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8 Ways You Can Prevent Tool Theft

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In the UK, a van is broken into every 23 minutes. As a result, you probably know someone who has been a victim of tool theft if you haven’t yourself. Therefore, you’ll know what a nightmare it can be.

Not only do you have to pay to replace the stolen goods and repair the damage done to your vehicle, but it can mean going days, if not weeks, without working.

Thieves are always looking for the easiest way to get into a vehicle. That’s why it’s essential to deter them and make it as difficult as possible to get to your tools.

Latest Tool Theft Figures From London

Almost £57,000 of tools were stolen every day in 2020, according to data from the Metropolitan Police. There were 28,338 tool thefts reported between January 2019 and May 2021 – about 32 incidents a day.

It appears that thieves are ten times more likely to steal powered hand tools than non-powered hand tools, with 32,067 taken from 2019 to 2021, compared to 2,993 non-powered hand tools. In addition, 1,942 garden tools were stolen in the same period across the capital.

Tool Theft In The UK

Theives stole £83 million worth of tools in England and Wales between 2017 and 2019; only 3% of owners were reunited with their tools.

More than a quarter of tools are taken from vehicles (28%), with a fifth stolen from homes and 10% missing from worksites or places of business.

A survey of tradespeople by Opinium last year found roofers were the worst-hit group. 65% said they’d had tools stolen, followed by 58% of electricians, 55% of plumbers (55%) and 54% of carpenters.

Parliament is considering legislation requiring marketplace websites to list the serial numbers of power tools and equipment so police and victims can track stolen goods. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, 84% of tradespeople don’t believe enough is done to prevent tool theft.

1. Lock Up

Most people automatically lock their vehicles once they park on the drive at their home. However, what about when you’re unloading materials or tools or popping back into the garage to grab something? It’s essential to keep your van locked up whether you’re away from it for 5 minutes or 5 seconds.

2. Store Tools Elsewhere

Nowadays, many break-ins can be from ‘peal and steal’ and electronic key fobs, so even well-secured vans are at risk. If possible, remove tools from your vehicle, reducing the risk of losing them overnight. If this isn’t possible, invest in a lockable chest.

3. Keep Keys Hidden

Keeping your keys by the front door may be convenient for when you need to grab them in a rush, but it’s also convenient for thieves. They won’t refrain from using a coat hanger or piece of wire through the letterbox to get at them.

4. Park Smart

Park with sliding or rear doors against a wall or sturdy fence, so it’s difficult to open them. It would also help if you parked in busy, well-lit areas – preferably in view of a CCTV camera. Take a look at Park Mark– the UK Safer Parking Scheme.

5. Sound The Alarm

Most modern vehicles have fitted alarms; however, if you have an older van, installing an alarm system is crucial. An alarm will alert people close by to activity and most likely scare a thief away before they have time to take anything.

6. Mark Your Tools

Having identification marks on your pools (e.g. from paint or permanent marker) makes it more difficult for thieves to sell stolen tools. It can also help you as the owner recognise and prove ownership of tools if recovered.

7. Record Serial Numbers

Note serial numbers and the make and model of your tools. If you are the victim of tool theft, having this information will help you prove ownership if the police recover the items. It will also ease the process of making an insurance claim.

8. Insure Your Tools

Replacing tools can be expensive. Whether you have standalone tool insurance or it’s part of your business insurance policy, insurance will help support you through the financial shock of tool theft. Check your policy and if you don’t already have your tools insured, consider adding it on. Pay attention to the limits and excesses and if there are any exceptions to be aware of.

For more information, visit WTIB or contact Info@woottontaylor.co.uk.

All data correct at time of publication.