Tool theft is a serious issue and is only getting worse. Every 23 minutes in the UK, a tradeperson’s van is broken into, and this figure is up by 30% over 2017.
It’s a shocking statistic and it negatively impacts the lives of those affected; stolen tools means jobs can’t be done, money can’t be earned and mortgages can’t be paid.
Theft from vans is a massive talking point these days, and we at Toolstop wish we knew exactly what the solution is.
With that in mind, this short blog guide will cover 3 simple tips to help prevent the theft of tools, or at least make your tools less desirable to be stolen, or easier to recover.
No, these tips aren’t going to solve the problem, but by being smart and using some new-ish technology, hopefully, you can make it less likely for your tools to be nicked, or at least make it possible to get them back. Failing that, making sure you’re covered by a good quality insurance policy can go at least some way towards getting you back up and working as soon as possible.
3 Tips to Help Keep Your Tools Safe from Theft
#1 – Get Your Stolen Tools Back – Keep a Note of All Serial Numbers
We see this all too often in Facebook discussions on tool theft. You’ve had your tools stolen, but you’ve got insurance. But guess what the police will need from you if your tools are found in the back of some dodgy lock up? Serial numbers.
Note down the serial number of each tool and each battery you own. Record them in a spreadsheet like Excel or Google Sheets. Take a photo of each tool with the serial number visible and log this in the spreadsheet tool.
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And while you’ve got your camera phone out, take photos of the receipts – or proof of purchase – while you’re at it. Your insurance company will likely want to see the receipts.
No, this step won’t prevent the tools being stolen, but it could be the difference between getting them returned from that scoundrel car boot sale vendor, or help the police return them to you. Equally, removing all hurdles from the insurance claim process will hopefully get you back out to work quickly.
#2 – Prevent Your Tools Being Stolen – Mark Your Tools
This is as old school as it gets, but it’s still worth doing, particularly to deter potential thieves on the jobsite. As we all know, there is some scum of the earth fly-by-nights who’ll nick a hardworking tradesperson’s tool out from under them at work.
So use something like the Dremel 3000-5 to engrave some sort of marking on your tools and batteries, taking care not to damage any electronics. Then use some white enamel paint to draw attention to this marking.
Again, this step won’t prevent someone with despicably sticky fingers lifting your tools, but it will make it easier to identify them and will hopefully serve as a visual deterrent.
#3 – Recover Your Stolen Tools – Invest in Some Smart Technology
Several of the big power tool manufacturers have developed technology within power tools, batteries and little trackers that, while not preventing theft, will help track the stolen tools.
No, this isn’t fool-proof, but there are loads of anecdotal stories on social media of tradespeople who’ve been able to track down the exact location of tools utilising this technology that have been nicked. Dewalt’s Tool Connect, built into tools and batteries, is one such example of this technology.
It will place the stolen tool on a map where it was last seen, and anyone in the country using the Tool Connect app (and it’s a good idea to download it to your phone even if you don’t use Dewalt tools) can look out for your stolen tools wherever they are.
This smart technology isn’t theft prevention as such, rather it’s about theft recovery.
The rise in tool theft in the UK and abroad is despicable and we fully believe that more needs to be done by the authorities to track down and punish those that are responsible. All we can do is urge you all to be vigilant about where you leave or store your tools and to take as many steps as possible to both prevent any theft and make the recovery of your stolen tools as easy as possible.
Please let us know in the comments below any tips you have to prevent tool theft.