Van Thefts

This past week I have heard from a few different resources that there has been a rash of van thefts in DC over the past few weeks during the daytime. One business referenced they had their 4th stolen in the last two weeks. Most of these appear to be targeting of vans that may have equipment, materials and tools which obviously add to the potentials riches of the theft.

Now we all know there a number of ways by which the thieves are accomplishing these thefts.

Some of you may be surprised by the these statistics which I found in State of Maryland statistics. 25% of the vehicles stolen had the keys in the vehicle. 60% of vehicles were unlocked. Why not provide a welcome mat to the thieves!!

Many may know that thieves are using electronic devices to facilitate thefts.

One example is the blocking of the fob signal as the driver walks away from the vehicle thinking they have locked the doors. Thief waits a moment and then enters an unlocked vehicle. He still has to start the vehicle, but even that has become easier above and beyond “crossing some wires” to jump a vehicle.“ They are logging into the vehicle’s electronics via the on board diagnostics and cloning the key fob.

You can go hog wild spending money to fight many of these issues, but it may be more practical focusing on some basic steps to encourage thieves to move onto the less “protected” vehicle.

  • Don’t leave keys in the vehicle. That includes a hiding a second set of keys
  • Make sure the doors are locked. Double check before you walk away
  • Use multiple locking mechanisms – locking hasps, hockey puck hasps for example
  • Obviously GPS would be good, but that only helps in a recovery mode

Working on managing the material, equipment and tools in the vehicle.

  • Certainly minimizing the amount of material, equipment and tools will help
  • Secure high valued items further via lockboxes, cables, chains, etc.
  • Secure the cargo area from the driver compartment

Please contact me if you have any questions by email at or by phone at 240-864-9169.

Hope this helps, be safe!

Jeff Hixon, Vice President Risk Control and Claims

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