Parking your van at home seems like a normal and everyday thing to do and something we take for granted, however this can be a cause for concern for many van owners and for the companies and fleet managers who supply the vehicle. Tool theft and vehicle break-ins have risen in the last few years and insurance providers now currently state that a van is broken into and tools stolen every 23 minutes in the UK. You may think your van is safe and secure once you are tucked up for the evening however it is extremely easy for thieves to access your vehicle and its possessions. It also doesn’t seem to matter where you reside, vehicle theft is happening all over the UK and thieves aren’t too fussy on location.
This is a concerning statistic and here at Hartwell, we want to try to help tackle this issue and help our commercial customers keep their property safe. Therefore we have put together a short guide with helpful tips on how to store your vehicle and vehicle contents safely.
Ensure you park in a well-lit area
Park smart and ask yourself, is the area my vehicle parked in secure? Can I see the vehicle from my residence? Is the area well-lit? Also, always check your area of residence before leaving your vehicle. Remember that isolated areas and vans are a much better target to thieves and ideally if you can, you should park your car in a garage or on a driveway. If you don’t have these options then a well-lit area or a street within view of CCTV is just as good. Another good tip is to back your rear and side doors against a wall – if you can. You want to give thieves as little opportunity as possible.
Alarms, cameras and any added security
The more security, the better. The first rule of thumb and something so obvious yet often not done is to ensure you lock your vehicle. You will be surprised by how many thefts are made because a vehicle has not been locked in the first instance and has been left overnight. Other security options to consider are alarms, deadlocks, immobilisers and security boxes. All of these can help to reassure and protect your van and tools.
Before purchasing your vehicle do your research. Check which commercial vehicles come equipped with built-in security and what types or ask your dealership what type of security already comes in place and if there are any added or extra security you can have installed. Camera systems such as VanCam are covert surveillance for van and tool protection and well worth the money to protect your goods.
Mark your property
It is good practice to mark and tag your tools and any other equipment you may hold in your van. You can mark your tools using a number of methods such as permanent marker, electrical tape and spray paints. The most popular way is to have the tools engraved or stamped with initials or company name as this is a longer-lasting method. You can even mark your tools with nail polish. This can also help when on-site and your tools won’t just go walkabout if marked with brightly coloured nail polish.
Usually, thieves steal tools to sell on to people either at markets, online or to their networks which in turn can ruin the livelihood of innocent tradespeople. If your tools are marked from the off they will be harder to sell and easier to trace – so don’t make it easy for them. You can also buy bumper or rear stickers informing that tools are not kept in the vehicle overnight.
Check your insurance
It’s imperative that you have secure and comprehensive insurance. If you are self-employed then you will need to organise this yourself, however, if you drive a company vehicle, the fleet protection and insurance should be organised for you. It is worth checking though with your fleet manager/business owner what the insurance covers and double-check you and your tools are covered. You should also let your manager know where the vehicle is kept overnight and if it remains on your property for a long period of time. Make sure to keep a record or a log of your receipts and keep an inventory up to date of your tools. This helps you to keep tabs on your equipment and highlight any tools missing in the event of a theft. It’s also helpful for your insurance company.
All of the above may seem like pretty simple solutions in keeping your van and equipment safe and protected however it’s so easy to fall foul and make small errors that can jeopardise your livelihood.
Stay safe and stay smart.
Keep up to date with our Hartwell blog pages for more useful tips and coming soon, safety features on the new FordPass Pro app.