Van security: How to keep your van and its contents safe

The last thing a growing business needs is theft of their vans or contents. Here’s how to reduce the chances of that happening.

Whether you run a fleet of the latest generation of new vans or you’re a sole trader with a small van, security is likely to be on your mind. That applies to the van itself as much as it does the contents. With a little bit of effort, however, you should reduce the chances that thieves will target your vehicle.

Choose the right van to start with

Naturally, there are plenty of other aspects of a new or used van purchase that buyers prioritise, such as price, running costs and the size of the vehicle. But it’s worth spending a little time thinking about security, too. If you’re buying a new van, go through the specification in detail to ensure it has an alarm and immobiliser – and deadlocks on all the doors. Then consider how you’re going to use it – do you really need glass in the back doors, for example? Would it make more sense to have a factory-fitted bulkhead between the cabin and the load area? The same thought process should go into buying a used van, so make a checklist of the security items you reckon you’d like before you go to look at any possible purchase. And make sure you test the alarm and immobiliser when buying a second-hand van.

Modifying your current vehicle

If you already have a van and you feel you need to beef up its security, there’s still plenty you can do. If it doesn’t already have an alarm and immobiliser, you can get them professionally fitted, though that’s often an expensive way to do things. You could also, depending on the value and rarity of the vehicle, consider fitting a tracking device to help with its recovery on being stolen. For considerably less money you can buy physical locks for the steering wheel, gear shifter and clutch pedal, making it difficult to steal the van.

Protecting your load

A sign on the back saying “no tools kept in this vehicle overnight” may put some criminals off, but others will ignore that. You can have heavy duty external locks fitted to the doors to beef up security and an extra layer on the glass to prevent it from breaking. Within the van itself, lockable toolboxes and storage cabinets will dissuade opportunists that see the doors left open.

Using common sense

Obviously, the best way to prevent anyone tampering with a van’s contents is not to leave anything in it, but that’s not always practical – and not all thefts take place in the dead of night when the van is parked up until the next day. Hence, get into the habit of always locking and closing all windows and doors, even if you’re just nipping into a shop for a minute. And in the cabin, don’t leave valuable items such as small satnav units and wallets on show when the van is unoccupied.

A final note: try to park the van in a well-lit and busy location, preferably one that appears to have CCTV coverage – that’s likely to put would-be thieves off.