Recent research has shown that more than £83 million worth of tools have been stolen across England and Wales in the last three years. So it goes without saying that tradespeople are not just at risk of losing their vehicle, but their livelihood too. Not to mention the loss of reputation when you can’t turn up for a job.
As a result, we as an association are offering the following pointers to tradespeople on what to do to protect their van and its contents from theft:
1. Make the most of extra measures
Use additional deadlocks and steel-clad locks, as standard locks are easy for thieves to pick. Reinforce doors too. Stop thieves prising open sliding doors by adding an extra lock at the top or reinforcing the top of the doors. Finally, add extra alarms and use immobilisers to stop thieves, even if they do manage to break in.
2. Don’t forget to lock up
It may sound obvious, but always make sure that you make the most of the security measures that you have in place. Whenever you leave your van unattended you should always lock it up, including closing all windows and doors. Thieves will take any opportunity they can if they think you have something worthwhile stealing in your van.
3. Store tools safely
Valuables and tools should always be kept out of sight, especially when your van is left unattended. You should also consider storing your tools safely indoors overnight and leaving your van empty. Many tradesmen put stickers on their vans to act as a deterrent telling thieves that there are no tools stored in the vehicle overnight.
4. Park smart
Parking your vehicle in a busy, well-lit and built-up area with CCTV in operation will hopefully deter potential thieves from targeting your van. Additionally, in the event that your van is broken into, there are likely to be witnesses and/or CCTV footage.
5. Insure your tools
Ultimately, tool theft is something which every van is going to be at risk of, no matter how many precautions you put in place. Nevertheless, you should consider specific tool insurance to ensure that all of your tools are covered should you ever find yourself, or your business, a victim of tool theft.
6. Stay alert
Make sure you are aware and have a record of what is kept in your van at all times. It would be worthwhile retaining the receipts of your tools, especially more expensive and valuable tools, in case you need to make an insurance claim.
As van and tool thefts increase, owners need to up their game in securing their property appropriately. Of course, while all of these measures cannot guarantee a vehicle is safe from theft, they can be incredibly efficient in helping protect not just the van, but the tools needed by tradespeople for their very livelihood.