Whether you run a vehicle for personal, business or commercial usage, the last thing that anyone wants is for their vehicle to be stolen. But unfortunately, figures suggest that vehicle thefts have been increasing in recent years.
As well as overall vehicle theft figures showing increases, in some area’s warnings are being issued that delivery vans are being targeted by criminals. And data released by Logistics UK showed that a third of businesses had had a van stolen in the last 12 months.
What increases the risk of vehicle theft?
The time of year
Insurer Aviva have recently released figures which show that as many as 80% of vehicle thefts happen in the hours of darkness. And that vehicle thefts appear to be higher during the months of October to December when the evenings are shorter, and the hours of darkness are longer.
Not taking security seriously
It is vital to take security seriously. If you don’t lock your vehicle you are leaving it more susceptible to criminals. It is possible that you may potentially invalidate your insurance cover through failure of your ‘duty of care’.
If you have somewhere secure to leave your vehicle such as a garage, then make use of it – Aviva data showed that 33% of those with a garage never put their vehicle in it.
Keyless entry systems
Keyless entry systems, whilst convenient for the vehicle owner do pose a possible security threat. Thieves can use what is known as a ‘relay attack’ to fool the vehicle into thinking the key is within range, allowing them to unlock the vehicle and drive away.
How can you reduce the risk of vehicle theft?
There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of vehicle theft and to generally make your vehicle less attractive to criminals.
Always lock your vehicle
Leaving your vehicle unlocked provides the perfect gift to opportunistic thieves. Always lock your vehicle regardless of how long it will be unattended for. Thieves only need a matter of minutes.
Check that your vehicle is locked at the end of the day. We’re all busy and neglecting to lock your vehicle is easy to do. In the current lockdown where many of us aren’t driving every day an unlocked vehicle could go unnoticed for long periods if you don’t check it, leaving it vulnerable.
And remember, if you don’t lock your vehicle your insurance could be invalidated.
Make use of a garage
If you have a garage, make use of it to store your vehicle as this provides an additional layer of security.
Park in a well-lit area
If you do not have a driveway or garage, then ensure you park in a well-lit area. Well-lit areas don’t provide cover so this may help deter thieves from targeting your vehicle.
Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle
Advice which is as old as time but which you should adhere to. Leaving valuables in your vehicle, particularly in view, makes your vehicle more of a target.
If you are a tradesperson or work with tools be sure to remove these from your vehicle overnight if at all possible. Vans are increasingly being targeted by thieves and having your tools stolen at the same time not only increases the value of your loss but also adds further disruption to your ability to work.
Take extra precautions if you have keyless entry system
We know keyless entry systems can be targeted by thieves so take extra steps to reduce the risk of vehicle theft if your car or van makes use of one of these systems.
- Keep keys inside a closed drawer and away from windows and doors.
- Buy or make a bag or container which acts as a Faraday cage. This will help block a key’s signal from being transmitted to a relay device.
- Check your vehicle manual in case it is possible to temporarily turn off the key’s wireless signal.
Look at your security
You could also consider other security measures such as
- Installing CCTV cameras to your home
- Boosting the security of your driveway through lockable gates or bollard systems
- Immobiliser systems and car alarms
- Adding a tracker to your vehicle so it can be traced if it is stolen
It is important to manage risk in the face of rising vehicle thefts and take steps which not only protect your vehicle but deter thieves from making you a target in the first place. It’s also important to ensure that you have adequate insurance in place whether you own a car or van and that you keep your insurance policy details updated. Get in touch with Anthony Jones today if you are reviewing your insurance and need some expert advice.