Van theft rates soar by 45% in four years

Van theft across the UK has soared by 45% over the last four years, according to research conducted by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

Official police statistics show that a total of 32,056 vans have been stolen over the last four years, with almost 10,000 thefts recorded across the UK in the last year alone. The 2018/19 figures represent a year-on-year rise of 4% and a 45% increase since 2015/16.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is advising van owners and fleet managers to ensure their vehicles are fitted with the latest anti-theft devices as well as remembering to remove expensive tools from vehicles at night.

Of the 9371 van thefts reported in the past 12 months, the Metropolitan Police recorded more than half of the total as 4777 commercial vehicles stolen – a rise of 15%.

The biggest yearly increase in thefts was reported in Leicestershire with 10 times more vans stolen in 2018/19 than records for the year before. Van thefts in North Wales doubled while West Yorkshire police records show a 67% rise. In fact, West Yorkshire was the second highest overall (931 thefts), followed by the West Midlands (409), Essex (387) and Leicestershire (377).

To help protect customers’ van, Volkswagen offers a number of measures to reduce the risk of theft. As part of the Business Pack available available for Caddy, Transporter and Crafter models, an anti-theft alarm system can be specified with interior monitoring, a back-up horn and tow-away protection. In addition, Volkswagen Commercial offers a variety of lockable racking solutions and storage boxes for expensive tools.

VW is also currently offering a deal on its Meta Trak subscription, which allows owners to track their vans in real-time and receive instant smartphone alerts with full UK and European coverage. The one-year kit is currently offered with one month free while those opting for a three-year subscription receive three months free.

Top tips to secure your van:

–    Park in well-lit areas or car parks with CCTV or alternatively position your van so that the doors are blocked by another vehicle or object

–    Window guards or full internal bulkheads can stop would-be thieves seeing inside

–    Adding security film to the side or back window glass can stop criminals smashing it

–    Fitting additional locks to rear and sliding doors can help deter thieves

–    Invest in lockable internal racking or secure storage boxes for your most valuable tools

–    Fitting a tracker can help police hunt down the van if it is stolen plus it may reduce your insurance premium

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