PHPI gets some tips from the RAC about keeping your van secure.
When tradespeople are victims of theft, they are not just robbed of their toolkit, they are robbed of their livelihood as well. Since 2008 UK tradespeople have lost over £75 million due to tool thefts from their vehicles, with the average value of tools stolen from a tradesman’s van over £1,900. As a result, many van drivers now take sensible measures such as not leaving their tools in their vehicle overnight and taking out van insurance. As there are now tools available on the web designed to open van doors in under 30 seconds, it is vital to take the necessary steps to protect your vehicle against theft.
Prevention – these tips will help deter thieves from breaking into your van:
- Never leave valuables in the vehicle and always lock the doors and close all the windows when away from the van.
- Never leave valuables in the van overnight.
- Where possible, try to park in well-lit busy areas.
- Use security devices such as steering locks and rear window grilles.
- Always place a warning sticker on your van when using security devices such as a tracker or an alarm.
- Install a removable stereo and use a lockable fuel filler cap.
Security – These tips will help prevent your tools being stolen if a break-in is attempted.
• Immobiliser – If your van does not have one as standard, then you should install an immobiliser. In the event of a break-in, this device cuts off the electrical supply to the engine and will prevent the vehicle from starting.
• Alarm – Ensure your van comes with an alarm as standard and that it is operational. Whether you use your standard alarm or upgrade to an aftermarket unit, never place a sticker on your van stating the type you have, as they may help thieves to disable it.
• Van Deadlocks – These locks work independently from standard locks and add an extra locking point to the rear door. They can be fitted to most vans and each deadlock is door-specific, using different size lock cases and locking brackets.
• Van Slam locks – These locks automatically lock a door when you close it. Popular with multi-drop couriers and fleet companies, they reduce the window thieves have to break into your van.
• Van Armaplate – These locks are an alternative to slam and deadlocks. Effectively they encase vulnerable locks in a thick, stainless-steel cover on the outside and then a second steel plate on the inside of the door is connected. They can also help lower the cost of body shop repairs after a break-in.
• Van Security Boxes – These boxes are designed exclusively to be used inside a van for keeping tools and work equipment safe. Effectively a steel safe in your van, some boxes can be bolted to your vehicle and some models are semi-portable.
Recovery– These tips will help you get your van and tools back if they are stolen.
- GPS-based unit – A Global Positioning System can help locate your van if it has been stolen. Even though a GPS unit may help trace your vehicle there’s no guarantee your tools will also be found in the van.
Van insurance – If you are unable to recover your stolen equipment, one of the most effective ways to replace your trade gear is having a van insurance policy that covers stolen stock or tools. Not all policies include stolen tools so check carefully before taking out a policy.