A new craze in the UK called ‘peel and steal’ by the police, also known as 'peek and seek', is a technique thieves are using to steal tools and equipment from vans.
The technique involves thieves grabbing the top of the van's back or side doors with their fingers, putting their knees against the door and using their bodyweight to pull them down, revealing the contents inside.
Campaigners estimate that five of these types of crimes are taking place every day in the UK, with Yorkshire, Wales and the West Midlands the worst affected areas.
The majority of vans on the market are vulnerable to this type of van security breach. The concern is that van doors can be peeled down even when they are locked with this technique - and it can be done by anybody.
Improve your van security
According to a recent survey, 98% of tradesmen fear stolen tools. To avoid the theft of tools and prevent this ‘peel and steal’ technique, we need to be proactive. Businesses need to think about what protocols they have in place to resist these attacks. Here we’ve outlined just some of the ways your business can prevent van theft:
- Alarms and locks: To deter thieves using this technique, make sure your alarm is fully functional and consider having extra locks fitted to strengthen your doors.
- Location, location, location: If you need to leave tools in your van, try to park in a busy, well-lit area and, where possible, back your rear doors against a wall to make access more difficult and increase your van security.
- Take out your tools: Removing tools from work vans whenever possible is the most common advice to avoid theft from vans. Unfortunately, this doesn’t prevent you from being a victim of the ‘peel and steal’ technique – after all, the idea is that thieves ‘peek’ inside the van first, regardless of what might be in it, to see if there is anything worth stealing. Granted they can’t steal something that’s not in there in the first place, but most of the damage at this point has been done.
- Do your research: It’s always a good idea to research the security vulnerabilities of each vehicle type in your fleet – or speak to either a vehicle security expert or major van hire company to get up-to-date knowledge about vans and the latest theft techniques.