It’s an alarming statistic but tool thefts rose over 30% in 2016 compared to the previous year, with the value of those tools stolen increasing over 40% in the same period.
Many builders will have been a victim of this rising crime-wave, or will have known someone who has had tools stolen from their vans, building sites or lockups and will also know the impact that these thefts can have, not only in the cost to replace them but potentially losing business either through delays in getting new equipment or not being able to replace equipment to get new jobs.
Police forces up and down the country are responding this with awareness-raising campaigns and issuing tips to prevent thefts.
So what can you do to reduce this risk of having your tools stolen?
- Remove tools from vans
Whilst this may be laborious and, for larger equipment may not always be possible, consider what you need to leave in the van overnight. Thefts from vans are far higher than that from properties and may be the best way to prevent thefts.
- Fit a tool safe
For tools and equipment that you do leave in your van consider fitting a tool safe to provide an extra level of security should any would-be-thieves break in to your van.
- Keep your van locked and valuables out of sight
It may sound obvious but many thefts are purely opportunistic so whenever you’re away from your van, no matter how briefly, make sure your doors are locked, your windows shut and any tools or other valuables are kept out of sight.
- Consider where you park your van
Whether during the day or overnight where you park your van could be a big factor in reducing the risk of thefts. Try to park in well-lit areas, preferably covered by CCTV which can act as a deterrent as well as helping to identify thieves, and if possible park against walls or hedges that could prevent doors being opened without moving the van.
- Request extra security at hotels
If you are staying overnight and parking at the hotel then when making your booking ask if there is additional security that the hotel can provide. As well as the tips on parking your van, above, ask if it is possible to park in an inside area or close to the reception and away from unlit areas.
- Fit an alarm
There are various alarms on the market but Lincolnshire Police recommend products that are Thatcham/Secured by Design accredited. However, a small stand-alone PIR shed type alarm with texting facility or personal attack alarm when triggered can be very loud, act as a deterrent and let you know that your vehicle has been entered.
- Fit new locks
Especially on older vehicles you should consider fitting new locks to your van, a solution that may not be as expensive as you might think.
- Mark the items of property/tools that are stored in the van
Ideally mark them overtly with paint pens and then seal down the marking with a clear lacquer spray. Mark property with the name of your company, the postcode, house or building number or name. Items that are overtly marked are less desirable and more difficult to sell on.
As always, if you see anything suspicious please call 101 and if you witness a crime in progress call 999.
If you have any information about van crime you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 – no personal details are taken, information cannot be traced and you will not go to court.