Dog in Van

Preventing Vehicle Theft: A 3-Point Checklist

Posted by Stacey Papp

In February 2015, on one of the coldest days of the winter, a doggie daycare van filled with seven pups was stolen from the streets of Chicago. The driver had left the van idling for just a few moments when, according to surveillance video, two men got in the vehicle and drove it away — with all the animals in tow.  

The pooches spent a frigid night in the van before a hair salon owner noticed one of them shivering in its window the next morning. The thieves apparently abandoned the vehicle a few miles away after discovering it was filled with pets. 

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. Aside being a little cold, the dogs were unharmed. They might have been discovered even sooner, however, if the doggie daycare owners had implemented a few simple tools. 

What about your fleet? Do you know how to prevent vehicle theft? Here’s a checklist to help keep your fleet intact.

1. Do you always know where your vehicles are?
You’re probably thinking, jeez, I’m not psychic. Fleet tracking software, however, makes it simple to keep tabs on each and every vehicle. A detailed dashboard accompanied by a mapping engine will let you see where each truck is at any given moment. 
And if one does get stolen, you’ll be able to coordinate with police to show them its location. The fleet tracking device itself is so small and placed in such an unobtrusive place, thieves may be none the wiser. 

Not only will it take you to the vehicle, it just might take you to the thieves themselves. In the case of the dogs, they spent a cold night in the van and the thieves were nowhere to be found. If the van had fleet tracking installed, however, police would have been able to find it quicker — and perhaps the thieves, too.

2. Do you get alerts when something sketchy is happening?
If a vehicle is stolen from your lot, chances are you won’t know it’s gone until you show up for work the next day. 

But what if you got a heads up anytime a vehicle did something it wasn’t supposed to — say, it started a trip in the middle of the night or began traveling off route? Fleet tracking software is like a little buddy that will poke your shoulder whenever anything abnormal happens, according to your presets. Then you’ll be able to investigate and, if necessary, get police on the case sooner rather than later. 

3. Do you have a panic button on trucks?
And now, the worst-case scenario: a vehicle is stolen while the driver is in it. The idea of a carjacking is terrifying, but installing a panic button can give drivers a little more peace of mind. 

The doggie daycare driver originally said he was carjacked at gunpoint (he wasn’t, but that’s something for him and his boss to work out). If he had been, pressing the panic button would have gotten police on the case. The van — and the dogs — might have been recovered in a matter of minutes. 

Your fleet is your biggest asset — and depending on your industry, if you lose even one vehicle, it can have a huge impact on your customers. Just think about that van full of dogs. A few precautions can go a long way toward ensuring that your business and all of its precious cargo stay safe and sound.

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