Whether you use your van for business or pleasure or both, you’ll want to keep it secure and protect it against theft. This includes theft of items inside the van and the van itself. If you rely on your van to earn a living, then any form of theft will set you back financially and hinder your ability to carry out your work.
On average, vehicle theft occurs every 5 minutes in Britain, and a van is broken into every 23 minutes. That’s a lot of theft going on and it’s on the rise. With protecting your van and its contents in mind, let’s look at some practical things you can do to ensure its security.
Think about where you park
Your van is most vulnerable when you park it somewhere and it’s left unattended. It’s important to think about where you’re parking it, either short-term or overnight.
If possible, back up against a wall so it’s impossible to gain entrance to the van through the rear doors. If practical, always park your van in a well-lit location. Too much light will almost always deter thieves who enjoy operating under the cover of darkness.
Another idea is to park where CCTV cameras are present or install a CCTV camera at your home or business.
Physical deterrents still work
Any type of clamping lock such as a steering wheel lock, gear lever lock or pedal lock is effective. They’ll be obvious to criminals the moment they scope out your van. These locks won’t necessarily protect the contents of your van, but they’ll make it much harder for thieves to steal the van itself. You might even consider a wheel clamp.
Another physical deterrent is van signage, especially if it contains your phone number. Big lettering spray painted on your van acts as a deterrent to thieves as they don’t like to be conspicuous. They also won’t want to respray the vehicle to remove the signage.
Add alarms and immobilisers
If your van isn’t already fitted with these safeguards, now is the time to consider having an alarm and engine immobiliser installed. Just the presence of an alarm is usually deterrent enough, and if they try to gain entry and the alarm is triggered, they’re sure to flee.
If somehow they manage to break in without triggering the alarm, such as by gaining entry through door peeling, an immobiliser will guarantee they can’t make off with your precious van.
Remove everything from your van when left overnight
Don’t tempt thieves by leaving tools, equipment or any form of valuables in your van when it’s parked overnight. Empty the van and put everything inside your home or place of business. Not every burglar is looking to steal an actual vehicle. Many are simply opportunists looking for a quick score. If they spot power tools in your van that they know they could sell, in their eyes it’s quick and easy money.
Install GPS tracking
Hopefully, all the other security measures you take are enough to deter criminals and keep your van and its contents safe. However, if someone does successfully manage to make off with your van, you’ll be able to track its exact location with GPS tracking installed.
The GPS location of your vehicle can be tracked via a smartphone app and the police can also take advantage of this tracking to locate your van, apprehend the offender and return your van to you. You might even get a reduction on your insurance premium with GPS tracking monitoring your van at all times.
Identify your property
Any tools or business equipment you have can be marked with a permanent marker, engraving, paint or even an ultraviolet pen for easy identification if they get stolen.
Another option is to take photos of everything, including the van itself, inside and outside. Also, make a note of any model and serial numbers on tools and equipment and jot down the van’s VIN if not recorded in your paperwork.
Install extra locks for added protection
Standard locks on vehicles are not that hard for an experienced thief to crack. Even key fobs are prone to being hacked. For these reasons, you’ll want to consider adding more security to your van in the form of specialised locks.
The slamlock automatically locks the door the instant it’s closed and is often installed on sliding van doors. You’ll never have to worry about forgetting to lock your van when leaving it temporarily unattended.
Deadlocks are also a safe choice as they are tough and extremely hard to pick, even for an expert. With no spring system, deadlocks secure your van doors with a single bolt.
Catalytic converters on vans use particulate filters and these filters contain precious metals. To prevent thieves from stealing your catalytic converter, you can fit it with a special locking mechanism.
Keep your drivers informed
If you’re in charge of a fleet of vans, it’ll be your job and responsibility to keep all of your drivers informed about van safety and security. This includes educating drivers on the best places to park, keeping the vehicle locked at all times even when only temporarily unattended, using physical deterrents supplied such as steering wheel locks and not leaving anything of value visible inside the van.
Keep stock of van contents
It’s also a good idea to make an inventory of what’s usually inside the van regarding equipment, tools and other items, work-related or personal. Doing so will enable you to create a checklist that can be ticked off to ensure nothing has gone missing.
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