Considering how much value your van holds as a work vehicle, it makes sense to invest in a few security precautions. Some preventative measures won’t cost money at all and are simply a matter of being cognitive about your surroundings and how you position your van. However, one thing is certain – the tools and equipment your van transports are definitely worth a hefty monetary sum, and even if they’re insured, you don’t want them being stolen any time soon. In this quick guide, we’ll provide four useful tips for keeping tools safe in your van:
1. Understand How Thieves Are Breaking Into Vans
Before you do anything, you’ll need to understand the fundamentals of van theft. According to a poll conducted by the Federation of Master Builders, approximately 51% contractors have had their tools stolen at one point. Almost half of every van break-in is facilitated through prised-open side doors. This means that 1 out of 2 thieves will try to get into your van by prying the side door open enough to unlock from the interior. Only 23% of thieves break the window or attempt to open the door from the dashboard, while the other 22% pick the locks, which may include using a relay box to mimic the wireless key fob.
2. Always Lock Up and Consider a Lock Upgrade
Before you start to compare lock types and brands, get in the habit of locking up your van every time you leave it, even if you’re only running into a store for a brief moment. Any time the van will be out of sight or out of reach, it should be locked up. A thief can watch you go into a store, notice that you didn’t lock the van, quickly grab some tools and leave – all in less than a minute. That might seem unlikely, but there are full-time thieves out there who will wait and prowl in parking lots for the tiniest opportunities. You could use slam locks, which automatically lock every time the door is closed, but then you’d be increasing your chances of locking your key in the van accidentally. Some people install deadlocks because they’re harder to pick.
3. Protecting Your Van Overnight
So, should you really have to unload your entire van and remove all tools and equipment at the end of every work day? While that would be the safest scenario, it’s simply not practical nor convenient after a long day’s work. Instead, try these tips to keep your van safe overnight:
- Use dark tint, a window blank or a grille to obscure view of the van’s contents.
- Store all valuable tools inside of a locked container within the van.
- Install a bulkhead to separate the cab from the rear.
Ultimately, the three tips above will serve to keep your valuables out of sight from thieves, while also adding extra layers of locks that need to be picked in order to reach your tools.
4. Practice Smart Parking
Although there are some sophisticated van thieves who plan full-on heists, the vast majority of thieves are opportunists – they’re just waiting for you to mess up. Bad parking is the easiest mess-up to notice. Try to park with your side doors obscured by a wall or other vehicle. Avoid desolate parking spots – you want your van to be in the public eye so someone can easily spot a thief when they’re trying to break in.
Install a CCTV System
While all of the above tips are helpful, if you really want to know that your van is safe at all times, you’ll need to install a few wireless cameras and connect them to an online surveillance app. It may be a decent DIY project or investment with a van security firm, but it’s well worth it.