Fleet vehicles tend to be an attractive target for theft because they are well-marked and typically carrying valuable products and tools. And, according to Carol Kaplan, director of Public Affairs at the National Insurance Crime Bureau, vehicle theft also tends to be a crime of opportunity rather than a well-planned operation, meaning there are quite a few things fleet drivers can do to help prevent theft.
“The professional thieves will go on the hunt looking for cars and will find the ones that are compromised and pick on those,” says Kaplan. She continues, “However, if you’re parked on a city street and have left a laptop on the passenger seat, you might have somebody who’s really hard up who will smash the window and grab it. The professional thieves are out there searching, checking doors in parking lots. It’s a crime of opportunity because they’re looking for that one car that has left an opportunity for them.”
- Don’t leave a vehicle running, even if you’ll just be inside a business for a “minute.”
- Make sure vehicles are locked both when in motion and when they’re parked and unattended.
- Don’t leave keys or fobs in vehicles.
- Park in well-lit locations.
- Stow valuables (e.g., laptops, phones, or purses) out of sight before leaving home, company headquarters, or a previous stop.
Additionally, Kaplan recommends against using magnetic signs instead of painted or wrapped logos. “I think those are really easy for thieves to remove and make it harder to identify the company’s vehicle if it’s stolen,” she said.
If your company doesn’t already use telematics or some other GPS tracking system, that can also aid in recovering a stolen fleet vehicle. Most importantly, use common sense and lock the doors.