The humble van is a vital piece of equipment for every tradesman – a reported 3.2 million of them used for business across the UK. Without it, you won’t be able to travel to jobs and you won’t have access to the tools you need to carry on working. And it’s not just the loss of the vehicle itself which causes problems. Many tradesmen keep thousands of pounds worth of tools and equipment in their vehicle which if lost will prevent them from working and result in higher insurance premiums.
With more than 22,000 vans in the UK reported stolen in 2017, this is a major problem for tradesmen across the country. With more than 50% of tradesman reporting being unable to work the following day, that equates to just under £100m in lost revenue.
So to help reduce the risk of your van or equipment being stolen we thought it would be a good idea to point out the areas in the UK where your vehicle is most vulnerable to theft or damage.
It should come as no surprise that most theft is centred on major cities, with London being the most likely place where your van will be stolen or broken into. According to data compiled by Simply Business, there were between 201-300 reported claims of tool theft during 2017 in the Greater London area. But many smaller towns in rural areas also make the list such as Chelmsford, which came in at number 5, and Tunbridge Wells, which came in 6th place.
The 5 most dangerous towns and cities to leave your vehicle in the UK:
5 tips to keep your van and equipment secure
With van theft on the rise and criminals becoming ever more sophisticated, it’s a good idea to take a few steps to secure your vehicle and equipment.
Park in a safe location
Try to park in a secure location. This could be a drive, garage or lockup, anywhere where your vehicle is out of sight. If you don’t have a secure location, try to park it up against a wall or building which will make it more difficult for thieves to gain access.
Mark your equipment
Good idea to mark your equipment using a permanent marker or engraving kit. Try to mark in recessed areas which will make it much more difficult for thieves to remove. While this will not prevent a determined thief, it will reduce the risk of opportunistic theft.
Use secure window grills
w grills are also a good way of protecting your tools and equipment. Again, they won’t stop a determined thief but they will make your vehicle much less attractive from a thief’s point of view.
Install a secure tool chest
Most tool theft occurs during the day. A secure tool chest is one of the best ways of preventing opportunistic theft from your vehicle. While this won’t help if your vehicle is stolen, it will significantly reduce the risk of losing tools while you’re on the job.
Don’t leave tools in your vehicle overnight
If you have expensive tools, try not to leave them in your vehicle overnight. It may be a pain but it will save you a significant amount of hassle should your vehicle get broken into during the night.
While you can never eliminate the risk of theft, carrying out these simple steps will make it less likely that your vehicle will be targeted. Thieves will simply go looking for an easier target instead.
About the author:
Ross Hansen is a journalist based in London, UK. He specialises in automotive journalism, but has also covered a range of other topics including sports and lifestyle. Whenever he’s not writing he enjoys exploring the English countryside in his Range Rover alongside his dog, Fred.