – even during the day
Believe it or not, according to police figures, the majority of thefts actually occur during the working day. So it’s not just a question of securing your van at night, but remembering to keep your van locked and windows closed while you’re working away from it. If you are one of those people who regularly forget to lock your van, why not get a slam lock fitted. This type of lock means that the van is automatically locked when you slam the door shut-saving you an unnecessary headache.
4. Mark your tools
Sometimes, despite all the right precautions and preventative measures, you may still fall victim to a determined thief. To increase your chances of recovering your tools, make sure that all your tools are marked. This can be done with paint, permanent pen, ultra-violet marker or engraving them with a code- doing this ensures that the tools are easily identifiable and it also makes it harder for a thief to sell the tools on without causing suspicion. You could also register your tools for free on the immobilise register. Lastly, having an up to date inventory of your tools will be helpful in the event of an insurance claim.
5. Additional Security Measures
You don’t necessarily have to spend an arm and a leg to protect your van – something as cheap as the Thatcham approved lock will help to keep your tools more secure. An added bonus of fitting this type of lock is that it will lower your insurance premium too. Another relatively cheap way to protect your equipment could be padlocking your tools to the inside of your van. It might seem a little excessive, but it would definitely make them more difficult to pinch! However, if you are looking to invest a little more in additional security measures, lockable internal van racking is a great way of deterring potential thieves.
6. Secure your van’s catalytic converter
Reports of Van catalytic converters being stolen are becoming increasingly more common place. Your catalytic converter is located in the exhaust of your vehicle and, as most vans have high ground clearance, it is relatively easy for thieves to access. These converters are made from platinum, rhodium and palladium which makes them lucrative items to criminals stealing them and selling them on for scrap. Fortunately an anti-theft clamping device has been created which makes stealing them particularly difficult. Not the cheapest piece of equipment with prices starting at around £150, but one which could potentially help avoid a lot of stress and heartache.
7. Park Smart
Finally, parking in a busy, well-lit area will reduce the risk of someone breaking into your vehicle. Whenever possible, park against a wall or fence to make it even harder for thieves to gain access to your side or rear doors and within view of CCTV.
Often, newer vehicles provide greater security for their owners – but buying one outright is often not an option for many tradesmen. Instead, why not check out Rapid Vans and their fantastic selection of affordable van leasing options available with the latest modern security technology. From as little as £113 per month +VAT for the Fiat Fiorino or £204 per month + VAT for the Ford Transit Custom, you can get all the benefits of a brand new vehicle without breaking the bank.