Sadly, nearly 25% of tradespeople have experienced theft in the past 5 years, and the theft of the vehicle itself is also rising. That means having to deal with police reports, insurance claims and a whole list of other time-wasting issues. And when a wheelchair van is stolen it is devastating.
Disabled individuals and seniors who require a mobility van conversion to get to doctor appointments, grocery shopping or to visit friends and family lose their independence. Imagine waking up to find your wheelchair accessible van has been stolen – a van that costs upwards of $50,000. It’s not jus the money involved; rather, it’s taking away their ability to live their lives as they choose. It’s not only happening in large cities. In Bozeman, Montana a wheelchair van was stolen in front of an apartment complex that left a 16-year old high school sophomore confined to a power wheelchair without means of transportation to school, or anywhere else.
Prevention – the Best Way to Stop Wheelchair Van Theft
The old adage of, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has never been more appropriate than it is in the case of mobility vans. Simple steps can make a big difference between a thief taking the vehicle or simply walking away to choose another target.
So what are some of those steps? Start by locking the vehicle. Not just the standard door locks that come with the vehicle, but simple add-ons like the Stoplock that is fitted to the rear door and makes it harder to pry open. It’s an extra security measure that deters thieves. It does require professional installation, but it’s worth the time and money involved.
Another simple device is a steering wheel lock. It’s not new, but police and security experts advise van owners to place it on the steering wheel as a good deterrent to theft. As one of the most popular theft prevention devices, steering wheel locks are available in many different sizes and can be adapted to fit most mobility vans.
Something else to consider is where you park your van. A dark, quiet street or deserted area is an open invitation to thieves to “come have a look” at your vehicle. Instead, park on a busy, well-lit street that has lots of traffic. That way the thieves can’t pull off their clandestine efforts.
Thieves aren’t only interested in the van or its contents. Another prime target is the catalytic converter. They contain precious metals that thieves steal to convert to cash. How to stop this? Simply install a catalytic anti-theft device and the thieves will probably give up before they even start. It’s old school, but it’s a good way to prevent vehicle theft.That’s all there is to it. You do your due diligence with preventative measures and you follow it up with the technology that can aid police in returning your vehicle to its rightful owner – you! This way wheelchair van thefts can be reduced significantly.