A Tradesman's Guide to Keeping Your Van Secure


With your van housing important tools and equipment, keeping it secure is a high priority.

In 2016, tool theft cost UK tradespeople just under £100 million.

You lose more than just your tools if someone breaks into your van. You lose money, not just on replacement tools but potentially on days of lost work. You also lose confidence. Nobody should be on edge whilst working.

Here are a few ways to keep your van secure:

1. Reverse against a wall

If your van isn't being used, and you don't need access in the immediate future, then always try and park against a wall. This stops people from opening the back doors of your van, and easily getting to what's inside.

2. Use security stickers

Security stickers will make thieves think twice before they break into your van. Use a CCTV sticker to suggest that a thief is being watched from the house overnight, or perhaps from a camera inside the van.

Register your belongings on Immobilise. This is the National Property Register used by police and buyers of second-hand goods and means that stolen items will be almost impossible to sell on. After you've registered your items, make this clear using another sticker on your van.

3. Think carefully about van signage

Your van's signage can tell a passer-by a lot about what might be inside it. You need to advertise your business but should always consider the message that your van is sending out.

If you regularly carry expensive equipment, decide if this is something you want to publish.

Also, consider the benefits of van signage - they'll make your vehicle much easier to track if somebody steals the whole thing. You'll need to weigh up the positives and negatives.

4. Park in well-lit places

Opportunistic criminals are less likely to take the risk if they've got a higher chance of being seen. Park in well-lit places if your vehicle is out and about.

Overnight, try and park your van within the range of a motion-activated security light. These can provide a quick scare, deterring any criminals that try to get a little too close.

5. Install GPS tracking

If your van is stolen, a GPS tracker can help you to trace it quickly. These don't necessarily cost a lot, and you can be subtle about the installation. Alternatively, scare off any would-be thieves by clearly stating that a vehicle is tracked.

6. Always lock your van

If you're working next to your van, and need regular access to tools, then it can be tempting to leave the door unlocked. But someone could easily sneak up on the other side of your vehicle and grab a few things whilst you're not looking.

You might think that you're being vigilant, but the task at hand will distract you. If you're focusing on something else, the unthinkable could happen in seconds.

In 2006, 13% of vehicle thefts involved access through unlocked doors. By 2016, this had increased to 43%. Years ago people would break windows, but now they're more cautious and careful.

Remember that most thieves haven't planned in advance. They're opportunists, looking for quick and easy chances to steal. A few simple deterrents, and a bit of sensible parking, could really reduce your risk of becoming a van theft victim.

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