According to 2017 recovery figures from Tracker (part of the Tantalum Corporation,) 82% of Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) were stolen without the owner’s keys - up by nearly 100% compared to 2016 (44%). The Ford Transit was again the most popular van stolen last year and accounted for over half of the LCV recoveries made by Tracker.
“Keyless entry technology has now been widely adopted in the LCV market, and this is evident in the fact that last year there was a two-fold increase in LCVs being stolen without the owner’s keys,” confirms Andy Barrs, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker. “The relatively new trend in vehicle theft termed ‘relay attack’, that allows criminals to harness more sophisticated theft techniques to overcome existing vehicle security technology, such as immobilisers and keyless entry systems, has played a significant part in this increase.”
The impact of van theft goes beyond just having the inconvenience of being without a vehicle. As well as the hassle of dealing with insurers to get a vehicle replaced, owners need to consider the financial impact – increase in insurance premiums, cost of replacing tools, not to mention the administration cost of dealing with everything. Brand reputation can be at risk too if a business cannot serve its customers.
Barrs concludes, “It is worth remembering it’s not just about protecting your van from being stolen but safeguarding your business too. Technology is just one part of vehicle security and more vigilance needs to be taken across the board; this includes van owners, manufacturers, dealers, insurers and the police. Whilst a tracking device won’t stop a van being stolen, it can significantly increase the chances of the police locating and returning it to its rightful owner.”
Additional costs of having your van stolen:
1. Tool replacement - if your van is driven off with all your tools on board you will face a major bill. The average collection of manual and power tools in a trades vehicle can be worth thousands. Even if they’re insured, it can take weeks to source and order replacements.
2. Rising insurance premiums - if your van is stolen, your insurance premiums rise – making it more expensive to run your van or fleet.
3. Administration costs – dealing with the fallout of having your van stolen. Sourcing replacement tools, hiring temporary vehicles, reporting theft to the police, organising road tax refunds, taxing and insuring a replacement vehicle.
4. Loss of business - when a van is stolen, it hits your productivity hard. If your business is a small one, you may even find yourself unable to serve customers — and that can damage your reputation and impact future business.