How to keep your van safe from thieves

Amelia Scholey, Brand and Creative Manager, Thursday, 21 May 2020
Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2023

If you use your van to carry around essential tools for your job, then it’s even more important to lock up safely and securely at the end of the day. If your tools are stolen you’ll be unable to work and that could mean a loss to of income. 

Since 2016 over 43,000 vans have been stolen, which averages out at 30 vans per day! A further 117,000 vans were broken into over the same period.

This research which was conducted by WhatCar?, also discovered that between 2017 and 2018 there was an 8.21% increase in van theft, with the trend continuing into 2019.

If doing business without a van could be extremely damaging to their livelihood, please make sure you secure your vehicle and its contents to ensure operational stability of your business. Read our tips to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your van and your business secure.


It’s an obvious one, but it happens, we can all leave our vehicles unlocked sometimes. Although most thieves will plan their attack, others will take an opportunity when they see one. Make sure you don’t give the ones looking for an opportunity the chance to steal, and lock your van whenever you leave it unattended.


Where and how you park can really help prevent thieves gaining access to your van. If you can, try parking your van tightly in a corner so that access to the sliding and back doors are blocked.

If you can’t do this, but often park in the same car park, try not to park in the same spot all the time. Better still find another car park or area to park in. Parking in the same place regularly will give thieves the ability to watch and follow your movements. Allowing them to find a good time to plan their theft.

Another good parking tip is to park in a well-lit area. This will help deter thieves as they could be easily spotted by passers by or on CCTV cameras. Better still, why not install security lights at home so that your van is always well lit when parked there too.

Van parking


Install a visible security camera overlooking your van when its parked at home. Make sure it’s out of reach though, as otherwise thieves might be able to remove and disable the camera. Camera’s aren’t only good for deterring thieves, but if you are unfortunate enough to get broken into then you’ll have footage to be able to help the police catch them.

Cameras if angled correctly, could also deter house break ins as well as those that may happen on your van.

Security stickers

Having stickers on your van telling thieves that your vehicle is alarmed might make them think twice about stealing from your van.

Van boxes

There are many different van boxes available for lots of different van sizes and models. If you constantly have a lot of expensive equipment in your van, it might be worth investing in some van boxes. These are storage containers that can be securely locked, giving thieves another level of security to tackle. They not only keep your equipment safe, but also helps you to organise it.


Most vans come already fitted with alarm systems, but there’s also the option to alarm them if you don’t think the pre-fitted one will do the job. Some of the alarms you can have fitted can be linked to an app, meaning you would be notified of any theft to your vehicle instantly.

Someone holding a car key up to a car

Remove tools over night

This might seem obvious and also a bit of a pain, but removing your tools over night will mean you can still work whilst your van is being fixed if it’s ever broken into.

A recent study by WhatCar? showed over a 50% increase in van crime in the last 4 years. This has cost over £61.9 million to businesses in lost tools and other items since 2016. In the same time period over 117,000 vans have been reported as broken into. 

They also discovered that between 2017 and 2018 there was an 8.21% increase in van theft, with the trend continuing into 2019.

Keep an inventory

We would always advise to keep an inventory of your tools or contents of your van. That way if you think something has gone missing, but can’t quite place what, you’ll be able to check against your inventory. That way you’ll know exactly what has gone missing.

Use a UV pen to mark your tools

If you unfortunately do end up with tools stolen, how will the police be able to identify that its yours if they find it? Try using a UV pen to mark all your tools with your initials. This way thieves will not see it, and no marks will be on your tools to the naked eye. But if ever needed you’ll be able to identify the tools as yours.

UV pens

Check your insurance

Make sure your insurance covers you for all possibilities. Read the small print and make sure you understand what you are covered for. For example, most insurance policies don’t cover you for theft if your doors were unlocked.

Some thieves are persistent and will plan their theft in advance. In these cases it’s quite difficult to stop them doing what they have set out to achieve. However, with these tips and security advice you can make it a lot more difficult for them to get their hands on your things.

Amelia Scholey, Brand and Creative Manager
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