Van Theft Statistics – 2024

Van Theft Statistics – 2024

Van theft is no joke and unfortunately it’s becoming more common for chancers and opportunistic vandals to try and get away with some of your gear, whether that be tools, documents, gadgets or even the van itself. The most common form of theft is still tool theft though with hand-powered tools being a particular favourite given their light but expensive nature.

Considering the average van can house thousands of pounds of equipment and tools, it makes them a target on the roads and given that they are often left for hours at a time, it makes them an easier proposition for opportunists. If you are going to be doing regular rounds in your van, it’s important to know where the highest crime rates are and how you can go about reducing the chance of would-be thieves getting their hands on your tools and equipment. The below chart shows the latest theft data, showcasing the percentage of van drivers that reported some form of tool or equipment theft :

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%

As you can see the usual hotspots of London and the North are top of the charts but what is more alarming is that there are no real ‘safe spots’ anymore with the likes of Wales and Yorkshire seeing a big surge in reported thefts. With most areas hitting the 25%-40% range, this is a major problem and one that shows little sign of calming down with more recent data from 2023 showing the following :

● A 5 percent rise in tool thefts, 44,514 thefts in total reported

● 2023 saw a tool theft reported every 12 minutes

● Tools are most frequently stolen from vans, with thefts up 14 per cent in 2023 ● Tradespeople are spending on average £626 on additional security to no avail ● Tradespeople lost an estimated £82 million worth of jobs last year due to tool theft

With 1% of tools ever actually being recovered, we are facing an epidemic of van tool theft on the streets. In many cases, preventative measures are the best you can do and can be an effective way to deter would-be criminals away from your van.

The below list is non-exhaustive as new solutions continually make the rounds but they do provide some useful tips and advice for keeping your tools safe.

● Secure van storage. If you are not already, getting serious with van storage can really help to keep tools secure and also help you keep track of what goods are where. It can help keep reporting missing tools easier and organising your tools can help ensure that more valuable tools are stored out of sight and in the right place. Internal van racking units provide an effective way to store your tools, equipment and other accessories and there are plenty of accessories such as holders, boxes and other additions that can help make for an advanced storage system, suitable for any business or tradesperson.

● Strongboxes. When on the job, strongboxes are a really useful resource. They keep your tools secure and remove the chance of a ‘snatch and grab’ from opportunists if you forget to fully lock your van while on a job. The main downside to them is that weight though, meaning that they add to your payload weight so if you routinely carry heavy tools or materials, it’s something you need to be aware of.

● Don’t leave valuables in or visible in your van. It sounds obvious but make sure that you are keeping tools and any gear out of sight, especially when parked up. Most tool theft is opportunistic in nature so do not make it easy for your van to become a target. For this, hide important items from view when at work and take them from the van when you head home. Keep your doors shut whenever possible and try to avoid the habit of going to and fro from the van too often.

Make sure your security is up to date. With most modern vans, alarms and immobilisers come as standard. However, if you are working from an older van, make sure you have an alarm installed and that it is enabled and that the locks are secure. It may also be worth considering camera or CCTV systems that can help act as a deterrent and just offer another layer of protection. Security locks and boxes need to be checked regularly.

● Park with theft in mind. While finding a parking spot is usually a problem when on the job, try and think about how visible and easy to access your van is. If your van is on a busy street with good lighting, it’s less likely to be a target as any strange behaviour would be more likely to draw attention. Be aware of CCTV car parks as well as these are far more secure than a street. When you park up to go home, park wherever is going to limit visibility. Up against a wall, in a locked and CCTV secured building, parked with another car up behind it. Anything that is going to make your van less ‘easy pickings’ will just help to act as a deterrent.

Van tool theft is not something that is going to go away and as a tradesperson, it is something that you need to be aware of in order to protect your business, your tools and future jobs and business. Opportunism is continuing to rise and as the data suggests, it won’t be cooling off anytime soon.

To protect yourself and your business, consider investing in CCTV systems, effective van storage solutions and internal van racking units to help you keep easier track of your tools and equipment as well as reducing the ease of which criminals and vandals can mess with your tools and van. No matter how effectively you prepare, it is unfortunately no guarantee of protection but by taking the necessary precautions, you can minimise the risk and prepare for any eventuality.

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