Tool theft from vans is at a record high: what you need to know - Select Van Leasing
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Tool theft from vans is at a record high - and here’s what you need to know about it

From Daren Jasper, Commercial Vehicle Sales Manager at Select Car Leasing.

“If you drive a commercial vehicle, or you operate a fleet of them, the latest stats on tool theft from vans should give you serious pause for thought.

A new study by the Volkswagen Commercial team quizzed 1,000 van drivers in the UK. And, shockingly, a third of respondents said they’d had tools stolen from their vehicle in the past year - up from a quarter in 2020-21.

The average value of equipment stored in a van stands at £2,500 - meaning a potential £4.4 billion bill to replace lost items, annually.

And what’s perhaps even more costly than the tools themselves is time spent when businesses are unable to complete work.

The VW research suggests a typical theft might force staff to down tools for six days, on average, causing firms to lose £5.2 billion in revenue annually.

While London remains a hot-spot for vehicle break-ins, with 47% of drivers having had tools or equipment stolen in the past year, almost every region in the UK had seen a huge jump in thefts, year-on-year.

In Wales, for example, thefts from vans jumped a staggering 900% in a year.

It paints a really concerning picture. And with all of this in mind, what can we, as leasing consultants, do to help our commercial customers?

First thing’s first, I think we can do more to advise clients on van security considerations - and it’s something we’re actively working on with our staff.

How high are things such as alarm systems and secure locks on people’s list of priorities when they’re enquiring about a new van?

For me, probably not high enough, and we only have those conversations with a small proportion of our clients, perhaps one in every 100. In my view that needs to change - and it’s up to us to help provide guidance on this subject.

One of the things we can do for commercial lease customers is to fit so-called ‘Deadlocks’ to commercial vehicles. A Deadlock acts as an extra lock, operated by an external key, creating an additional layer of security above and beyond the standard lock fitted to the vehicle.

We can also fit ‘Slamlocks’, which automatically lock the vehicle as soon as the door closes and which are also more difficult to break into than traditional locks.

These Slamlocks are a God-send for people like multi-drop drivers who are vulnerable when they’re getting in and out of their van all the time.

The deadlocks are an optional extra, costing around £175 per door. Over the course of a typical lease, you’d be looking at an additional £5 per month, or £1.25 per week. A Slamlock is around £200 per door - or a couple of quid a week.

On the face of it, it’s a total no-brainer to have these options fitted - but we can do more to educate commercial clients about these sorts of additional security elements.

We can also talk to clients about what they’re carrying, how they operate, what provisions are in place for them if they do get broken into, and whether they might need an even more robust alarm system fitted compared to the one fitted as standard.

We can also remind people that one of the biggest things to consider when it comes to van security is where you park your vehicle.

Leaving your van in a well-lit area, in a car park with CCTV, or using another vehicle to park ‘defensively’, blocking vulnerable doors, can all be a real deterrent for crooks.
And you should, of course, spend an extra 15 minutes each day unloading your van.

All in all, theft from commercial vehicles doesn’t look like going away in a hurry. And it’s important that leasing brokers like us build this information into our guidance to customers.

If we didn’t, we’d not only be doing ourselves a disservice, we’d be doing our customers a disservice by not raising awareness and offering the appropriate advice.”

*** (Stats below from VW survey of 1,000 van drivers)

Percentage of van drivers with tools or equipment stolen in the past year

Region                                          2021/22                      2020/21

London                                             47%                             55%

Scotland                                           45%                             22%

North West                                      41%                             25%

North East                                        40%                             28%

Yorkshire and the Humber              38%                             7%

Wales                                                36%                             4%

West Midlands                                 36%                             33%

Northern Ireland                              35%                             13%

East Anglia                                        33%                             23%

East Midlands                                   32%                             15%

South West                                       32%                             10%

South East                                         28%                             17%

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Saturday, 18/05/2024