Keeping my tools safe

A tradesman’s tools are the keys to his livelihood. Without the right equipment a tradesman simply cannot do their work, and the price of specialist tools means that they can be very difficult to replace. Unfortunately, thieves are well aware of the value of these tools and, as a result, tradesmen are becoming increasingly worried about their vans being broken into.

Police advise that you do not keep your tools in your van overnight, but many victims of tool theft claim that they have nowhere else to put them. After all, where can you keep your van and tools if you do not have a garage?

With the right know-how and some creative organisation, it can be very simple to create adequate storage for your tools. Even without a garage, there are plenty of options open to you.

Keeping My Van Safe

Before doing anything else, make sure that you have covered the basics to help keep your van and tools secure: 

  • Ensure that your van’s security system is working, particularly the door locks. Around 49,000 work related vehicles are stolen each year, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that thieves won’t consider taking your van as well as your tools.
  • Make sure that you get your tools marked. This will allow the police to track them in the event that they are stolen, and will also make them more difficult to fence. 
  • Think very carefully about hiding your van to keep it safe. A van hidden in a secluded side street is a perfect target for a thief, but a van out in the open on a busy street is more risky for them.
  • Thieves will look out for vans with a tradesman’s logo on the side, as these are much more likely to contain valuable tools. Try investing in a cover for your van to make thieves look for more obvious targets. Even a simple tarp could keep your valuables hidden.

If you have no choice but to leave your tools in your van overnight, consider buying a security box. Part of what makes tools so attractive for thieves is that they are easy to grab and carry away quickly. It will be a different story if a thief breaks into your van only to be faced with a locked case!

Keeping My Tools Safe Outside

If your property lacks a garage, consider keeping your tools in your garden. It is a more difficult target for thieves than a driveway, particularly if you have a security border such as a fence or hedge. You can also deter thieves with simple but effective security features such as motion-activated lights or external alarms.

Another advantage of keeping your tools in your garden is the number of places where they can be locked away, particularly sheds and lock boxes.

A garden shed can make a great place to keep your tools, provided you take the time to make it secure. Any loose panels or rotting wood should be replaced immediately, and any holes in the shed will need to be fixed. You can also reinforce the structure of your shed by adding some new internal panels. Make sure your hinges are securely fixed to the shed, and that your locks are durable and heavy duty.

If possible, you could extend your home’s internal security system to your shed by giving it its own alarm. Talk to a security specialist and see if they can set this up for you. If this is not feasible, there are a number of easy-to-use window and door alarms on the market that can be easily fitted to a shed. However, an alarm should never be your only security measure. An alarm that goes off once a thief is already inside your shed will not stop them from grabbing anything that is not secured down.

Another way to keep your shed safe is to make it difficult to access: some thick shrubs or sharp thorn bushes around the building, combined with a heavy lock of course, can be enough to convince thieves to try elsewhere.

Lock boxes are another strong option for keeping your tools secure outside. A lock box is a less visible target than a shed, depending on the size, and you can make yours even more difficult to spot with some careful camouflage, such as a surrounding shrub or a tarp. There are even options for garden furniture that comes with hidden storage, such as a garden benches with chest space under the seats. Again, make sure that the locks and hinges are completely secure. 

If you choose to invest in a new tool shed or lock box, look at any options that are made of a strong and durable metal like steel. While these tend to be more expensive, you get added security for your money. They will also be far more durable and long-lasting.

Keeping My Tools Safe Inside

The most secure and secret place for you to keep your tools will be inside your home. A thief can break into a van and get away in minutes, but the effort of actually breaking into a property to retrieve someone’s tools will usually be enough to keep thieves away. 

Assuming that your home’s security is up-to-date, the first step will be finding space for your tools. This is a big problem for many tradesmen, but with a few simple space saving measures you should be able to make more than enough room.

A tried and tested product for easy storage is the pull-out case. These tall and thin cases can slide into tight spaces in a cupboard or closet, or really any uselessly thin space you might have available. Is there any room between your fridge and the wall? How about between your washing machine and tumble dryer? 

Another potential solution is ‘floating’ storage. This refers to storage that is secured to a wall, giving it a floating appearance. Floating shelves or cupboards turn useless wall space into valuable storage room, and could be the perfect place to keep your tools.