Is the tool theft epidemic becoming a national crisis?

The UK has seen a sharp upward curve in tool theft with a 54% rise in just 2 years. The latest figures from Simply Business reveal a 54 per cent increase in tool theft claims across the UK between 2016 and 2018.The data also reveals the average UK claim for tool theft, which stands at £1,684.

Which areas are worst affected by tool theft?

The biggest spike can be seen in the South West with an 81 per cent increase in incidents since 2016. London follows in second place at 67 per cent and the North West not far behind at 63 per cent.

Standing at an average of £2,033, the North East had the highest average claim. East Anglia is a close second (£2,005) and the South West takes third place at £1,979.

In real terms, the amount each business owner loses when they fall victim to tool theft is higher than these figures suggest. It's estimated to be over £3,000 when you include loss of earnings and the cost of replacing tools that haven't been insured.

Which trades are worst affected by tool theft?

According to the data, a staggering 87 different trades have been affected by tool theft over the past two years, and it has hit some types of business worse than others.

The top 5 trades affected by tool theft

  • Builders – 675 claims

  • Carpenters – 357 claims

  • Electricians – 258

  • Plumbing, heating & ventilation contractors – 223 claims

  • Joiners – 214 claims

A third of tradespeople have had their tools stolen (37 per cent) and two thirds know someone who has (65 per cent).

Thieves no longer need to force their way in

Unfortunately advances in technology are making it easier for thieves. These days lots of tool theft incidents don’t even involve a forced break-in.

Criminals use an electronic key fob to swiftly and silently unlock keyless entry systems, swoop in, and clear out the tools of innocent business owners. This means it’s harder (and takes longer) to notice when tools have been stolen.

How to protect your tools?

Below is just a few ideas taken from an article by simply business on how to protect your tools.

Insure your tools

When setting up your policy ensure you are covering the full value of your tools and increase your cover if you buy more tools for your business.

Mark your property

Consider painting their tips to deter the light-fingered. Etching is another form of marking that’s difficult for thieves to remove. Alternatively, you can use an invisible marker to make them easier to trace should they be stolen.

Make sure your alarm meets your policy conditions

If the alarm on your vehicle doesn’t match the security conditions of your policy, keep your tools with you while you’re working on a job, and remove them from the vehicle while you’re at home.

Always keep receipts and other evidence

If you’re VAT-registered you’ll be accustomed to keeping receipts of new tools. Even if you’re not, getting into the habit of keeping receipts will be helpful if ever you need to make a claim. It's important to make sure your receipts are stored in a safe place away from your tools.

Upgrade your van security

As well as the above from simply business we offer vehicle security upgrades and solutions.

We are constantly researching methods used by thieves to break into vans and we are providing solutions to counteract these methods and to protect both vehicle and contents.

Please visit our website to see a full range of security products or contact us for a security assessment for us to advise you on how to protect your vehicle.

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