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Vehicle Theft: Are you safeguarding your fleet?

In the face of rising vehicle theft, Teletrac Navman’s marketing director, Peter Millichap, talks about how operators can benefit from using the latest technology to reduce risk.

After years of decline, the number of vehicles now being stolen in the UK has risen to its highest level in almost a decade; in the financial year 2013-14, Home Office figures reveal that some 75,308 vehicles were stolen, but by 2017-18 that had risen by 48% to 111,999.

Yet the rise in offences has not been matched by a rise in the number of criminals being brought to justice, which suggests that thieves have found ways around security systems and methods of selling vehicles on without being caught. What’s more, the uplift in overall motor theft imposes an increased risk that fleet operators could be targeted. After all, trucks, lorries, vans and fleet cars are all valuable assets.

Rising insurance premiums is one of the main issues weighing on the minds of the UK’s fleet operators. Every vehicle stolen and not returned safely represents a cost that is shared by every operator as the insurance industry looks to recoup its losses. Moreover, the impact on individuals and businesses who suffer from this type of crime can’t be underestimated; having one or more vehicles stolen can cause major disruption for operators, not to mention costly downtime, which can impact revenue streams.

With an alarming increase in the number of cars stolen over the last few years, it is more important than ever that the industry does all it can to prevent vehicles from being misappropriated. It is imperative that operators adapt to these conditions by not only installing simple deterrents, such as protective windows and steering wheel locks, but also by embracing technology to ensure their fleet is safe and can be tracked at all times.

There is a rise in anti-theft developments from vehicle manufacturers, however these costly innovations tend to be limited to more premium models, and therefore telematics could be more fully utilised to tackle problems like vehicle theft.

Operators can create a safer fleet by deploying telematics security features such as sophisticated immobilisers, tracking devices and in-vehicle cameras, to help enhance fleet visibility and protect their vehicles and drivers. These technologies can help to track and recover a vehicle if it has been stolen and access evidence for both the repossession of the vehicle and prosecution of the theft.

Managing a fleet can be a complex job, and whilst theft is always an issue, these recent figures suggest that operators could benefit from tightening their security measures, to mitigate the impact on their business and not draw focus from day-to-day operations.

Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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