Tips to keep your van safe

Covered mag, presented by
  • | by Kristian Dando

Vans are essential for many small businesses, but they're also appealing to thieves.

In fact, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (AVCIS), the most frequently stolen vehicle in the UK is the humble Ford Transit. Fortunately there are measures you can take to make your van more secure. Here are a few top tips that could save you money on your van insurance to boot:

Increase security

Consider both internal and external locks in addition to standard central locking. External locks such as wheel nut locks and fuel cap locks will ensure your costly wheels and fuel stay in one piece whilst door locks are ideal if your job requires getting in and out of your van a lot.

Door locks to consider include deadbolts (tamper proof door security devices operated by the central locking system or manual key, depending on the type) or slam locks (automatic locking upon closure) or Armaplate locks.

Interior locks can also be fitted as required, consider ignition locks (these come as standard on most modern vehicles) and steering wheel, gear stick and handbrake locks to prevent movement when not in use. These locks are not impossible for thieves to break, but they would increase the time taken to achieve a successful break-in and act as a deterrent.

Aside from locks, internal security measures can be used to protect your contents. Consider bulkheads placed between the driver and the load of the vehicle to prevent thieves climbing over the seats and accessing your cargo. Combined with window grilles (steel lattices that fit to back windows, preventing thieves entering from the rear), a thief has little chance of getting at your contents! But if you want to make doubly sure that your valuable cargo or tools are stowed safely whilst leaving your vehicle unattended, vaults and safes are ideal storage units which can be removed easily.

Should your locks not deter determined thieves, then your alarm and immobiliser will come into use. Most modern vehicles come with an alarm and immobiliser as standard. Immobilisers are electric devices which place a barrier to the ignition when a foreign key is inserted.

Park wisely

Before leaving your vehicle, it’s wise to choose a well-lit and secure parking area and removing tools and equipment whenever possible can only be to your advantage.

Advertise your business

Advertising your logo and contact details on your van is likely to detract thieves from the vehicle, if not from its contents. Easily identifiable branding is something that everybody, including police patrol vehicles, take note of when driving past. A branded van is less likely to go missing, but should it be stolen, could be located quicker than an unbranded vehicle.

Other visual van adornment may help deter thieves. With stickers such as ‘Vehicle left empty overnight’ and ‘No power tools are kept in this vehicle overnight’ available, it’s worth giving a thief the warning that there’s nothing to steal.

So now you have done all you can to prevent theft, if a theft does occur, you’ll want to do all you can to ensure the thieves don’t have an easy job of it. To make your van recoverable, try these tactics:

Identify your vehicle

Aside from branding, you could also try invisible marking. Stamping your vehicle and valuable contents with a unique identifier which is only identifiable when placed under ultra-violet light could make it easier to find if stolen.

Or if you want a more visible identification method that may act as a deterrent, perhaps invest in some Vehicle Identification Number etching. This involves inserting your car’s identification number into the windows of your car. Once again, this may not stop thieves braking in for the contents of your van but it may be less appealing to them if they have plans for the motor itself.

Install a tracker

Installing a car tracking system is a good way to locate your vehicle. These devices use a Global Positioning System, which allow your vehicle to be located if stolen. This can be costly but if it’s worth your while, it’s a relatively reliable way to locate your van.