Tradesperson's guide to van security

12th July 2021

Tradesperson's guide to van security

For any business or sole trader, a van is an essential means to get you and your tools from A to B. However, statistics show that your trusty transport could be vulnerable to burglary, theft and vandalism, putting your equipment and your livelihood at risk. We explore the best ways to protect your van to keep the burglars at bay.

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According to a Freedom of Information request submitted to the DVLA by Rapid Car Check, the three most stolen vehicles in the year 2019/2020 were all vans. According to the information provided in the request, both the Mercedes Sprinter 313 and 314 models and the Ford Transit 350 had 1,196, 860 and 756 vans stolen respectively¹.

What makes these figures even more concerning, is that these 3 van models have a combined recovery rate of just under 22 percent.

These worrying stats would make anyone think if they are doing everything they can to protect their van and the essential tools inside it.


First Line of Defence

One of the best ways to keep what is inside your van protected is to have the outside of the van as secure as possible. ONS figures show that 44% of van thefts occurred because the doors were not locked.²

A sturdy van lock will never let you down, keeping doors tightly sealed whenever you need it. As well as this, it is a wise idea to invest in a separate locking system for the cab and any additional cargo areas. There are plenty of options for which lock you can use to secure your van, but our recommendation would be a Deadlock, this is due to the fact that a deadlock does not have a spring in its locking mechanism, making it harder for thieves to pick the lock.

This is of particular importance considering that there is a significant amount of information online about how to pick a car/van door lock, some of which even include in-depth video tutorials.

While installing a lock is an important step, making sure you use it correctly and when required is just as if not more important. It may seem like a well-known practice, but it is always important to remember to lock your van, even if you are only leaving it unattended for a few minutes, that’s plenty of time for thieves to break in and make a run for it with your expensive tools in hand.

If you are working on a job that requires the van to be unattended frequently and/or for long periods of time, installing a Slamlock could be the way to go. A Slamlock eliminates the need for repeated locking of van doors, as the door will automatically lock when you close it.

Parking Problems

After a busy day at work, the last thing you’re thinking about is the best way to park, but the way your van is parked can be the difference between stolen goods and thieves and burglars moving on to an easier target.

A simple method you can use is reverse parking your van up against a wall, therefore restricting access to the back doors. The more walls surrounding your van when it is parked the better, as this can result in your back and side doors being concealed and restricted to any potential burglars looking to cash in on what’s inside. A popular method used by van burglars is what is commonly referred to as “door peeling” or “peel and steal”, and this security method will make it extremely difficult for this practice to be used.


As well as this, just like around your home or business, installing security cameras and making sure there is adequate lighting surround your van can be a great deterrent, especially if security cameras are placed out of reach but not out of site.

The location in which your van is parked can also have a significant impact on the price of your insurance. Insurance companies take in to consideration where you park when calculating how much you pay, so if you can, avoid parking in a street or in a known high crime area, especially overnight.

Traditional Tactics

Although the technology surrounding security has evolved, that doesn’t mean to say that older methods have become less effective.

Handbrake and steering locks are just as much of a deterrent even when compared to more modern security systems. An added benefit of these older methods of protection is that most of them are low cost, low maintenance and are quick and easy to install with instant and effective results.

Although these methods do not protect against the theft of property inside the van, they are an excellent way to prevent the vehicle itself from being stolen.


Van security should be a top priority for any business or sole trader, so make sure you’re always protected and make sure your van and tools don’t end up a part of these staggering stats.




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