Nine out of 10 (92%) of the stolen light commercial vehicles (LCVs) Tracker recovered were taken without the owner’s keys in 2019.
Historic data from the stolen vehicle recovery expert shows that has risen dramatically from 44% in 2016.
The Ford Transit was again the most popular van stolen in 2019, according to Tracker data, accounting for nearly half a million pounds worth of recoveries.
“Keyless entry technology has now been widely adopted in the LCV market, and this is evident in the fact that last year, the majority of LCVs were being stolen without the owner’s keys,” explained Clive Wain, head of police liaison at Tracker.
“Today’s tech savvy criminals are commonly using relay-attack tools that can activate a van key fob remotely, fooling the system into unlocking the doors and starting the engine.”
However, the impact of van theft goes beyond the inconvenience of being without a vehicle.
“Victims, whether they are sole traders, small businesses or larger fleet operators, need to consider the financial impact such as the cost of replacing tools and a likely increase in insurance premiums,” added Wain.
According to analysis by EC Insurance Company (ECIC), the cost of insurance claims for theft of tools from vans has increased by 55% with the average theft of tools claim reaching £2,685.
Wain continued: “It is worth remembering it’s not just about protecting your van from being stolen but safeguarding your business too.
“Ideally tools should be removed from vehicles and stored securely elsewhere overnight, or within a secure box fixed inside the van.
“Technology is just one part of vehicle security; more vigilance needs to be taken across the board to ensure all businesses are protecting their livelihoods.”