5 key ways to protect your van from tool theft

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  Posted by: electime      14th November 2019

Any tradesman will tell you that van and tool theft is a major problem. In this article, Kelly Friel from tool and PPE suppliers Zoro shares her tips for protecting our property from thieves.

More than half of all UK builders have been victim to tool theft in the last year, a 30% rise compared to previous years (Trusted Traders). As a result of this increase, it’s estimated that equipment thefts have cost British businesses more than £46 million since 2016 (Trade Van Driver), and that’s not to mention the financial impact it can have on individual tradesmen.

A decent toolkit can cost several years and thousands of pounds to build up — and only seconds to lose. Throw in the money lost in downtime for repairs to your vehicle and rescheduling missed appointments, and you’ll start to get an idea of how important it really is to protect your work van from tool thieves. Below, I’ll be taking you throw some of the most important anti-theft tips and tricks you need to consider to keep your property safe.

Exterior protection

One of the most common anti-theft measures taken is to park with your doors against a wall to prevent the ‘peel and steal’ method, where thieves put pressure on the bottom of your door and peel it down from the top like a sardine can. It’s also important to park somewhere that is well lit and covered by CCTV; not only does this make it easier to track down thieves if the worst should happen, but it can work as a deterrent if the CCTV is clearly signposted.

You can prevent tempting thieves by having as little on display as possible. Never use your roof rack and frails for overnight storage, and if your van has windows you should get them tinted and fitted with steel grilles. That way, thieves can’t see that equipment that you have, and they’ll be less likely to break into your van to get it.

Thieves often steal work vans in addition to the tools inside, so you may also want to consider fitting a wheel clamp to your vehicle so they can’t drive away. You should fit a GPS tracker too, so the police can track them down if they do manage to escape.

Secure your doors

The easiest way to break into a van used to be busting the lock and opening the doors. That’s why most tradesmen have a combination of security deadlocks, slamlocks, and stoplocks fitted. When thieves started to find ways to remove the sophisticated locks, protection plates were used to reinforce them. You need both to protect your tools and your van from thieves.

Protect your tools

You can prevent theft of your tools by removing them from your van at night and storing them somewhere safe. If that’s not an option — if you have too many, or it takes too long, for example — make sure you keep your tools in a secure vault box that thieves can’t get into. If they do go missing, your tools will be much easier to track down and trace if you mark them all with a UV pen. You should also make a note of all their serial numbers for insurance purposes.

Fit alarms

There are two different types of alarm you can fit to your van to protect it from intruders. The first are siren alarms, your standard noisy alarm that acts as a deterrent as much as it alerts you to the presence of thieves. The second type of alarm you can fit is silent. When triggered, it will send a notification to your mobile phone to make you aware that a theft is taking place. This second type of alarm makes it more likely to catch thieves in the act. You can fit a combination of alarms for maximum protection.

Cabin protection

Most vans today come with electrical engine immobilisers fitted that can cause your vehicle to lock up if the correct sequence isn’t triggered, which means thieves can’t drive your van away if they manage to gain entry or even hotwire your van. Steering locks are another kind of physical barrier between thieves and your van — most are yellow or another bright colour so thieves can see them through your window, deterring them from breaking and entering.

Finally, it’s worth investing in a dashcam that films both inside and outside your vehicle if you haven’t already. They’re not just useful while you’re driving; they can record thefts and be used to help the police prevent further incidents.

Theft is a major issue, but the tips in this guide can help you keep your van and tools safe. The more we do to protect our property, the more sophisticated thieves become. So, it’s important that you keep yourself informed of the latest anti-theft measures.