Hardworking tradesmen in Britain, know all too well the frustration and expense of van break-ins. Their vans is not just a vehicle; it's a mobile workshop and a critical part of their livelihood. Unfortunately, vans are prime targets for thieves, and break-ins are alarmingly common. Here’s why vans keep getting broken into and what you can do to protect your valuable tools and equipment, with expert insights from Sten Saar, CEO of Zego Van Insurance.

Sliding doors are a common feature in many vans, providing easy access to the cargo area. Unfortunately, these doors are often targeted by thieves due to their weaker locking mechanisms.  Rear barn doors, which open outward, are another common target. Thieves can use tools to pry these doors open at the seam where the doors meet.

Techniques Used by Thieves

Pry and Peel: This technique involves using a crowbar or similar tool to pry open the doors. Thieves often target the seams or weak points of the door to peel it back and gain access to the van's contents. "Prying open doors is one of the fastest and most common methods thieves use," says Saar.

Lock Bumping: Thieves use a specially cut key known as a bump key to manipulate the van's lock mechanism. This technique can quickly unlock doors without causing visible damage, making it hard to detect.

Lock Picking: This method involves manipulating the components of the lock to unlock it without the original key. Skilled thieves can use lock-picking tools to quickly and quietly open van doors.

Drilling: Thieves may drill into the lock cylinder to break the locking mechanism. This method is noisy and can draw attention, but it is effective in quickly disabling the lock. Steps to Protect Your Van

Upgrade Your Locks: Consider installing high-security locks and deadlocks.

Install an Alarm System: A robust alarm system can alert you and deter thieves. Some systems also offer mobile notifications, so you can act quickly if a break-in occurs.

Add a Tracking Device: Installing a GPS tracker can help you recover your van if it’s stolen.

Use Secure Parking: Whenever possible, park your van in well-lit, secure areas. If you have a driveway, consider installing motion-sensor lights and surveillance cameras.

Remove Valuable Tools: At the end of the workday, remove as many valuable tools as possible from your van. This might be inconvenient, but it significantly reduces the risk of losing expensive equipment.

Consider Unmarked Vans: While branding is important for your business, consider the benefits of an unmarked van. Thieves are less likely to target vans that don’t advertise the presence of valuable tools.