How to Safety Proof Your Van and Prevent Tool Theft

Tool theft is one of the most pressing issues for tradespeople, costing workers time and money. Theft of tools costs the construction industry £2.8billion – with the average tradesperson footing a bill of £4,470 for their trouble.

Recent statistics show that tool theft from a vehicle is on the rise by 25% with tools ten times more likely to be stolen from a vehicle than a place of work.

Expensive items such as hand-operated power tools are highly-prized by thieves with strong second-hand resale potential amid cost-of-living concerns.

To combat this, tradespeople should refrain from leaving their tools in vans overnight wherever possible.

However, within the stresses of everyday working life, this not always convenient – workers often need quick and easy access to tools on a daily basis.

Vehicle rental experts Van Ninja have compiled a handy guide of safety tips and storage solutions to help prevent van tool theft.

Park Responsibly

Before we get to enhanced van security measures, the simple idea of parking your van in a carefully-chosen area can deter opportunistic thieves. Always choose a well-lit area and ideally one in close proximity to other cars and pedestrians.

A CCTV-secured car park is best, while, when at home, parking in front of home security devices can be a sound choice. These devices include alarms linked between house and vehicle and security cameras.

Park to protect your contents

How you park up can also decrease your van’s vulnerability. Reversing onto your driveway can protect your van’s rear doors while parking closer to walls or other obstructions can decrease the likelihood of thieves gaining unwarranted access. This can also protect your van’s locks or exterior when van leasing.

When leaving your vehicle, double-check your van is locked by pulling the handle instead of absent-mindedly listening for beeps or clicks.

Secure Storage Solutions

A recent survey discovered that drills were the most commonly stolen tool, followed by saws and nail guns.

Van owners can stamp this out by incorporating creative storage solutions into their van’s design which can also optimise weight distribution and prevent loose tools being damaged. Here are some useful examples:

Tool cabinets

Around 78% of tradespeople report tool theft. A trusty tool cabinet can protect against this with secure locking systems should thieves gain access to your van. Higher-end products even boast steel inner walls for extra strength and durability.

These allow tools to be neatly arranged by their type and prevent loose tools from rattling around as you drive from job to job. When pitching up at a construction site, modern tool cabinets are often very portable and can be easily unloaded and carried around.

Magnetic tool racks

An alternative is to fit your vehicle with magnetic tool racks. This can allow you to neatly itemise your tool arsenal and means everything is easily within reach when working on fast-paced jobs.

Because tools left on magnetic tool racks are a lot more exposed, business owners who favour this storage solution should ensure their van lock is top of the range. Unfortunately, thieves are able to break into most manufacturer-fitted locks so you’ll likely want to upgrade.

Slam locks are effective here as they lend an extra layer of security while also providing a visible, physical deterrent. Deadlocks meanwhile are considerably stronger than standard locks as they don’t pose any spring mechanism weaknesses.

Hidden compartments

A more creative alternative can include the super-safe ‘hidden compartment’ which can fool prospective thieves by hiding equipment out of plain sight. This can include hiding tools under your boot floor or within door panels which can also spread weight distribution.

For the super-safety conscious, consider a dedicated safe or van vault which provides the toughest resistance against drilling, cutting and picking. These can only be opened via lock code or key and can be fitted with alarm systems in the event of a break-in.

One downside of this is, tools are not as easily accessible as they must be removed from their hiding places during every use.

Speaking on Britain’s escalating tool theft problem, Mark Robson, Marketing Assistant at Van Ninja said: “Tradespeople, like many others across the country, continue to feel the full force of the cost-of-living crisis with surging energy costs and rising cost of materials. Couple this with tool theft and the effects can be devastating for business owners and sole traders.

“Tool theft can also be damaging for the wider economy with lost working days and stalling productivity. Only 1% ever recover stolen tools so preventative measures are key.

“Tradespeople should look to safety-proof their vans wherever possible by incorporating some of these handy safety tips.”

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