Three clever ways criminals are breaking into vans (and how to stop them)

Transport and logistics

21 September 2018

As vans become more modern, so too do the methods criminals use to break in to your vehicle.

We've all heard of the classic smash 'n' grab – where petty thieves break a window and nab whatever's inside – but criminals are becoming much more savvy, with new methods being deployed to counteract advances in technology and security.

These three weird and (not so) wonderful methods have been spotted across the country, so we're giving you the lowdown on what they are and, most importantly, how to protect your business van from them.

1. Door peeling

Tradesmen are increasingly using better locks and sensors in their vans to prevent break-ins. However the 'peel and steal' craze is one way thieves are using to get around it. By some estimates it happens five times a day in Britain, with hotspots in Wales, Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

What is it?

Would-be thieves are using methods to literally peel back the door of the van. And, as most vans have a solid bulkhead, sensors in the front won't pick up what's going on in the back.

They don't need any special tools for this either, so it's hard for police to target them. It takes a matter of minutes to do and, even if the van is empty, it can leave the owner with a hefty bill for the damage – often over £1,000.

How to stop it

It's all about clever parking. Try to position your sliding and rear doors as close to a wall or sturdy fence as possible so that the thieves can't get easy access to these entry points.

2. Key-fob hacking

This tech-savvy method doesn't involve any sort of muscle – just a small gadget which modern-day thieves use to access your vehicle.

What is it?

Key-fob hacking involves intercepting and replicating the radio signal sent from your key fob to your vehicle locks. You don't even need to unlock your car for theives to intercept the signal, as they can intercept it when your keys are sitting innocently on your bedside table.

How to stop it

Keep your keys in a special Faraday pouch. This is lined with a foil that stops radio waves from getting in, making it impossible for thieves to use relay devices.

3. Exposing the locks

Last year a British van driver gained notoriety for showing off a new trick that thieves used to break into his van by accessing the central locking system.

What is it?

Thieves simply use a little know-how and some tools to expose and manipulate the central locking system on some vans. Once exposed, this method leaves the van completely open and vulnerable to attack. And because it can be done so quickly, it poses a danger to tradesmen who leave their van in the car park while they nip into hardware shops for supplies.

How to stop it

Invest in extra security, such as deadlocks, to keep your vehicle safe and secure, but always let your insurer know if you’re fitting any new devices or making modifications to your vehicle.

From adding extra locks to being mindful of where you park, there are a number of easy steps you can implement to help deter thieves from targeting your van. And knowing that you’ve got the right van insurance to keep you on the road if your vehicle comes to an unexpected stop could help give you extra peace of mind, and more importantly, keep your business going no matter what.

Keep your van moving – no matter what

At AXA, we want to make sure protecting your van, and keeping your business moving, is as simple as possible. Take a look at our help and advice for van drivers, and once you have the information you need, get a business van insurance quote and save 10% when you book online.