Please add in the comments your Builders Van Theft experience, and any modifications worth considering: Begin the pushback
An Encounter with a Tool Van Thief
A Few years ago, in as quietish a residential street in North London, was parked a builder’s van, in front of my ground-floor flat. The street was in fact in the middle of a building gold rush, with lots of building projects, builders’ skips, and vans dotted along the road, nothing to see here, you could say.
I just happened to be standing in my living room looking out, when my eyes gazed on a man wearing a dust mask, standing beside this van staring at my net curtains, with what looked like his mate, also with a dust mask trying to unlock ‘their van’.
The look lasted long enough for me to think, I bet he is going to knock on the door in a minute and proclaim an issue with my building, but the doorbell never went, I left the scene and read the paper.
The General Public only spot the unusual
I later found out that in a space of those few moments, and the moments that followed when I read my paper, the guy looking at my flat was looking for a sign of the van owner coming out, except the van had nothing to do with me, It was the other side of the roads, but alas no one came out.
His colleague wasn’t looking for the key, he was in fact drilling out the van lock. No alarm, side door open, front door open £1200 of tools loaded and gone.
In broad daylight, in the middle of the day, no tire squeal, nothing. If the van driver did return, I would hesistate to think the outcome. Someone wired up enough to carry out that sort of raid mid-day is on a mission with an outcome, whatever the weather.
The Aftermath of Tool Theft
I spoke to the distraught and upset builder, and we were all in disbelief this took place, and actually caluclated the start and end time of this venture being nor more than 3-4 minutes.
Knowing nothing about the building trade, I asked the builder if he had some ID marked on these tools, that seem to cost more than an Apple Mac. The shake of a head and the look, which could have meant, not now or daft question.
I dont know why, a few years on, I suddeny had the thought to write a blog post on Tool Van theft in London, the experience of it still stuck, even though i had no personal loss, the injustice of it lingers. So here is my long obverdue post on generating some ideas to create some anti Van Tool theft mods, to hopefully make the next would be thief jog on. Coment with your experiences would love to get some group think on this topic
How big a problem is Van Tool Theft in London?
According to Herts Tools, there were 20,256 reports of tool theft from vans in London between January 2019 and April 2021. There were 3,108 reports of tool theft from saloon cars and 1,087 from hatchbacks. The data from Herts Tools estimated this amounted to £17.5 million worth of tools stolen in the capital in 2020.
8 Ways Builders Tools are at Risk of Theft in London
- Theft from a worksite: Construction sites in London are often targeted by thieves, especially during the night or over weekends when there are fewer people around. Unsecured sites or those with inadequate security measures in place are particularly vulnerable to theft. To prevent this type of theft, builders should secure their worksites with locks, alarms, CCTV cameras, and regular patrols by security personnel.
- Van or vehicle theft: Builders in London often use vans or other vehicles to transport their tools to and from work sites. Thieves may target these vehicles by breaking into them or stealing them outright. To protect against this, builders should park their vehicles in secure areas and use additional security measures such as immobilizers, alarms, and GPS tracking devices.
- Opportunistic theft: Opportunistic theft can happen anywhere, but busy areas such as London are especially vulnerable. Builders should be aware of their surroundings and take care to secure their tools when they are not in use, even for a brief moment.
- False hire or rental: London is a large and diverse city, and builders may encounter fraudulent hires or rentals when searching for tools or equipment. Builders should be cautious when renting or hiring tools from unknown sources and should verify the identity and legitimacy of the rental company or individual before handing over any tools or money.
- Employee theft: London’s construction industry is highly competitive, and some employees may be tempted to steal tools from their employers in order to gain an advantage over their competitors. Builders should carefully vet their employees and provide regular training on theft prevention and security measures.
- Social media: Builders in London may use social media to advertise their services or sell tools and equipment. However, this can also make them a target for thieves who monitor social media posts for potential targets. Builders should be careful about the information they share on social media, and avoid advertising valuable tools or equipment.
- Direct burglary: Builders in London may store their tools in their homes or in storage units, making them vulnerable to burglary. Builders should secure their storage areas with locks and alarms, and avoid storing valuable tools in their homes if possible.
- Fraudulent insurance claims: Builders in London may be tempted to file fraudulent insurance claims for stolen tools in order to receive compensation. This type of fraud is illegal and can result in serious consequences. Builders should ensure that they have proper insurance coverage and report any thefts to the police immediately.
11 Ways to Secure Your Builders Tools
Builders are no strangers to the risk of tool theft from their vehicles, with many losing valuable equipment on a regular basis. However, there are numerous ways to secure your tools and reduce the risk of theft. In this article, we will explore 11 effective ways to secure your builders tools from theft.
