iCompario also found 64% of drivers admitted failing to remove their tools and other valuable items from their van when it is not being driven, despite the vital role these items play in their livelihood.
Nearly all those surveyed (95%) were yet to secure the catalytic converter on their vehicle, despite thefts of this extremely valuable part increasing significantly since the first Covid-19 lockdown began in March 2020.
Meanwhile, 81% also said they do not park their van in a way that could stop a thief from being able to open or break the lock such as parking against a wall, with just 24% ensuring they park somewhere extra secure at night.
When asked about previous break-ins and thefts, a secured compound or workplace car park, a locked garage at home, or the van owner’s driveway were found to be hotspots (32% combined), despite appearing to be some of the most secure options.
According to the study, the most likely times for van related crime to take place is between 4am and 8am (22%), or between midday and 4pm (21%).
iCompario also sent out FOI (Freedom of Information) requests to police forces across the country to find out how many vans were stolen or broken into between 2018-2022.
Of the 21 police authorities that responded to the FOI, Leicestershire was the UK’s number one van break-in or theft hotspot, with 10,494 crimes recorded between 2018 and 2022.
Van Theft and Break-Ins: The UK Hotspots
1. Leicestershire – 10,494
2. Hertfordshire – 9,740
3. Avon and Somerset – 6,832
4. Surrey – 5,145
5. South Wales – 3,919
6. Derbyshire – 3,724
7. Northamptonshire – 3,523
8. Sussex – 3,180
9. West Midlands – 2,974
10. Dorset – 2,591
11. Cheshire – 1,830
12. Staffordshire – 1,448
13. Gwent – 1,362
14. South Yorkshire – 1,226
15. Nottinghamshire – 1,130
Other areas of the UK that have experienced high numbers of van related crimes included Hertfordshire (9,740), Avon and Somerset (6,832), Surrey (5,145), and South Wales (3,919).
Comparatively, the Welsh counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, and Powys have seen the lowest numbers of van crimes, with just 50 recorded since 2018.
UK Areas with Lowest Numbers of Van Thefts and Break-Ins
1. Welsh counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, and Powys – 50
2. Cumbria – 86
3. Cleveland – 550
4. North Yorkshire – 654
5. Cambridgeshire – 783
The Ford Transit is the van most targeted make and model by thieves across the whole of the country, according to the FOI findings.
In Hertfordshire alone 4,685 were targeted between 2018 and 2022, whilst in the number one area for reported van thefts and break-ins, Leicestershire, a total of 1,874 Ford Transit’s were targeted.
Of all areas compared as part of this study, Leicestershire also boasted the highest number of vans or items that had been stolen from vans that were later recovered 463 (4.4%).
However, when looking at percentages, overall, Cumbria police force are leading the way having recovered a fifth (20%) of the vans or their contents that had previously been stolen in their area.
On the opposite end of the table, Sussex Police have the lowest recovery rate – just 3% (46) of the vans or contents stolen here between 2018 and 2022 were returned to their owners.
Kerry Fawcett, digital director at iCompario said: “We recommend taking plenty of precautions to protect your vehicle. By failing to do so, you risk not only leaving yourself open potential thieves, but you may also invalidate your insurance when having to make a claim.
“Much like the regular vehicle maintenance checks that should be made like topping up your oil or checking your tyre pressure, making the time each day to ensure you van is parked safely and securely when not in use should be at the forefront of every van driver’s mind.”