RACV urges tradies to protect their tools following spike in theft

RACV External Communications

Posted June 04, 2024

The Crime Statistics Agency has reported that over $33 million worth of hand and power tools were stolen from Victorian tradies in 2023, a 37 per cent increase on the previous year.

18,626 power tools and 14,911 hand tools were stolen across Victoria in 2023, an increase of 12 per cent in the total number of items stolen.

Given the sharp increase in thefts, RACV is urging Victorian tradies to check the security of their vehicles and properties.

Trade tools are particularly vulnerable to theft due to their high value and portability, posing a considerable risk to individual contractors, sole traders, and small businesses. The loss of tools can not only cause the financial setback of having to purchase replacement tools, but can also result in reduced work capacity, potentially costing thousands in lost earnings.

RACV General Manager Home, Bill Bloodworth, outlines several steps to deter thieves from targeting tools.

“To secure your tools in a vehicle, use a robust truck bed or a lockable toolbox, anchored to the vehicle with a strong security chain if portable,” Mr Bloodworth said.

“Marking your tools with your identification details, such as your name and driver’s license number, makes them difficult for thieves to sell, easier for you to report as missing, and increases the likelihood of recovery by police.”

RACV also suggests the use of small GPS trackers on high-value items, allowing owners to monitor the exact whereabouts of their tools through a smartphone app.

“To reduce the chance of theft, always ensure your tools are not left visible in your vehicle. This recommendation extends to equipment stored on the roof, such as ladders, which should ideally be kept inside your home or garage at night,” Mr Bloodworth said.

“Thieves typically look for easy targets, so visibly securing and locking away your tools can deter them from attempting a theft.

“Securing your vehicle is equally crucial to prevent it from being stolen, potentially along with any tools inside.

"If you can, park your work vehicle, such as a ute or truck, in a secured garage.”

Tradies might want to consider the appropriate insurance coverage to minimise the hassle and financial impact of tool theft.

"RACV's Business Insurance offers cover for loss, damage and theft for insured property such as tools, and if you opt to include business interruption coverage, may cover business expenses during tool replacement,” Mr Bloodworth said.

“To facilitate the recovery of stolen items by police and the insurance claims process, maintain a detailed inventory of your tools, including make, model and serial numbers, and accurately declare their value. Photographs of your tools can also aid in their recovery.”

For more information on business insurance cover, visit racv.com.au/insurance/business-insurance

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