Thefts of commercial vehicles and plant have doubled since the lockdown began as thieves take advantage of unattended sites.
The figures come from Radius Telematics, which says the big increase in thefts comes after many offices, factories and construction sites were idled in response to government guidelines.
Radius Telematics, a newly branded group formed within Radius Payment Solutions, acquired two companies last year that had a substantial proportion of their business in vehicle and plant security and both are reporting significant spikes in thefts.
“From security tracker alerts we have seen a doubling in plant and van theft since the lockdown began. It’s incredible that when we are all self-isolating and worrying about a deadly virus, crime is being committed while people and organisations are so vulnerable,” said Greville Coe, managing director of Radius Telematics.
Examples include a van stolen from a hospice for the terminally ill. The incident in Coventry on 29 March saw a property belonging to The Myton Hospices ransacked and their Ford Transit van stolen. Fortunately, the vehicle was fitted with a Sure-Track tracker previously donated by Radius Telematics and the vehicle was safely recovered after three days.
However, the firm has warned that thefts of vehicles and plant not equipped with security devices may go unreported for many days or even weeks.
Coe added: “It’s shocking that thieves would target a charity caring for the terminally ill in what is an exceptionally difficult time. Radius Telematics tracking services remain fully operational irrespective of the travel and business restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus crisis. We hope we can help to ensure that essential services can be delivered with minimal disruption.”
Radius Telematics is not the only firm to warn about the effects of the coronavirus lockdown on crime. Although the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said on Saturday (11 April) that overall crime has dropped 21% during the outbreak, there have been concerns over unused vehicles.
More recently, Tracker has warned that manufacturing shutdowns could see more vehicles stolen for their parts. It’s warned drivers to take extra care, including fully securing vehicles and keeping remote locking keys as far away from the vehicle as possible, and in a closed tin so that they are protected against relay-attacks.