Vehicle Security

First of all, a joke about van security.

Two men are hiking in the mountains. One suddenly stops, removes his hiking  boots, and starts putting on sneakers. The other asks why he is doing that.
The first man answers, “I thought I heard a bear.”
The second argues, “You can’t outrun a bear, not even with sneakers.”
The first responds, “I just need to outrun YOU!”

Why do I choose to tell a joke, when this is such a serious subject? Well this joke is very apt and sums up everything about protecting your livelihood. Before you decide whether it’s worth doing anything, or choose to take your chance with it all, think on this. It may be that based on where you live, you don’t need to turn your van into an armoured  tank, you just need to make it better than the other vans in the street.

Most of you won’t live anywhere near us, so we know that you won’t be our customers. However, things are getting so bad out there that we wanted to start to gather everything we know about van security and put it into one place. We hope that you’ll get a few ideas and then find your local company that should already know this and will have their own solution. We really hope it helps in some way.

If you’re a tradesman and carry powertools in your van, during the day or at night time, you’re at risk. There’s been a steep rise in tool theft over the last twelve months and in particular the last three, where it’s developed into a real problem.
There are three ways that thieves are managing to open up your van and we wanted to highlight these so you could take some action.

The most important thing is to do something…

Method One – Picking the Lock

So this is a new way that thieves are breaking into a certain type of van. Unfortunately for the owners, the MK7 Ford Transit is the most common van in the UK.

Thieves have bought lockpicks (on sale on Amazon ) and have learnt how to use them. In this way they can very quickly unlock the van without any sign of entry, remove the tools and then lock it back up! For Transits don’t normally have any alarm installed and this is becoming a really big problem for van owners. The first thing you will know is that you get on-site and all the tools are missing.

Here is a CCTV still of thieves caught at it.

It’s unbelievable that Amazon sell these, we agree, but they are and so therefore, the MK7 Transit is a very insecure vehicle. We’ll explain how to protect yourself a little later.

Method Two – Opportunist Minor Damage

This is the most common form of vehicle entry. In our opinion, manufacturers has designed the newest vans very poorly. The door locks are held in with very little strength, which means that a simple screwdrive allows the thief to access the van with minor damage.

An example of this style of attack is shown here

This video shows a Citroen Dispatch being broken into.

The Ford Custom and new shape Transit are prime examples of truly terrible design.

Coupled with the fact that there are so many produced, it’s like a kid in a sweet shop. There are various techniques to prevent this including the following

Door protectors

These are strong plates that are placed over the weak area of the door and lock.

Also there are improved, specially designed replacement door locks that cannot be attacked as easily.

Another style of door protector is used on the french vehicles. It protects the lock from being pulled out of the door so easily.

All of these security extras, are designed to protect from opportunist attacks. We would class that as an attack that takes less than ten seconds and can be achieved with just a screwdriver.

Method Three – Major Damage Attack

This is the newest type of attack and has changed the game. Gangs are using brute force to cause major damage to the van doors, in order to access the van and steal the tools.

This type of attack occurs because of a weakness in the way that door is held within the empty space. Whilst all vans are vulnerable, some are particularly bad. If you look at Volvo cars, they cannot be attacked in this way, even the oldest. Why? Well they are simply built like tanks! Is it possible to do this with a work van? I’m not sure, but something needs to be done to strengthen up the doors. In the meantime, additional security locks can be added to try and prevent it.

It’s important to stress that even when these are fitted, they can still access the van, by getting a ‘can-opener’ style tool and cutting a hole in the side or roof! You can’t really combat this. However, the important thing here is that with millions of vans on the road, yours doesn’t have to be the best protected, it just needs to be the best in your street!

Look out for our next article explaining each type of protection in detail.

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