Time for a serious talk about vehicle theft. As you’re probably aware, haulage companies and freight forwarders are a prime target for this kind of robbery, particularly during delivery workwhen trucks are filled with valuable cargo and equipment that could be resold. To avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime, here are some precautionary measures that you can take to protect your fleet.
Install Vehicle Cameras and Telematics
The first thing to do is fit your fleet with in-vehicle cameras. There are two major benefits to this. The cameras can collect telematic data and allow you to recover your vehicle, while also recording the thief in action. This footage can then serve as evidence when prosecuting the perpetrator. What’s more, the camera will be evidently visible and act as a deterrent.
You may be concerned about the cost of these installations. I’d say that the benefits outweigh the price, but if the latter is an issue, you’ll be happy to know that you’ve probably already installed some telematic equipment that can be used to protect your vehicles. GPSs, albeit usually used as navigation systems during delivery work, can also track your vehicle’s location and help you recover it if it is ever stolen.
Darken the Window Tint and Fit Safety Glass
If your trucks have windows that are darkened as far as the law allows, then the thief can’t see what is inside the vehicle. Without the promise of a reward, they may choose to break into an alternative lorry. Just in case they do persevere, though, make sure that you have shatter-resistant windows and safety glass to prevent them from cracking the window and entering through it.
Don’t Use Key Lock Boxes
Although they can be useful timesavers when drivers swap vehicles to carry out delivery work, having a key lock box within the vehicle isn’t worth the risk. Any tech-savvy criminal will know how to break it. They’ll then have the keys and can drive off with your vehicle and its cargo.
Install Visible Deterrents
Another great investment is visible deterrents. Using things like steering wheel lock bars, signs or automated immobilisation devices will help deter thieves. Security lights are particularly effective, as their flash signals that you have a security alarm.
Educate Your Drivers
When carrying out delivery work, hauliers sometimes leave the vehicle unattended without locking the doors. If your drivers are distracted while making a service call or collecting cargo, thieves can sneak into the lorry and steal valuables. To avoid such scenarios, it’s worth organising a training session to raise awareness about vehicle theft. You can then provide drivers with useful tips and warn them not to leave their personal belongings in the vehicle whilst it isn’t in operation and always lock the doors when leaving the truck.
These may seem like small installations or obvious habits, but putting them into practice consistently can help deter thieves. It also keeps your drivers safe when they’re out completing delivery work, as they’re less likely to be targeted.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching delivery work with available drivers. Over 5,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.