Tool theft. As far as crimes go, it sounds pretty innocuous. It’s not as personal as a home robbery, or as limiting as a vehicle theft. But for many tradespeople, the theft of their tools is as detrimental to them as having their van stolen or their home broken into. Because, put simply: No tools = No work.
Unfortunately, tool theft is on the up – and the numbers make for pretty shocking reading.
In the UK, tools are stolen from vans once every 20 minutes. That’s a total of over 28,681 cases in 2019 alone, and it equates to 78 thefts per day.
That number adds up to a lot of workmen twiddling their thumbs each year. And while some van insurance policies now offer next day tool replacement, there are plenty that don’t.
Putting tools in a van, locking the van and hoping for the best, clearly isn’t enough to prevent them being targeted by thieves. So, what can you, and other workmen and workwomen do to keep your tools safe?
Let’s look at the options…
1: Utilise deterrents.
Prevention is better than cure, so the old adage goes, and one of the most obvious deterrents is making sure that your van states loud and proud that ‘No Tools are Kept in This Van Overnight’.
Think about it – if a random chancer of a thief is cruising your street in search of opportunity, and he sees your van, with the sticker, and a van next door without one – which van do you think he’s going to target? It’s a simple measure, with very little effort required, but one that can make a difference.
2: Park your van carefully.
If you’re on site, try and park your van inside the site at all times, as close to where you are working as possible. If your van has a side entry door, try and park it up against a wall on that side, to stop any opportunists sneaking in unseen, out of sight.
If you minimise the amount of access points available to a thief, and park somewhere there is a lot of activity, your van will become a less appealing target than the van that is parked in the quiet side street.
3: Invest in a good van alarm system.
Make sure you limit any entry opportunities with a good alarm system. Of course, all modern vans have built-in alarms as standard, but there are lots of options on the market to upgrade your van alarm system to add an extra layer of security.
All the alarms and the van locks in the world won’t stop a thief who is desperate to break in, but an upgraded system (and again, a notice on your van stating you have enhanced your security) is a good deterrent. It is also worth investing on extra locks on the side and rear doors.
4: Organise the inside of your van.
You’ve fixed up the exterior of your van as much as you can to make it the least appealing prospect to thieves. But if a thief decides to break in regardless and, once they are in, it’s a free for all, with tools all over the place, you can kiss them goodbye.
This is where you need to be brutally honest with yourself.
Yes, at the end of a hard day, the last thing you may want to do is to organise your van neatly before you leave the site, but actually, a well organised van can save time and money. Not only will you know where things are (and if you’ve left anything behind), but the chances are that they will stay there too.
5: Explore the options for built-in, lockable van storage.
There are so many great options to choose from, that can not only secure your tools inside your van, but also help organise your tools so you can easily find what you are looking for.
Our Armogard Strongbank Van Boxes can be bolted into the floor of the van, and feature 5 lever deadlocks, anti-drill plates and extra reinforcement.
We offer a range of tool boxes, large storage and low-profile, fixable secure storage to keep tools together and most importantly – where you left them.
6: Take your most valuable tools on-site with you.
Your best way to protect your tools is to have them by your side, on site, where you can see them. But it’s not unusual for tools to also go missing on site, either by accident, where they are borrowed, but not returned, or they ‘accidentally’ make their way into someone else’s tool kit.
A safe, secure trolley box, which can be moved on castors, like the Armorgard Oxbox keeps the tools that you need safe and secure and by your side during your day.
7: Consider on-site, secure storage.
For site managers, there is nothing more frustrating than a workman who can’t work because his drill doesn’t have enough charge, or he’s forgotten a tool he vitally needed that day.
Safeoptions offer a range of on-site security which includes power tool charging lockers, modular steel walk-in secure storage and a range of high security safes for keeping site keys and other vital valuables safe and secure, day and night.
8: Take your tools indoors at night.
At the end of a hard day, it’s easy to park the van on the drive and head inside to get a shower and forget about work. But if you don’t have to leave your tools in the van, then choose not to.
A garage fitted out with lockable storage, or a safe place inside the home is always a better option than leaving your tools to the mercy of thieves. In other words – do what your van sticker says you do – don’t leave tools in the van overnight.
Let’s face it, we all want an easy life and there’s nothing wrong with wanting that. Life can be hard. But when you’re on site, swapping stories, do you really want to be the guy whose tools got stolen twice already this year? Don’t be that guy.
Instead, be the guy who makes it look effortless, who always knows where his tools are, and who can go offsite for lunch, safe in the knowledge that his tools will be where he left them, so he can get back on them and get the job done.
… Be that ‘get the job done’ guy.