Van Break-ins on the Rise, Fleet Managers Urged to Stress Caution


According to ECIC, an insurance company specializing in serving the building trades, there has been a dramatic upsurge in the number of thefts from commercial vans over the past year. The average value of items stolen from vans has increased 77.7% from £2,865 to £5,091 in the past year, and the highest value theft was assessed at £83,500 for electric cabling and copper piping. Though the majority of thefts reported took place in hotel parking lots they are happening everywhere. What are largely being stolen are tools, though there are also reports of such items as laptops being taken. Of particular concern is equipment left in vans for use onsite.

Ian Hollingworth, claims manager for ECIC, said, “During the downturn in the construction sector, theft from vans became more prevalent. As well as being an enormous inconvenience, it can create work delays, unexpected costs if equipment needs to be hired while the claim is processed, and even jeopardise contracts.”

Hollingsworth points out that in some vehicles, including the Ford Transit, thieves are able to purchase a tool on the internet that enables them access to vehicles without requiring them to force entry.

To ward off theft, he encourages fleet managers to instruct their van drivers to park in secure lots that are well-lit, or in close proximity to security cameras. Locking doors is an obvious precaution, but in light of the availability of lock-picking equipment they are suggesting that changing locks with an anti-pick replacement cylinder may be worthwhile.

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