Van drivers are being targeted by thieves on the hunt for expensive tools, with research revealing over a quarter (27%) have had equipment stolen from vans in the last 12 months.
A study across the UK by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles found over half of van drivers (57%) who own tools are at risk, as they regularly leave gear in vans overnight. Yet a third (31%) are not protecting their expensive equipment with extra alarms, secondary locks, or vehicle trackers.
London is the hotspot for tool theft with 55 per cent of the 1,000 tradespeople surveyed having equipment stolen in the past year, followed by the West Midlands (33%), North East (28%), North West (25%), and East Anglia (23%).
An average of 20,000 individual cases are reported to police forces across the UK each year, with the estimated cost of replacement tools and equipment standing at £15 million a year, according to a FOI request from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
The cost of tool theft to businesses is more than just replacement equipment, too, with tradespeople often unable to work while vans are re-stocked and locks repaired.
The first step to protecting your vehicle is thinking about where you park it. Parking in a well-lit area or in a car park with CCTV will help reduce unwanted attention. Where this cannot be achieved or if you have more than one vehicle, parking them defensively – in other words, where doors are blocked by another vehicle or object – can be a good deterrent.
For those van owners who wish to further increase the security of their vehicles there are various options available. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles says it offers a range of solutions to ensure vans remain protected.
As part of the ‘Business Pack’ available across its range of Caddy, Transporter and Crafter, an anti-theft alarm system can be specified with interior monitoring, a back-up horn and tow-away protection. As part of its ‘Working With You promise’, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles also offers a variety of lockable racking solutions and storage boxes for expensive tools.
Another option is Volkswagen’s ‘We Connect’, available as standard across the majority of the range. The innovative system allows you to check important information on your smartphone while you’re away from your vehicle, such as if doors are locked or lights are left on.
We Connect Plus offers additional security benefits, such as the online anti-theft warning system, which immediately sends a message to the linked mobile phone in the event of a burglary attempt.