Tools, utes and thieves


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Tools, utes and thieves

Tools or power tools were some of the most common items to be snapped up by thieves in 2013/14, according to statistics released by Victorian Police. Thefts increased by 8.4 per cent compared to the previous year, to bring the number of power tools or tools stolen in Victoria that year to 4538i.

Even tradies take out appropriate safety measures, things can go wrong in the course of their work and affect both themselves and third parties or employees.

New South Wales statistics for the 12 months to March 2015 report thefts from motor vehicles, a statistic that includes the theft of items left in carsii. The rate varied from 0.6 thefts per 100,000 population in the Capital Region Statistical Area to 2.4 thefts per 100,000 population in the Far West and Orana Statistical Areaiii. Sydney sat on the lower side of this rate at 0.9 thefts per 100,000 population, but that still represented 24,862 thefts, over half of the 42,142 thefts statewideiv.

A series of thefts of work tools from unattended utes in in the Gungahlin area (ACT) and several reported thefts in Ballarat are examples of many incidentsv,vi. In another crime this year, thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of SES equipment - including chain saws, power saws and hand tools - from the back of the SES vehicles of volunteers visiting the Hunter Valley from interstate to help flood victims. The result: crews off the road unable to help those in need.

Stealing tools from vehicles is not the only theft experienced by tradies. A national survey revealed that 39 per cent of residential builders were affected by theft or vandalism at building sites. Of those affected, two thirds had experienced more than one incidentvii. While raw materials were the most likely item to be stolen (61%), small hand-held tools - including carpentry and electrical tools - were the next most commonly stolen items (46%)viii.

Among the most common work injuries in Australia are strains and sprains, fractures and open wounds. Source II.

The cost of replacing tools is only one part of the equation for tradies: without the gear to get the job done, customer's projects are delayedvii. The inevitable result: money coming into the business is impacted.

Implementing simple security measures can help reduce the likelihood of theft, but they cannot entirely eliminate the risk. Allianz offers a range of small business insurance for tradies. You can choose covers including General Property to protect your tools and equipment, Business Interruption for the consequential loss of revenue resulting from interruption to business operation after unforeseen circumstances, and Public and Products Liability.

If your tools are stolen, there are a number of steps you can take to try to recover your property. In NSW, you can contact the Police Assistance Line where a customer service representative will either file a report of the incident over the phone and forward it to your local police station, or provide further assistance, such as organising for police to come to you. In QLD, you can report non-urgent thefts to Policelink either over the phone or online. Each state and territory will have non-emergency numbers that you can contact to report incidences of theft. You could also list your stolen items on the database stolenproperty.com.au; it's free to join and other members will be notified once your listing is live and according to the site, your listing has the potential to be seen by thousands of its members and the general publicix.



iVictoria Police 2014, Crime Statistics 2013/2014, viewed 21 July 2015,
https://www.police.vic.gov.au/retrievemedia.asp?Media_ID=72176
p. 42 (PDF)

iiAustralian Institute of Criminology 2015, Stealing from motor vehicles, Australian Government, viewed 23 July 2015,
http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/rpp/100-120/rpp120/11_vehicles.html

iiiNSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research 2015, News South Wales Recorded Crime Statistics. Quarterly Update March 2015, viewed 21 July 2015,
http://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Documents/RCS-Quarterly/NSW_Recorded_Crime_March_2015.pdf
p. 8

ivNSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research 2015, News South Wales Recorded Crime Statistics. Quarterly Update March 2015, viewed 21 July 2015,
http://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Documents/RCS-Quarterly/NSW_Recorded_Crime_March_2015.pdf
, p9

vABC 2012, Builders urged to secure tools, 19 December, viewed 21 July 2015,
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-19/act-builders-urged-to-secure-tools/4435840

viThe Courier 2015, Ballarat tradies robbed of trailers and tools in crime spree, 9 May, viewed 21 July 2015,
http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3067309/tradies-targeted-in-crime-spree/
, p7

viiAustralian Institute of Criminology, 2008,Theft and vandalism at residential building sites in Australia, Australian Government, viewed 13 May 2015,
http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/tbp/tbp029/tbp029.pdf#page=10

viiiAustralian Institute of Criminology, 2008,Theft and vandalism at residential building sites in Australia, Australian Government, viewed 13 May 2015,
http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/tbp/tbp029/tbp029.pdf#page=11

ixStolenproperty.com.au, How it works, viewed 23 July 2015,
http://www.stolenproperty.com.au/How-It-Works.aspx
, p21