Thanks to the hard work of Heating Installer Awards 2017 winner, Peter Booth – along with other industry bodies and professionals – the devastating impact of van and tool theft has been highlighted by tradespeople, politicians and even national celebrities over the past few years. But despite campaigning, no one can completely remove the chances of falling victim to van thieves. There are however some things we can all do to reduce the chance. As part of this year’s #NoVANber, we’ve looked at different ways you can help reduce van theft, with help from some of the Heating Installer Awards previous winners!
Whilst for some it’s enough to just “not leave you van unlocked” (cheers for that one Matthew Stoves, HIA2020 North East regional winner,) as well as not leaving valuables/tools on show or in your van overnight, here are some tips for when that just isn’t enough.
Think about where you park
The simplest but also an effective and often overlooked deterrent is where you park your van. We know that in some situations you don’t have much of a choice over where you’re able to park, especially if space is limited when you’re on a job. But, if you do have the option, try to park in view of security cameras or in busy areas and popular streets, as this can put off many van thieves. Other tips on how clever parking can deter van theft from our previous winners include:
“Always try and park in a well-lit area. Increasing the risk of being caught, it may put off thieves from targeting your van.” – Phil Metcalf, HIA 2020 winner.
Add extra security
According to a recent What Car? Vans survey, only 58% of vans are fitted with an alarm as standard. An alarm can stop a van thief in their tracks, so make sure you check that your van has one and if not, it may be worth investing in one.
Increasing the number of locking mechanisms on your van, and using higher-security ones, can also prevent thieves from entering. Investing in high quality locks can also help reduce your insurance premiums too!
This one might sound a bit old school but steering wheel locks are a great (and cheap) way of deterring thieves, as something as simple as these make it more difficult for them to steal your van. They may also make van thieves think you have other security measures in place, meaning it’s not worth their time!
On the topic of security, here’s some further tips from Todd:
“Installing hooked dead locks for both the top and bottom of your doors will make a huge difference.” – Todd Glister
“Having extra metal over the wires which control the central locking can stop thieves, as well as moving the OBD (on board diagnostics) port into a safety deposit box inside your van.” – Todd Glister
Become more tech savvy
Nowadays, there’s loads of technology out there that can make it harder for thieves to steal your van and its contents, such as, apps, trackers and personal visual surveillance. Investing in tech to safeguard your gear doesn’t have to be expensive either:
“Park your van in view of a doorbell camera like Ring. This is a great alternative to installing CCTV which is often expensive, as the doorbell is motion sensitive and will notify you if anyone is lingering around your van when it’s parked up.”- Daljit Singh Rasouda, HIA2020 Midlands regional winner.
There are also products with apps that you can download, which will make you aware of van thefts in your local area in real time:
In the unfortunate event that your van is stolen, trackers can help, as Stuart explains:
“Installing trackers can be helpful in the event that thieves drive off with your van as it can help law enforcement to identify its location and retrieve it.” – Stuart Sugden, HIA2020 Scotland & NI regional winner
Don’t forget your keys!
It’s a trick as old as time but believe it or not, some thieves still use the old coat hanger through the letter box trick! Never leave your keys or other valuables in reach of your front door. If possible, keeping them in a locked box away from any openings to your home to ensure opportunists can’t get their mitts on them.
Personalise your tools and van
Printing your business name on your van as well as on your tools can also deter thieves as this will significantly reduce the resale price of expensive power tools. Also, who doesn’t love a personalised power tool?!
We hope these tips were useful! Do you have a tip to prevent van theft that you think people should know about? Comment below!