According to Boilerguide, a van is broken into every 23 minutes in the UK and 50% of tradespeople have been a victim of van crime on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, for many tradespeople, their tools are essential for them to do their job and can be incredibly expensive to replace, with the average value of each theft standing at £1,692.
Research from Direct Line revealed that over £83 million worth of tools have been stolen across England and Wales in the last 3 years, equating to an average of £83,500 of equipment going missing every day. Disappointingly, only 3% of stolen tools are reunited with their owners after being reported to police, meaning the trades industry is losing out on £80 million worth of tools every year.
Interestingly, most van thefts happen on a Thursday and the Top Ten areas most at risk of van and tool theft are as follows:
How To Protect Your Tools From Theft
Fit Van Door Lock Cover Plates
Thieves commonly break into vans by forcing a screwdriver or sharp tool through the small gap between the door handle and vehicle body, and then levering onto the back of the OE lock which mimics the turning of a key. Fitting plates that go around the locks is a relatively cheap method of preventing someone from gaining access to your vans, costing roughly £60 each.
The plates are often made of stainless steel and work by being fitted behind the manufacturers door lock, preventing the thief from gaining access. This method may even stop them from attempting to break in in the first place, as although it is behind the handle, it is still visible to a would-be thief, acting as a useful deterrent.
Install a Vehicle Tracking Device
Not only do thieves take tools, but they may also take the van along with them. Anti-theft devices such as GPS trackers act as powerful deterrents, but even if a daring thief decides to take the chance, you can track them down using real-time GPS updates and set geo-fence alerts that notify you when your vehicle enters or exits a location at a certain time. This is a good way of seeing if your vehicle is moving when it shouldn’t be.
Fleetsmart uses only the most sophisticated technology that is constantly being developed further in-house to ensure tracking is as accurate as possible, including the European tracking so you can even keep an eye on your vehicles when they are operating outside of the UK. According to Farsight, a vehicle is stolen every 9 minutes in the UK and nowadays, stolen cars are often shipped overseas and refurbished or repainted with all identification removed, so they can’t be traced. A vehicle tracking system will help to stop this kind of theft. We also offer remote immobilisation as an optional add-on, allowing you to ensure your vehicle won’t start when the ignition is turned on by the wrong person.
With a Fleetsmart tracker on your vehicle, or with a fleet of tracked vehicles, you can relax knowing you are always able to locate your vehicles. Not only does this help to protect you from losing your tools and vehicles, but most insurance companies are willing to give you a discount if you have a vehicle tracker fitted.
For more information, get in touch with us today.
Always Lock Your Van
This might seem obvious, but you may be surprised to find that lots of tool thefts take place in broad daylight when the driver is back and forth doing their job without locking their van. Thieves will take any opportunity they can to get a quick steal, so make sure you don’t give it to them by leaving your van unlocked or open and unattended to.
Park In Well Lit Areas
Parking in a private garage/road or a busy street with lots of light and CCTV cameras can help to deter a thief from stealing from your van as they are more likely to get caught. Even if they do manage to steal your tools or vehicle, with the help of CCTV you should be able to either identify the person or find out where they went with your property.
Don’t Leave Tools In Your Van Overnight
For someone with many tools, this may be easier said than done, however, just taking some of your most valuable tools out of the van at night can stop them from being stolen. Having a sticker that states ‘no tools are left in this van overnight’ may also act as a deterrent, though thieves often still take their chances.
Similarly, don’t leave anything valuable on display. Even an empty bag left in a footwell could attract a thief and whilst they may not actually take anything, you could still be left with a broken window or door which can be costly to repair.
Mark Your Tools
Using forensic marking solutions can make your property far less appealing to thieves as it is visible under UV light. By using stickers to warn thieves of the solution, you could potentially deter someone from stealing your tools.
Whilst these methods can deter a thief, it’s important to remember that a determined burglar can be difficult to discourage. This is why it’s a wise idea to insure your tools and equipment. If you have had your tools stolen, you should file a police report with an itemised list with the make and model of everything taken so they can help return them to you or have your insurance cover the cost of replacement.