Add Stickers and also remove tools at night:
The no brainer, have you ever seen big trucks parked up on the side with the trailer doors open? The reason is to tell would be thiefs to jog on. By removing valuable tools from the van overnight, builders can significantly reduce the risk of theft, but advertise it too with these products and other signage
Park your van somewhere safe:
Choosing a safe parking spot can help deter thieves. The reality is, the van is usually parked close to the job, which in the main is in the residential street. Never underestimate the general public to see something, but perhaps for reasons of personal safety, may not directly come out and confront a would-be thief at work. What they may do is call the Police, take some film with a camera phone or perhaps shout out of a window. It goes without saying, parking the van in a secluded or poorly-lit area is not going to deter anyone.
Don’t leave anything of value on display:
Builders should avoid leaving any valuable items on display in the van, which is rule 101, which we should also be adopting from our car driving days. Career tool criminals are working on the intent of what is in the back of the van and out of sight, but it goes without saying, what is less on show will not harm your efforts. The commercial markings on your van, ladders on the roof, and van without windows are sure signs that there could be, with all things considered tools inside. It’s already a target for being a van.
Park near CCTV or Install CCTV:
CCTV coverage can help deter thieves and can provide evidence if theft occurs, with one big caveat. Builders should try to park in areas with CCTV cameras that are on show, such as near shops or businesses with security cameras.
Dash Cams, are good investors, look for models that have parking mods and sensor modes with interior facing cameras. Just like a whole street of houses never seens a criminal at work, a criminal at work may not see the camera. There may be models that fire off the image to a phone network.
Residential CCTV are not at times the most reliable sources of evidence. These may be pointing down on their own property and not the public highway. Residential CCTV systems may not be always on, may be of poor quality, or the owner, may not after some inner reflection may wish to submit their footage as evidence [or] The good old world, doorbell footage leads to capturing the thief and the return of the stolen goods.
With your side load door and rear doors against a wall:
Positioning the van with the side load and rear doors against a wall can make it more difficult for thieves to force the doors open, providing an additional layer of protection. The practicality of needing access to your van on the job does limit the practicalities of this one. But think, park the van between cars against a skip, should you have the side door on the pavement or the road. If some crazy individual plans to drill the door, can they really do that in the road? Perhaps you’re the only builder who unloads on the roadside, but you changing someone else rehearsed gameplan. Your job here is to make them jog on from your van, not solve London’s crime rate.
Add a lock to your Van Side or Rear Door:
This option will require some modifications. These are obviously not standard-fit door locks. but the theme here is to push the would-be thief to jog on. Deter, and change their game plan. Add uncertainty, do they have the tools for the job?
It is without doubt career criminals can crack standard central locking systems on a van in a matter of minutes. It, therefore, makes sense to do as much as you can to make your van look anything other than standard.
Locks across the side door and rear door all make sense. For daylight robbery, the would-be career criminal has assessed the job on the time of being in and out. Factoring in reaction time, the job is over in minutes.
The moment there is an additional barrier those calculations get extended. the reaction time of Police if they have been called, gets extended. Half the battle in this, sometimes unjust world we live in, is to deter so they jog on somewhere else. Here are some additional lock picks that can add another layer of a deterrent to your bog standard van central locking. These locks are designed to be difficult to pick or break, making it more difficult for thieves to gain access to the van and its contents. The First one is for a Transit Van fit.
Parking with doors against a wall can prevent the ‘peel and steal’ method used by thieves. Positioning the doors against a wall, it makes it more difficult for thieves to lift something off the roof, or between cars. Not sometimes of the most practical options.
Protect your tools:
The second level of defence, is to secure your tools inside your van. Assume the doors are open, this is the grab-and-go phase, scan, pick, and leave, or scan, pick, go, come back, pick some more, and leave. Options for your last line of defence:
Keep the tools out of sight and in lockable boxes. The challenge here is to bolt them to the floor of the fan or get locks. You adding minutes to the job. If someone has got this far you are rolling the dice that the thief gets tunnel vision to crack the next layer or to jog on, or add extra time for the police to get there.
Armorgard is a company that has been leading the market for over 30 years in designing and manufacturing secure tool storage, efficient manual handling, and improved site safety products. Their products are known for their robustness, security, and trustworthiness. As someone who has worked in the construction industry for several years, I can attest to the importance of having secure tool storage and efficient manual handling equipment on site.
One of the standout features of Armorgard’s products is their durability. Their toolboxes, cabinets, and site boxes are made from high-quality materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions and heavy use. The company also offers a range of innovative and practical products, such as its TuffBank range, which includes toolboxes with integrated power sockets, USB charging ports, and even a secure safe for storing high-value items.
Another impressive aspect of Armorgard is its commitment to site safety. They offer a range of products that are designed to make manual handling safer and more efficient, such as their LoadAll and LoadMaxx ranges, which are designed to help workers move heavy materials and equipment around the site with ease. They also offer a range of spill control products, such as their SpillKart range, which includes absorbent pads, socks, and cushions to help contain and clean up spills quickly and safely.
