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3 Effective Methods to Protect Your Van From Theft

While most parked vehicles are a temptation for an opportunistic thief, vans and their valuable contents can be seen as a gold mine.

That’s why you should be especially vigilant in the precautions you take. These 3 steps to protecting your van can significantly reduce the potential for crime, and help you recover costs if you’re unfortunate enough to be targeted.

1. Make Your Van an Unappealling Target

The first step towards crime prevention is deterrence. You might be surprised at the risks people don’t realise they’re taking. Always be sure to:

  • Lock the doors and close the windows even if you’re only leaving the van for a couple of minutes.
  • Only park in busy, well-lit areas. If you’re parking on a road, turning the wheels into the kerb makes for a slower getaway.
  • Remove all valuable items from sight. Even leaving a phone charger suggests there might be a phone inside. Better yet, remove items from the van entirely overnight.
  • Choose security features that are highly visible to act as a deterrant.

2. Make Your Van a Fortress

There’s a wide range of security products you can install to reduce the chances of being a victim of theft.

  • Alarms are the most obvious choice, and come with most vans as standard. Stickers that say “This vehicle is alarmed” are a great deterrent, but a sticker which specifies the alarm model is risky: the thief may know a way around it.
  • An electronic immobiliser is an effective system to stop your van being “hotwired”. Having one of these installed means that your engine won’t start without the proper key.
  • Deadbolts, steering wheel locks and fitted lockboxes for your tools are all useful ways to protect your property and possibly reduce your insurance premiums.

3. Make It Easier to Recover or Replace Your Van

If all else fails, there are a few small tricks to make your van more likely to come back to you:

  • Anti-tamper screws on the registration plates can make sure your vehicle will be recognised after it’s stolen. For the same reason, you can have identification numbers etched onto all the windows.
  • A GPS tracking device can help the police find your stolen vehicle.
  • Ensuring you have the right van insurance cover can help minimise some of the hassle if you are the victim of theft. For example, some policies offer a temporary replacement van for you to use, reducing the disruption to your business.
  • Some van types are more attractive. For example, Mercedes Sprinters have the highest theft attraction in the UK.

Photo courtesy of Roman Soto

About the author

Clever Dude


  • #1 is definitely basic stuff you always have to do, whatever type your car is. The key is not to be careless — crimes don’t always happen planned but also when the opportunity comes.

  • I always make sure to do basic stuff like locking my car and putting away all valuable items out of sight. Great tips though, I didn’t pay attention to #3 before, but now that you mention it, it will be something I’ll keep in mind.

  • My brother has a work van that has a lot of valuable climbing equipment in it, since he climbs telephone poles to set up internet and phone services at residences and businesses. The climbing equipment and electronics are notorious for being targets for theft, so his van has been broken into what feels like a thousand times.

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