Safety Signs Blog

Is the No tools stored in this Vehicle overnight sign really a deterrent

9th February 2011 | Warning Signs

Posted by David Arnold

For many years van owners have been the target of criminals. With stock, valuable tools and other equipment left in their vehicles overnight, statistics suggest vans are a frequent target of thieves. Precautions of course can be taken, most notably with van owners using a locking bar and padlock to make it far harder to access their van’s valuable content. Alternatively some van owners like the far more economic and straightforward idea of simply buying a £3 sign that states ‘No tools stored in the vehicle overnight’. What today’s article considers is, is this really a good idea?

The problem that some van owners have with this ‘No tools stored overnight’ sign is that they feel it actually draws attention to their van. It singles their van out from others as one that may well contain something of value. It is the opinion of some that actually their van is less likely to be broken into if they display no sign at all.

This is of course a judgment call. To counter that argument, anecdotal evidence suggests that a high number of lesser crimes, like breaking into vehicles, are done on impulse. Whilst the would-be thief may have the view that he or she will be breaking into a vehicle at some point that day, they will only undertake any such break-in if a suitable vehicle presents itself.

It is for these reasons that the Police advise motorists to remove all valuables like sat navs, camera, phones, laptops and wallets from sight when they leave their vehicles. Simply by putting a sat nav in the glove compartment out of the line of vision will make the would-be thieve think twice. After all, will a would-be criminal break into a vehicle on the off chance that there is something valuable in the glove compartment or will he simply move on to the next vehicle? The truth is often if a criminal is to break in he wants to be as sure as that there is an obvious reward for the substantial risk he is exposing himself to.

Arguably the same may be true with vans: Is a thief really going to break into a van marked with a No tools left in this vehicle overnight sign on the off-chance that the sign is all a cunning ploy to deceive him? Especially with the UK being the CCTV capital of the world, the risk taken by anyone trying to break into a van is not insignificant. In the opinion of this author at least the would-be criminal is actually only likely to break in if he has seen some of the contents of the van when it is locked up and left by the owner – regardless of whether it is displaying the ‘No tools stored’ sign.

Of course a van owner may have a very different view to those expressed above. However, I believe the use of the ‘No tools stored in this vehicle overnight’ sign does indeed reduce rather than increase the chance of the vehicle being singled out as one to be broken into.



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