Did you know that an average of 22 vans have been stolen every day since 2015?
In fact, according to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, van theft has risen by 45% in the past four years, with 9,371 vans being stolen in 2018-19 compared to 6,572 in 2015-16.
Vans in London appear to be at the highest risk of theft, with Metropolitan Police figures showing 4,777 thefts taking place between 2018 and 2019. This accounts for around 50% of all reported van thefts during that period and represents a 15% increase from the previous year.
Vans are essential to many businesses in the UK; losing one means days or even weeks of delays in service, which can negatively impact the way your business is viewed by customers. It also leads to a huge loss of productive time for staff who have lost their means of transport. Finally, there’s the cost of replacing the vehicles to consider, as well as any tools that were left inside the van when it was stolen.
With theft rates at an all-time high, how can you ensure your fleet vans are fully protected?
We’ve put together some top tips to help you prevent your vehicles from being stolen.
Basic steps to protect your fleet from theft
It may seem like we’re stating the obvious, but here are some basic ways to prevent your fleet from vehicle theft:
- Ensure that unattended vehicles are locked at all times
- Make sure valuables remain hidden
- Ensure keys are kept out of sight and reach - even keyless fobs can be at risk of theft
There are also some additional security changes you can make to the vehicles themselves to make them more difficult to steal. These include:
- Deadlocks - these prevent car doors from being opened from the inside and offer an extra layer of protection to a standard lock.
- Slamlocks - these work alongside your existing locking mechanism and enable the door to automatically lock when it closes; it can only be unlocked with a key.
- Steering wheel locks - a steering wheel lock restricts movement of the wheel, so even if a thief does break into your van, they won’t be able to drive away without removing the lock first.
- Immobilisers - these are electronic devices that prevent vehicles from being started without the correct digital key. They work by disabling the ignition, fuel system and starter motor of your van, so that it can’t be driven away.
Covert vehicle tracking
Encouraging your drivers to take these measures and installing the correct security add-ons are great ways to prevent vehicle theft. However, they can’t be counted on to work 100% of the time, not least because human error can and does happen.
With this in mind, fleet managers should also take steps to improve their chances of recovering a stolen van after the fact. To this end, the most cost-effective thing you can do is install covert technology that thieves are unable to detect.
When combined with connected telematics, intelligent software and dashcam devices, data from covert tracking can send you alerts in the instance of erratic driver behaviour, high risk locations and predetermined areas you do not want your vehicles to go to. This will help you to recover your vehicle quickly in the event of a theft, which means you won’t have to pay for replacements or make expensive motor insurance claims.
Protect your fleet vehicles with telematics
Get our guide to the top five considerations when choosing a telematics supplier.