Almost half of UK van drivers forget to lock their vehicles when parked up, making them easy pickings for thieves.
An alarming 45% of 1,000 drivers quizzed in the study by business comparison site iCompario admitted to failing to secure their van when not in use.
Three-quarters (76%) of those surveyed knowingly leave themselves at risk to thieves, with just a quarter (24%) ensuring they park their van somewhere extra secure at night, where possible.
Of those quizzed almost two-thirds (64%) admitted they failed to remove pricey tools and other valuable items when it’s not being driven, despite them being vital for their jobs.
Despite such an apparent blasé attitude to vehicle security, more than three in four (77%) confess to not having an alarm or immobiliser installed.
Leaving themselves vulnerable to thefts, eight in ten (81%) UK van drivers said they don’t park their van in a way that could stop a thief from being able to break in, such as parking against a wall.
Just three in ten (31%) have a dashcam fitted for when they’re out and about on the roads.
Despite catalytic converter thefts soaring in recent years, an eye-watering 95% of drivers questioned admitted to not securing the device.
A secured compound or workplace car park, a locked garage at home, or the van owner’s driveway were found to be break-in and theft hotspots (32% combined), despite appearing to be some of the most secure options.
And it appears there’s always someone lurking as the most likely time for van-related crime to take place is between 4am and 8am (22%), or between midday and 4pm (21%), according to the survey.
iCompario sent out FOI 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 request for information, Leicestershire was revealed to be the UK’s number one van break-in or theft hotspot, with 10,494 crimes recorded between 2018 and 2022.
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.
Ford Transit van drivers need to be the most vigilant as it’s the 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, while in the number one area for reported van thefts and break-ins, Leicestershire, a total of 1,874 Ford Transits were targeted.
Other van makes and models that have proven most popular with thieves include the Mercedes Sprinter, Vauxhall Vivaro, and the Citroen Berlingo.
Of all areas compared as part of this study, Leicestershire also had the highest number of vans or items that had been stolen from vans that were later recovered 463 (4.4%).
But 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 swiped 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: “As experts in van insurance, whether for work or leisure, we recommend taking lots of precautions to protect your vehicle.
“By failing to do so, you risk not only leaving yourself open to potential thieves, but you may also invalidate your insurance when making a claim.
“Just like regular vehicle maintenance checks, making the time each day to ensure your van is parked safely and securely when not in use should be at the forefront of every van driver’s mind.”
For further information as well as handy hints and tips from iCompario experts for securing your van and its contents, click here.