Keyless van theft up in 2019

The number of vans stolen without the use of keys increased dramatically in 2019

van driving down a road

Keyless van thefts are on the rise with 92% of recovered light commercial vehicles (LCVs) being taken without keys – up from 44% in 2016, according to data from Tracker.

Using a method called relay theft, the most commonly stolen van in 2019 was once again the Ford Transit, which accounted for almost half a million pounds worth of recoveries.

Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker, said: “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. 

“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.”

To try and avoid this happening to you, make sure your key is kept as far from the front door as possible so its signal can't be picked up.

You could also store your keys in a metal box overnight, as the metal helps block the signal. A Faraday pouch or container is lined with layers of metallic material and works in the same way. 

The impact of van theft goes beyond the inconvenience of being without a vehicle, particularly if you keep expensive tools in your van. 

“It’s worth remembering it’s not just about protecting your van from being stolen but safeguarding your business too,” Mr Wain said. 

Having Vehicle Contents Cover cover can help ease any financial impact. To protect the contents of your van, keep it locked at all times. If it has an open cargo area, make sure any items stored here are in a locked toolbox or chest that’s fixed down. 

Mr Wain added: “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.”

For more on relay theft and tips to avoid it happening to you, see our guide Relay theft: how to protect your car against it.

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