Annual van thefts predicted to double in the next decade to over 20,000

According to our research, predicted future levels of van theft could double to 20,000 in the next decade - after seeing an 81% increase from 2015 to 2019.

Using UK van theft data, we have predicted the number of vans stolen each year from 2021 to 2030, the van models that are most at risk of theft, the most commonly stolen items and how to prevent your van from being stolen.

Over 20,000 vans predicted to be stolen in 2030

According to our research, by 2030 an average of 56 vans will be stolen each day in the UK - a 60% increase from predicted 2021 figures.

Surprisingly, between 2018 and 2019 there was a drop in the number of vans being stolen per year, with 8,483 vans being stolen in 2018 compared to 8,072 in 2019. However, our study indicates by the year 2030, this will, unfortunately, have grown by over double to 20,531 annual van thefts.

Greater London is predicted to see the largest number of van thefts, reaching 3,827 in 2030

According to our study, London is home to the highest number of van thefts, with figures far above all regions. By 2030, over three thousand vans will be stolen in Greater London alone.

The lowest levels of theft have been reported in the North of England, followed by West Midlands, South West of England and Wales. 

Rank

Region

Daily Van Thefts in 2019

Predicted Number of Van Thefts in 2021

Predicted Number of Van Thefts in 2030

1

Greater London

1,504

2,033

3,827

2

East Midlands

188

255

479

3

Yorkshire and Humberside

145

195

368

4

North West England

112

151

284

5

South East England

110

149

280

6

East England

104

140

263

7

Wales

79

107

201

8

South West England

65

87

164

9

West Midlands

61

82

154

10

North England

59

79

149

The van models most at risk of theft

During 2019, the vans most at risk were Mercedes Sprinter models. This remains the same in 2021, as predictions show the Mercedes Sprinter 313 CDI will be the most stolen van model, increasing to 44 more annual thefts in just two years.

Below shows the top 10 most stolen vans:

Rank

Company

Van Model

Van Thefts in 2019

Predicted Number of Van Thefts in 2021

1

Mercedes

SPRINTER 313 CDI

1,460

1,504

2

Mercedes

SPRINTER 314 CDI

1,135

1,313

3

Ford

TRANSIT 350

712

1,104

4

Ford

TRANSIT 125 T350 RWD

772

932

5

Ford

TRANSIT 100 T350 RWD

434

482

6

Ford

TRANSIT CUSTOM 290 ECO-TECH

280

434

7

Ford

TRANSIT 115 T350L RWD

451

411

8

Ford

TRANSIT 100 T280 FWD

327

351

9

Ford

TRANSIT 100 T260 FWD

279

277

10

Ford

TRANSIT 85 T280S FWD

263

227

Unsurprisingly, tools are the most commonly stolen items from van break-ins

Nearly 67% of break-ins include having tools stolen, and research shows that only 1% are ever recovered due to their high resale value, leaving a devastating impact on tradespeople and their ability to do their job.

The second most stolen item in van thefts is equipment which includes van safes, ladders and storage. Personal items, including wallets and cards, contribute to 41.7% of all stolen items from vans and data reveals that just 5.6% of items stolen include cash.

Helpful handyman tips to avoiding van theft

Taking into consideration the prevalence of van theft, we have also pulled together 5 top tips for keeping your van, and its contents, as safe as possible. 

1. Locking your van

Simple? Yes, but remembering to always lock your van is the first and most essential tip to protecting your van and contents. 

Consider adding extra security, such as a slam fitted lock which automatically locks the door when it's shut. 

2. Add your own safety measures 

Although a more expensive option, adding a GPS tracker into your van is worth it as the police can keep track of your vehicle if it's stolen, giving you a much higher chance of getting it and your belongings back.

Consider labelling your tools with a UV pen too, this appears invisible to the naked eye but can be identified by police if your stolen tools are recovered.  

Lastly, keep an inventory of your tools - write down the makes and quantities you have so in the worst case, you can quickly identify what’s been stolen.

3. Safely storing valuables

Don't leave your valuables on display. If your wallet is on show, keys visible and tools sprawled, you have a higher chance of thieves peering in.

Removing your valuables each evening is the safest option. However, if your belongings, such as your tools need to be kept in the van, consider investing in a safe that’s been tested and recognised against crime.

4. Think twice about parking 

Parking in a place that will deter thieves will likely lower your chances of a robbery. We recommend parking so that your doors are inaccessible, ie. against a wall or fence, blocking direct access to them. This will help avoid 'peel and steal' - the common tactic where a door is wrenched off without the use of any tools.

Think sensibly and park in a guarded, busy and well-lit area, with CCTV around whenever possible.

5. Insurance 

A van insurance spokesperson at Compare the Market adds; “Having insurance won't prevent your personal items, tools or van from being stolen but it can make the aftermath less stressful. It is worth spending the time understanding what your insurance covers, if you don’t already know, or before you take out a new policy. This way you can be confident that your van and your contents are covered in the worst-case scenario.”

Sources & Methodology

Predictions on van thefts are based on using a linear regression formula and historical data from 2015 to 2019.

When finding the number of vans stolen regionally, percentage change YoY was used to calculate previous years by using later year data divided by 100, plus the percentage change from the previous year. All regional theft data reflects the average van thefts per constabulary, excluding those areas that did not answer the original Freedom of Information request.

An exponential growth line was mapped to historic data in order to predict future results. All Wales data was applied to North Wales. There was no data available for Scotland or Northern Ireland.