From the smallest to the biggest fleets, getting a vehicle stolen is something that can have a dramatic impact on your budget and workload. Just as a vehicle is taken off the road due to a maintenance problem or after an accident, when a vehicle is stolen we unfortunately cannot only worry about its market value, but are forced to assess all of the financial implications associated with losing such an asset: the need for a replacement (whether permanent or transitional), the need for a quick solution right after the crisis to securing a replacement and, in some cases, having to worry about the items that were inside the vehicle.
Vehicle theft is still a significant issue. In Ireland, it has been calculated that in 2015 the vehicle theft rate amounted to an average of 137.6 cases for every 100,000 of the population. According to data shared covering the period 2017/2018, there were over 106,000 vehicle thefts in England and Wales, showing an increase of almost 15,000 cases when compared with the previous year—an eight year high for this type of crime. The number of motor theft claims paid by insurers in the first quarter of this year in the UK were at their highest for any quarter since 2012.
We’d like to share ten top tips to minimise the risks connected with vehicle theft.
#1 – Nothing is too obvious. Lock the vehicle’s doors, windows and then double-check. Precautions are never too fussy. You would be surprised at just how many times negligence or inattention can lead to theft.
#2 – Maintain your vehicles. Locking systems are part of the maintenance of a vehicle. If you regularly take care of your assets, you can minimise the possibility of a theft.
#3 – Do not leave any belongings in the vehicle. Electronic devices (laptops and tablets) top the ranking of the most robbed items from a vehicle. The simple fact of leaving something visibly in your company car might tempt opportunistic thieves.
#4 – Do the same for your working tools whenever possible. If this isn’t practical, ensure that the method you use for storing tools in your vehicle is some kind of secure locker with a number combination that is sturdy enough to discourage all but the most determined thieves.
#5 – Use some permanent marking on your belongings. You should consider using an invisible identifiable marker on your tools and equipment that is visible under ultra-violet light—it can make them much easier to trace and their ownership indisputable, should they be stolen.
#6 – Consider investing in an alarm. Particularly noisy and sensitive alarms can be a great deterrent to thieves.
#7 – Low budget? Maybe even just an alarm sticker is worth a try. Display that on your vehicles; it might surprise you how effective it can be...
#8 – Look into installing a dashcam. They not only offer a viewpoint of the external environment so you can easily check for any suspicious activity around your vehicle by prospective thieves, but they could also help in the event of an accident and also help improve safety for your drivers.
#9 – Check out telematics. If you haven’t already done so—and you might be one of the very last ones!— check out the installation of vehicle tracking and telematics to locate your vehicles at any given time, 365 days a year. You can even get started with our free trial.
#10 – Park your vehicles in a secure area (assuming they aren’t in the depot) that is busy during the day and preferably well-lit and as busy as possible at night.