According to customer reviews on Trustpilot, Armorgard’s van storage products are considered the best on the market.
Van Vault is a leading name in secure storage containers. They design, develop and make quality theft-prevention storage boxes.
One of the standout products from Van Vault is their range of van storage boxes. These boxes are designed to fit securely in the back of a van, providing a safe and secure storage space for tools and equipment. The boxes are made from high-quality materials and are incredibly durable, making them perfect for use on construction sites and other tough environments. They also feature heavy-duty locks and hinges, providing an extra layer of security against theft.
Another great feature of Van Vault’s products is their ease of use. The storage boxes are designed to be easy to install and remove, making it simple to transfer them between vans or take them off-site. They also feature a range of useful accessories, such as internal shelves and dividers, to help organize tools and equipment.
One of the things I particularly like about Van Vault’s products is their range of sizes and configurations. They offer a variety of different sizes of storage boxes to suit different needs, from compact boxes for smaller vans to larger boxes for larger vehicles. They also offer a range of specialized boxes, such as their ChemSafe box for storing hazardous materials and their SiteSafe box for secure storage on construction sites.
Installing an alarm system can alert builders and passersby if someone attempts to break into the van. Alarms can also help deter thieves from targeting the van in the first place.
These are aftermarket car alarms, the size of the siren usually fits under the bonnet, think out of the box, install it in the van. The doors are broken into then a 130-decibel siren kicks off. First the unexpected, the clock is ticking. second those casual thieves have to start to motor.
Anti-Theft Devices To Stop the Van Being Driven:
Products such as steering locks, peddle locks, immobilizers
Mark Your Tools with an Identifier:
Additional anti-theft products such as marking your tools, in the event they are picked up by police or sold on the marketplace.
UV property markers are an increasingly popular way to mark personal property and deter theft. These markers use ultraviolet ink, which is invisible to the naked eye, to label personal property with identifying information that can be easily traced back to the owner if stolen.
One of the main advantages of UV property markers is that they are very discreet. Since the markings are invisible under normal light, they won’t detract from the appearance of valuable items, like jewelry or electronics. However, when viewed under UV light, the markings are clearly visible and can be used to identify the owner of the item.
Another advantage of UV property markers is that they are very difficult to remove. Since the markings are made with a special type of ink, they won’t come off easily with standard cleaning products. This means that thieves are less likely to steal marked items, as they will be easily traceable back to the owner.
UV property markers can be used on a variety of personal property, including electronics, bicycles, jewelry, and other valuable items. They are particularly useful for marking items that are commonly targeted by thieves, such as mobile phones and laptops.
When using UV property markers, it’s important to mark items discreetly to avoid alerting potential thieves to the presence of the markings. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of the identifying information that is marked on each item, in case it is ever lost or stolen.
Overall, UV property markers are a simple and effective way to protect personal property from theft. By marking items with identifying information that is invisible to the naked eye, owners can deter thieves and increase the chances of recovering stolen items.
Builders Vans – What Types Of Vans Do Builders Use Anyway?
Back in the old days, there were two front runners, you were either driving a Ford Transit or a Bedford CF, The Bedford is no more, but the Ford Transit lives on. The Ford Transit is a full-size van that comes in cargo, passenger, or crew configurations. It has a maximum cargo volume of 487 cubic feet1 and is available in gasoline or diesel engines2.
Dodge Ram ProMaster:
The Dodge Ram ProMaster is a full-size van that comes in cargo, passenger, or chassis cab configurations. It has a maximum cargo volume of 460 cubic feet4 and is available in gasoline or diesel engines5.
Nissan NV Cargo:
Ram ProMaster City:
Ford Transit Connect:
The Ford Transit Connect is a compact van that comes in cargo or passenger configurations. It has a maximum cargo volume of 145.8 cubic feet1 and is available in gasoline engines.
The Mercedes-Benz Metris is a midsize van that comes in cargo or passenger configurations. It has a maximum cargo volume of 199 cubic feet3 and is available in gasoline engines.
The Fiat Ducato is a full-size van that comes in cargo or passenger configurations. It has a maximum cargo volume of 530 cubic feet1 and is available in diesel engines.
The Iveco Daily is a full-size van that comes in chassis cab, crew cab, platform cab, minibus, panel van, and pickup truck configurations. It has a maximum payload capacity of 7 tons1 and is available with diesel engines.
The Peugeot Expert is a midsize van that comes in crew cab, platform cab, minibus, panel van, and pickup truck configurations. It has a maximum payload capacity of 3 tons1 and is available with diesel engines.
The Citroen Dispatch is a midsize van that comes in a crew cab