The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Ways to Prevent Vehicle Theft and Break-Ins

October 2017, by Andy Lundin - Also by this author

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Fleet managers looking to prevent theft of fleet vehicles or cargo in their operations are likely aware of the more obvious security practices. This should include keeping valuable objects hidden from snooping criminals, and parking in secured areas, but fleets should go beyond the basics and actively think about vehicle security.

This is crucial because whether a vehicle is enticing or not is really all dependent on the perspective of the thief.

“Not much you can do to prevent a theft if a thief wants that car. There’s got to be something attractive about the car to the thief in the first place,” said Frank Scafidi, director of public affairs for the National Insurance Crime Burea (NICB).

NICB’s ‘Layered Approach’

The NICB offers what it calls the “Layered Approach” to protection, and can certainly apply to fleets. This four layered approach includes utilizing common sense (e.g. Locking your doors), a warning device (e.g. a visible or audible device that alerts thieves the vehicle is protected), immobilizing device (e.g. kill switches), and a tracking device.

Indeed, noting the “warning device” layer to the approach, Scafidi said doing something as simple as adding a security club to the steering wheel can help deter thieves. He said fleets operating in urban environments may want to consider investing in this, or aftermarket security equipment, such as GPS tracking and LoJack services.

However, before investing into safety services and products intended to improve fleet asset security, the fleet manager should consider if any of the equipment is necessary his or her operation.

“You can waste a lot of money hardening your fleet that might be several hundred vehicles, when you really only have to worry about those that are going certain routes with certain products, you might then tailor some of the fleet and restrict some of those high risk areas to a number of vehicles that only run that route,” said Scafidi.

In addition to considering the safety of a given fleet route, Scafidi suggested fleets consider how if the company brand’s itself on its vehicles. Might a thief assume that your fleet’s vehicles carry valuable cargo? If so, what are the conditions of the routes that these loads of cargo taking?

“Depending on what they are advertising, that can be an attractive target for thieves who may want to break in. This is more difficult to prevent, especially if a delivery fleet is overnighting cargo,” he said. “Fleets who do not have a secure road network, they might want to investigate facilities on their route where they can have secured place for a vehicle to park.”

Other Security Considerations

Another important thing to note is the scale of how much thought thieves may place into their crimes.

“These bad guys definitely do some homework on knowing what’s built where and where it ships,” he said. “The more sophisticated thieves will take up surveillance and come out with a schedule and know when a rig is loaded with what, whether it’s a small van or mid-size truck.”

Tracking assets through telematics or services such as LoJack can help eliminate this concern.

Also, looking internally, fleets should consider their drivers. Especially if fleets have vehicles used for personal use. Properly educating drivers on proper security etiquette, regardless of when they drive, is essential, said Scafidi.

“When people are working, they may have a certain mindset, but when they go on vacation in their business car, they may be a little more lax about security and worry less about securing the vehicle,” he said. “We want to try to educate people to take precaution no matter where you are with a vehicle.”

Twitter Facebook Google+


Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:

  1. 1. David McInturf [ October 13, 2017 @ 09:44AM ]

    Excellent points, many of these we share with law enforcement folks not only for their vehicles, that amazingly are often targeted for break-in, but also as information they can share as a public service in their communities.
    Nice article! TruckVault has been providing secure in-vehicle storage for years and we appreciate such well written and helpful articles!


Fleet Incentives

Determine the actual cost of owning and running a vehicle in your fleet. Compare vehicles by class and model.


Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Todd Ewing from Fleetmatics will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fleet Management And Leasing

Jack Firriolo from Merchants will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Sponsored by

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company was founded in 1898 by 38-year-old Frank Seiberling. Goodyear said it is the No. 1 tiremaker in North America and Latin America and Europe's second largest tiremaker.

Read more


Market Trends

Mike Antich
Why Competent Fleet Managers Are Terminated

By Mike Antich
Over the years, I have known many competent fleet managers. But, like salmons swimming upstream, not every promising fleet manager survives the challenges and rigors of day-to-day fleet management. It is understandable when fleet managers are fired for making expensive mistakes or when caught engaging in ethical transgressions, but, sadly, many more are terminated for circumstances that are entirely avoidable.

Forces Threaten to Change Fleet From a Career to a Stepping Stone

By Mike Antich

View All

Driving Notes

Chris Brown
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid

By Chris Brown
The Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid is the least expensive model on the market to offer electric-only range, while offering spirited driving performance and plenty of standard features.

2018 Range Rover Velar First Edition

By Mike Antich

View All

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Sherb Brown
Keep Realistic Fleet Expectations

By Sherb Brown
If you don’t stay on top of the latest developments in mobility, battery technology, autonomous vehicles, and telematics, you are subjecting yourself to the whims of senior management who may be making decisions based on the latest trendy news.

Fleet Management 2.0

By Sherb Brown

View All

Data Points

Dylan Brown
What Are the Most Valuable Services Offered by FMCs?

By Dylan Brown
What do fleet managers value in their relationships with fleet management companies? The answer may surprise you.

Demand More From Your Fuel Card Provider

By Dylan Brown

View All

In Memoriam: Coach's Insights

Ed Bobit
Thinking of the Newbies of the Future

By Ed Bobit
A lot has changed in the past 10-15 years, so we can only imagine this momentum will continue into the next decade-plus. How will this change impact the fleet manager of tomorrow?

Managing a Car vs. Work Truck Fleet

By Ed Bobit

View All


Up Next

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher