If you’re working as a tradesperson or courier and take pride in your van and the tools within, the last thing you want to deal with is the stress of someone breaking into your vehicle, especially when your van is a lifeline for everyday work.
Van theft isn’t uncommon. In fact, recent research reveals that there were over 40,000 cases of tool theft in 2022. And with the cost of living affecting an increasing number of households, rates of theft may begin to rise too.
When it comes to van security systems, make sure your van has a Thatcham Category 2 security alarm and immobiliser. Most vans will be factory fitted with an alarm and immobiliser, but older vans may require one to be installed manually.
A spokesperson from Toolbox says: “The aftermath of a smash-and-grab theft can cost precious time, money, and energy for both you and your business, as well as the people close to you.
“Following these eight tips could help you protect your van and possessions from theft, so you can focus on the important parts of your work. Your insurance can cover you if the worst happens, but protecting yourself from opportunistic thieves is always good practice.”
The eight top tips to help keep your van and tools safe:
Empty your van
Even though Toolbox provides cover for your tools when they’re left in your van overnight, it’s still important to bring all your heavy-duty tools inside every evening so that they’re not at risk of theft. Even though it may be a pain, an empty van is a big deterrent for thieves.
Many of us are fairly forgetful and if asked to recall every item kept in our vans, we’re simply not going to remember. Therefore, it’s really useful to make sure that you’ve got a list of all the tools and equipment kept in your van, and even have photos of each item too. Doing this allows you to keep on top of stock and to spot theft quickly. It’ll also help if you have to make insurance claims, should the worst happen.
Mark all of your tools and any high-value goods with your name or your business’ name in UV ink. If you’ve done this, you’re more likely to recover your tools if they get found by the police or if someone purchases them from the thief. Also, when buying secondhand tools, many tradespeople will look for UV markings that don’t match the person selling, to see if they’re stolen goods.
Speak to staff
Spend an afternoon with your team discussing the do’s and don’ts when it comes to van and tool safety and security in order to protect your business. Alongside this, ensure that when onboarding a new member of staff, they are made aware of this advice.
If you’re not parking in a secure location, it’s important to make sure that you’re prioritising well-lit areas, especially those that have CCTV. Areas that are well-lit and have active security measures tend to deter thieves.
It’s crucial that you invest in security locks for your van. The first option is slamlocks, which lock as soon as the van door is shut, making them a great option for couriers who are delivering from door-to-door. Next are van deadlocks, which are very difficult to get past as thieves would need to go through the internal lock to get to it. Finally, vibration sensor alarms will set off with a small vibration on the van, which is ideal for ‘peeling’ break-ins, where thieves break into your van by peeling open the doors of the van.
Don’t forget your cat
No, we’re not talking about your four-legged friend, we’re talking about your catalytic converter. Many vans are targeted for this rather than the tools, parcels and other goods stored within the van, as a van’s added ground clearance makes the catalytic converter muh easier to get to. Consider purchasing an anti-theft device designed for catalytic converters.
Insure your van and tools
It’s easy for insurance to fall to the bottom of tradespeople’s ‘to-do’ lists, however, looking out for your future self and your business is worth it. When buying van insurance and tool insurance, make sure to check whether it covers your van and contents when parked away from home, or when contents are left in the van overnight.