Last year saw a 30% increase in tool thefts in the UK. Opportunistic thieves are breaking into vans and stealing tens of thousands worth of tools and cargo every year. In addition, vans that are broken into are often damaged, preventing you from using it for anything useful.
Van break-ins occur all over the UK. But according to the latest data, London, Sheffield and Birmingham are the most dangerous cities to leave your van. Essex and Kent also see high numbers of reports of tool theft, of which over 80% are as a result of van break-ins.
How to Break into a Ford Transit
Ford Transits are the most popular commercial van available in the UK. While there is a range of competition on the market from the likes of Renault, Nissan and Mercedes, it the Transit that dominates in both sole trader and van fleet sales.
However, the Ford Transit is surprisingly vulnerable to break-ins. From the rudimentary “peel and steal” technique, to the latest in car theft technology, Ford is fighting a constant battle to keep you one step ahead of thieves.
While many people consider these thefts to be crimes of opportunity, most van break-ins are by organised gangs. Most of the time they involve 2 or 3 people who scout out the area ahead of time. When they make their move, they have a car ready to go to facilitate a quick getaway.
Peel & Steal
Campaigners claim that the “peel & steal” technique is partly responsible for the rise in van break-ins.
Gangs use their knees to apply pressure to van side doors, before pulling them open from the top like tins of sardines.
Another popular way to steal tools requires a tool of your own — in this case, a wrench. Unlike the Peel & Steal, this is a much more subtle way to break into a van.
Skeleton keys and similar locksmiths tools are available online and allow thieves to be much more sophisticated in their crimes. These legal skeleton keys are legitimate tools, but are considered by some to be too readily available to the public. This is making it easier than ever for thieves to break into vans.
How to Keep Tools Safe in a Van
1. Park Smart
Isolated vans are much better targets to opportunistic thieves, so park near other cars. Ideally you want to be parking your van in a in well-lit area nearby to, or within view of, CCTV. In addition, park against a wall or fence so that you don’t expose your side or rear doors. Give thieves as few options as possible.
2. Store Tools Securely
Don’t leave your tools or other items on display in your van. This will only invite thieves. Wherever possible, avoid keeping tools in your van overnight. Don’t just slap a sticker on your bumper, actually do it! If you’re unable to remove your tools overnight, fit secure tool storage into your van and make sure everything is locked up before leaving.
3. Enhance Your Locks
Alarms, immobilisers and deadlocks are popular van security solutions that can give you extra security. You should also invest in trackers and steering wheel locks. After all, your van itself is a valuable asset that could be stolen, especially if you’ve modified your van.
4. Secure Your Catalytic Converter
The theft of van catalytic converters is on the rise too because of the precious metal they are made from. Vans have high ground clearance, meaning cats are easier to access. Fortunately, anti-theft devices are on the market and a garage can easily fit one.
5. Lock Your Van
It sounds stupid, but opportunities are created when people let things slip. And it’s easy to forget! Imagine it’s raining and you have two bags of tools to carry. You’re in a rush, or distracted. It’s all too easy to forget to lock your van when you’re going in and out of it all day.
6. Keep Records
Keep a log of your receipts and maintain an up to date inventory of your tools. This will allow you to keep on top of your tools and highlight anything that might go “missing”. It will also be helpful to your insurance company in the event of a theft.
Most Secure Vans of 2018
Manufacturers are doing their part in helping their customers keep their tools safe and their vehicles secure. Fitted with advanced security features and locking systems, these vans are ideal for your commercial enterprise or van fleet.
Ford Transit Custom
Price From £21,000
Max Payload 1,450kg
Length 5.3 metres
The new Ford Transit comes in over 450 varieties when you take into account engines sizes, heights and storage options. But all of them feature advanced key fobs, anti-tamper door locks and two alarm options. The Ford Transit Custom is the latest and most advanced Transit to date.
The key fob transmitter has two channels, making it virtually impossible for thieves to scan or copy. Tamper-proof locks help prevent thieves from taking a wrench to your van doors, while a sophisticated alarm system automatically arms itself when you lock up. It sounds a powerful alarm if triggered by forced entry, the vehicle being lifted, or if the motion sensors pick up any movement inside.
Price From £24,350
Max Payload 1,500kg
Length 6.9 metres
The new Sprinter boasts some of the most advanced connectivity options available to any van on the market. This makes it an ideal fleet van, allowing for management of fuel economy, GPS location and safety.
In addition, the new Sprinter includes automatic double locks as standard and sophisticated alarm systems as an extra.
Price From £12,705
Max Payload 660kg
Length 3.8 metres
The Fiat Fiorino is one of the best small van options on the market today. Small, economic, yet capable of carrying m0re than the competition, the Fiorino is ideal for smaller traders. In addition to standard features, the SX version features central locking and deadlocks for enhanced security.
Van break-ins can be devastating to anyone, especially drivers and traders looking to get their lives back on track after a conviction or driving ban. The loss of tools can cost you business and your livelihood. Keep your van safe by investing in security features, parking in the right places and doing as much as you can to deter thieves.