London boroughs reported 17,469 counts of tool theft in a year.
According to government data, tool thefts account for one in 10 vehicle break-ins in the UK. This was overtaken only by thefts of electrical equipment (13%), exterior fittings (19%) and valuables (39%).
Data from the Metropolitan police reveals Enfield residents to be the most at risk when it comes to tool theft with 1,096 cases reported. This totals a loss of £978,525 for the London borough. Next on the list in Barnet with 1,033 tool thefts reported. This is closely followed by Newham with 820. Heathrow, in contrast, reported just 8 tool thefts in the whole year.
*Thefts recorded under £0 were recorded without a value.
The 10 most commonly stolen tools
How to prevent tool theft
Tools not only hold monetary value, they also represent the livelihood of tradespeople and so it’s important that toolboxes are protected at all costs. The best deterrent for theft is often added security. So it may be worth investing in extra vehicle security, or even home security such as CCTV to protect your vehicle when parked overnight.
Never leave your tools in your van or vehicle overnight if you can – Tools kept in a van or vehicle is too tempting for criminals. Where possible, store them in a locked premises/site unit when working away from home or take them home with you just to be sure.
Invest in a sticker – No, really! You can buy an inexpensive notice that says ‘tools are not left in here’ or ‘No tools are left in this vehicle overnight’ which can help deter thieves from attempting to break into your vehicle.
Park your van close to the side of your house/a wall/obstacle – When parking up, ensure your vehicles’ rear doors are facing an obstacle, with a maximum gap of 1ft, preventing thieves from opening doors sufficiently enough to get or see into.
Park your van in a locked garage – If you have access to a locked garage, be sure to use it, as this help to keep vehicles out of sight and adds an additional barrier for thieves.
Check your vehicle’s alarm regularly – Check the alarms and locking features on your vehicles are working and noises can be heard loudly and attract attention when sounding.
Have an immobiliser fitted to your vehicle – Some thieves might try to take the whole vehicle and not just tools. To prevent this, have an immobiliser installed (and check it is working) to prevent thieves from simply ‘hotwiring’ your vehicle.
Use a good quality lock/padlock on rear doors – Invest in good quality (and additional) locks for your rear doors to help provide added protection, increasing the effort would be thieves would need to put in to break into your vehicle and steal tools
Stop thieves from looking in and reduce sight lines – Blackout tints, films and even partitions can help reduce the sightlines of thieves and prevent them from casing out your vehicle or knowing what is kept inside.
Keep tool bags and boxes close on public transport – When travelling to jobs via public transport with tools, keep them close to you and preferably in front of you, so you can keep an eye on them, and don’t leave them unattended in overhead racks.
Ask employers and professional bodies for advice – New security devices and features are regularly being released, with professional bodies often providing both advice and updates on how to find and use new techniques.
Take out adequate insurance for both your vehicle and tools – If needed, especially for self-employed tradespeople, make sure your vehicle has the correct insurance and ideally invest in additional tool insurance to ensure you are doubly covered should they get lost or stolen in transit or on-site.”