Van theft is on the rise, statistics from the DVLA show a 18% rise in the last year. For many tradespeople and delivery drivers, their van is their livelihood. Not only a mode of transport, a van can double up as an office and storage facility, the loss of a van or its contents is often devastating to its owner, but replacement of a vehicle also takes valuable time, and tools are not always fully covered by insurance and are expensive to replace.

According to the DVLA, 11,714 vans were stolen over the past year. This figure does not include the vans that were broken into, and the contents stolen. On average a van is targeted in the UK 624 times a day, that’s a scary number so what can you do to safeguard your van and its contents?

UKDPF have put together some tips on how to protect your van.

1. Lock it

This may seem like an obvious one but surprising many vehicles that are stolen or have contents taken are left unlocked. When you are busy unloading tools, supplies or goods from your vehicle it can be easy to be distracted. Remove valuables from the cab, even if a thief only got away with some sunglasses and a spare set of work gear in a holdall, that broken window will be expensive to replace.

2. Additional Locks

Extra locks can add another layer of protection to your vehicle.

  • Slam locks – These locks work by locking as soon as you shut the door. It is important to not leave your keys in the vehicle when using these locks.
  • Deadlock – These are fitted into the van’s bodywork, a bolt in the door and a bracket in the van’s outer wall. Deadlocks also provide a visual deterrent to a criminal.
  • Steering Wheel Lock – This may not prevent the van from being broken into or stolen but it is a visual deterrent to an opportunist thief.

3. Van Shielding

Vans that are prone to having the locks or doors drilled can be fitted with steel plates to protect vulnerable areas.

  • Internal Van Shields – These can be fitted inside a van to protect areas that are likely to be broken into, they prevent drilling and cutting into a van and protect the contents.
  • External van Shields – They work in the same way as the internal shields but act as an added visual deterrent to a would-be criminal.

4. Cat & Wheel Protectors

Catalytic converters are targeted by thieves as their metal content is valuable. Vans have a greater ground clearance than cars so are easily targeted, get a catalytic converter guard to safeguard yours. Spare wheels are often stolen for resale, inexpensive wheel locking nuts will protect your van wheels.

5. Remove Valuable Tools

If possible, remove valuable tools from inside the van when left overnight. If this is not an option for you consider installing strong lockboxes to store your tools, these can take time to break into and may stop thieves in their tracks. A sign saying ‘Tools Removed Overnight’ is not always reliable.

6. Blackout Window Film

If your van has windows at the rear add some blackout film, this stops the contents being viewed and can make the window harder to break.

7. Get a Tracker

A tracker will enable you to locate your vehicle if it is stolen, never attempt to take the van back yourself, you could be putting yourself in danger. Get in contact with the police with the information on its location and let them handle it.

8. Cameras

The use of a dashcam (set to park mode) or an internal camera can be beneficial for obtaining photographic evidence if your vehicle is stolen.

9. Sign Writing

A sign-written vehicle that displays your trade can work for or against you. If your vehicle is stolen, it may be easier to locate, however, it also advertises the possible contents and may attract the attention of a criminal.

10. Park with Care

If possible, think about where you park your van, and try to park it near a light overnight. Avoid secluded areas where a thief can work unnoticed, parking on a busier road will make your van less of an attractive target. If you park in front of your house consider installing a motion sensor light and a CCTV camera, positioned correctly these can protect your home and your van.

UKDPF are the UK’s No. 1 Diesel Particulate Filter and engine Carbon cleaning specialist, we offer a competitively priced, fast and effective mobile service, call us on 0330 133 2366 today for a free no-obligation quote.