Tool theft is on the rise with more than a third (36%) of van drivers falling victim to theft last year*, representing a 33 per cent increase since 2020**, according to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
Almost fifty per cent (48%) of van drivers confess to keeping more than £2,150 worth of tools in their vans overnight*. This means that UK tradespeople are risking up to £5 billion in lost equipment.
In a freedom of information request, Police Forces across the UK reported over 9,000 complaints relating to tool theft in 2022 (37 out of 45 forces responded). London remains a hot spot for the crime in 2022 with over 6,000 reports in the Capital alone.***
From a financial perspective, van owners who are on the receiving end of tool theft are at risk of an increase in future insurance premiums†. With theft on the rise, there has never been a more pressing time for van drivers to ensure that their vehicles are protected.
Volkswagen Financial Services offers its top tips on the best ways van drivers can protect their vehicles:
1. Be a conscious parker – When possible, ensure that the van is parked in a well-lit place which is visible to passers-by, not in areas which are secluded and dark
2. Stay alert, be aware – Check your surroundings before offloading your tools – savvy thieves can spot a high value tool and are willing to take risks to steal them
3. Track your vehicle – Consider fitting your van, or tools, with a tracking device so that you can see where they are at all times
4. “No tools on board” – The best way to prevent your tools from being stolen is to not leave them in the van, especially overnight. If you remove your vehicles from your van, then consider affixing a sign to the van saying ‘no tools left in vehicle overnight’
5. Take note – If you do need to leave any tools in your vehicles, then ensure that they are security marked (noting the serial numbers of all tools is also advised). If your tools are tagged, then put a sticker on them to advertise this fact
6. Taking extra precautionary measures – Sometimes tools have to be left in a vehicle, in a vulnerable location. If this is the case, then consider fitting additional safety locks to the rear and side door, or install lockable racking and safe boxes, making it harder for thieves to break in
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles understands the importance of incorporating theft prevention technology into its vehicles, to protect van owners.
The all-electric ID. Buzz Cargo is fitted with an anti-theft alarm system, interior monitoring in the cab, back-up horn and towing protection as standard‡. When activated, the anti-theft alarm system sounds the horn and activates the hazard lights, ensuring that bypassers are aware there has been an unwelcome intrusion.
More information about the ID. Buzz Cargo can be found here: ID. Buzz Cargo | Electric Cargo Van | Volkswagen Vans UK (volkswagen-vans.co.uk)
For more on Tool Theft, you can listen to the latest episode of the Professional Builder below.
Cost of tools stolen nationally, calculated by: Mode value (£2,000*), multiplied by 36%* of UK van parc April 2023: £2,000 x (0.36 x 4,887,593) = £3,519,066,960
Cost of tools at risk of being stolen nationally, calculated by: Mode value (£2,150*), multiplied by 48% of UK Van parc April 2023: £2,150 x (0.48 x 4,887,593) = £5,043,995,976
*Results are taken from OnePoll survey of 1,000 van drivers in the UK, conducted in January 2023, commissioned by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
** Results are taken from OnePoll survey of 1,000 van drivers in the UK, conducted in January 2021, commissioned by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
*** Statistics provided from police forces who submitted Freedom of Information [FOI] data, conducted in August 2023. Information was provided by forces in United Kingdom. Data published is correct at the time of publication.
†Information provided by Volkswagen Financial Services.
‡ Exact safety features are dependent on product and specification. More information can be found in the ID. Buzz Cargo brochure.