What Is The Best Security For My Van?
To you, your van is a combination of your pride and joy and the vehicle that allows you to work, especially if you’re a tradesperson or run any kind of business in which a large van is integral to your operation. But to a criminal, it’s an easy target to steal or damage, especially if you have vulnerabilities within your security.
Research by the RAC found that 30 vans are stolen every day across the UK. If you have ever had a work vehicle stolen, you will know only too well the ripple effect this can cause for your business since you may not be able to work until you find a replacement.
That’s why now is the time to get clued up where your van’s security is concerned, whether you own a van currently or are looking to purchase one. Here are our top tips for improving your van security to tell you more.
Look Out For Security Features When Choosing Your Van
When purchasing a new vehicle, it’s easy to get swept up in flashy features rather than consider the practicalities such as security for your work equipment. Instead, you should actively ask the salesperson, ‘what is the most secure van you sell?’.
According to a study by What Car, a shocking four in ten vehicles do not come with an alarm as standard. So while it might seem like an obvious point to note, security is, in fact, not at the forefront of every van design. Instead, you actively need to check that various features are in place.
Aside from an alarm, look out for an immobiliser, deadlocks and separate locks for both the cab and cargo areas. These will give you more options when it comes to protecting each aspect of your vehicle individually, rather than relying on a single system.
Also, consider whether your van really needs see-through glazed rear windows or not. On the one hand, transparency is excellent for visibility. But the downside is that anyone can take a peek at the contents of your vehicle, which, if you’re parked up, and the van is unattended, could be very enticing to thieves.
Adapt The Van To Suit Your Needs
No two van users will use their vehicle for the same purposes. However, there are ways you can customise your vehicle to suit your usage requirements while also enhancing your security.
This includes aspects such as lockable toolboxes, upgraded deadlocks, slam locks, steering locks and pedal box protectors. All of which will make your van both more challenging to break into and drive away should someone still be able to get in.
An added bonus of such measures is that insurers will look more favourably on you too. Though some of them will require a dedicated effort each time you use your van, so make sure you follow up on your locks, especially when parking up.
Invest In Smart Technology
If purchasing a new van, then immobilisers and alarms should come as standard, unlike with older models as we mentioned above. However, don’t take the presence of an immobiliser and alarm as golden – check that both systems are at least Thatcham Category 2 approved. Or even better, opt for Thatcham Category 1 systems which contain sensors that will alert you if broken glass or unusual movements are detected.
Another must in the digital age is GPS vehicle trackers, which discreetly attach to your vehicle. They are connected to your phone and can give you live detail about the whereabouts of your van. You can also set up alerts that will notify you if your van is driven outside a specific area, suggesting that it may have been stolen. GPS systems are expensive to fit but will give you much needed peace of mind, especially if you own a fleet of vehicles or operate in high crime areas.
Look Out For Security Upgrades
Take a good look around your van on both the inside and outside to check for any issues with your security. It can help to think like a thief in this scenario. If you were going to break in, what current problems with your vehicle’s security would make the job easier?
Consider adding heavy-duty steering wheel locks, hand brake locks, lockable fuel filler caps and locking wheel nuts. Also, plastic window tints can make a thief’s job more arduous since security glass will remain intact rather than shatter if it breaks. If someone cannot see what is within the vehicle, they are less likely to steal from it.
Also, it may seem like a primitive measure, but adding security warning stickers on your vehicle, including the classic ‘no tools left in the van overnight’ can help deter thieves. At the very least, it lets them know that the security of the vehicle has been considered, rather than it being an easy target.
Protect Your Catalytic Converter
Your catalytic converter is responsible for reducing emissions from your exhaust. Catalytic converters have an average selling price of between £800 and £1,000, making them incredibly attractive to thieves. The reason for their high price is that they contain precious metals, which are very valuable as scrap metal.
Vans are particularly vulnerable to catalytic converter theft due to their added ground clearance, making it easier for criminals to slice through the exhaust and remove it. The good news is that there are anti-theft devices that can be installed to protect your catalytic converter. If you consider the cost of replacing yours, a security device is well worth the investment.
Use Your Van Locks
It sounds so obvious it’s not worth mentioning, but given that almost half of the vehicle thefts happen due to the vehicle being unlocked, it’s time to pay attention to this common mistake far too many vehicle owners make.
Whether you’re popping into the petrol station forecourt or forget to lock up after a long day at work, there is no defence against an unlocked van. It will also invalidate your insurance should your van be stolen or broken into while unlocked, adding even a bigger headache into the mix.
If purchasing a new van, look out for smart features that will alert you if your vehicle is unlocked. Remember, opportunistic thieves will go around and try doors to see if they are unlocked, so this is one area of security you can’t afford to get complacent with.
Don’t Leave Valuables In Your Van
Thieves will decide if your van is worth breaking into based on what they can see, especially if valuables are left on display. It’s yet another common security mistake we’re all guilty of.
On this note, make sure that valuables are not left in your van overnight. We mentioned having a sticker to point this out above, but you can never be sure that criminals won’t test their luck, especially if they intend to steal your vehicle or, at the very least, its contents.
We know it’s a hassle after a long day, but make sure you empty your van of all your tools, stock and anything else that could make a quick buck for thieves. Ideally, store such items in a securely locked garage or property.
Be Mindful Where You Park
The nature of vans is that they stick out like a sore thumb, as they have a larger size than regular cars and are also likely to contain valuables. Depending on the nature of your business, you may travel and park across areas of varying crime levels. So before you park up and leave your vehicle, think about if you have parked in the best place, not just in terms of manoeuvrability but security too.
Parking on a driveway is always best if that’s an available option. Be sure to reverse it so that the most vulnerable side of the vehicle faces the property, making it difficult for thieves to bust open the back.
If parking on the side of the road, make sure wherever your heading is still within sight of where you have parked. You may also want to research secure parking in the area covered either by CCTV or a parking attendant for additional security.
Ensure every available measure to protect your van
There’s a lot to wrap your head around when it comes to securing your van, but we hope our van security ideas have pointed you in the right direction.
The bottom line is that while considering security is a pain, it’s still your responsibility. Imagine how you’d feel if a simple measure like checking you’ve locked up would have prevented someone from being able to steal your vehicle. Sadly, crime never stops, so you need to be on your toes by taking every available measure to protect your van.
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