Tradespeople are being warned to take extra security measures over Christmas to protect the tools they store in their van.
Motoring experts at Lease Van have warned vehicle owners that the festive season is a prime time for criminals to strike and have offered advice on how to protect their equipment. A Freedom of Information request found that 35,098 tool thefts were reported to the police in 2022 – equal to one every 15 minutes. An eye-watering £66 million worth of tools was stolen from tradespeople’s vehicles, which are frequently targeted by thieves.
There is an increased rate of reported theft in the last quarter of the year, especially around the Christmas period with opportunistic thieves looking to make some extra cash. Steps tradespeople should take to protect their tools from thieves include parking in well-lit areas and marking equipment.
Tim Alcock from Lease Van said: “Although the Christmas season is meant to be about giving, unfortunately, thieves and burglars see it as the perfect time to take expensive equipment from tradespeople. “Burglars are more likely to steal tools during the festive season because they know many are celebrating and therefore less vigilant, so see it as the perfect time to strike. Last year £66 million worth of tools were stolen from tradies vehicles, and we expect that figure to be just as high this year with the cost-of-living crisis fuelling crime. Criminals are well aware that tools and equipment are expensive, so it is important to take extra security measures like storing equipment in an indoor secure location and using warning signs to protect yourself.”
These are Lease Van’s seven tips to protect tools over Christmas:
Avoid parking in isolated and quiet areas as this will appeal to thieves, and stick to where there is CCTV in operation. At home, park with the back door against a wall, in sight of a window or a well-lit area to deter thieves.
Consider investing in extra security like deadbolts, alarms and slamlocks which will make it harder for thieves to break in and act as a deterrent.
It may seem simple, but making it known that there is CCTV or that tools are not kept in the van or a work site, can deter thieves. Thieves like easy targets and the extra risk of being caught will put them off.
When finished work, or off for the holidays, take tools out of the van and leave them somewhere more secure, like inside your home or a storage facility.
An effective way to deter theft is to mark tools and equipment with the name of your business as it can aid their recovery if they are ever sold on and will be easily identifiable to the police.
For tech-savvy tradies, there are several ways to protect tools including motion-sensing cameras, GPS tracking devices and smart padlocks.
Some providers will cover the cost of replacing tools if they’re lost or damaged so the business can keep running if the worst should happen.
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