5 Ways How to Stop Tool Theft and Prevent Jobsite Loss

A couple of weeks ago, we introduced the topic of jobsite security. This is a problem companies face in dealing with losses from tool theft. This week, let’s take a look at some solutions that can help you keep your tools from being stolen on the jobsite. They can also help you recover stolen tools if you are ever a victim.

This is one of the most basic tool theft prevention methods and most widely used. By engraving identifying information on it, a thief knows that it can be identified by anyone else who sees it. Painting it a bright color will help it stand out if someone else tries to walk off with it.

Tool Theft Solutions
  • Pros: Works as a deterrent. Engraving can help recover stolen tools. It’s easy to identify your tools if someone else picks them up.
  • Cons: Paint can be stripped and engraving can be scratched out or covered up.

Install a Game Camera

Employing a game camera will cost you about $100 at your local outdoor store. It can run much higher for more features and higher resolution. These cameras take a picture when they detect movement and can work at night without a traditional flash. While the photos will not likely deter the tool theft, it provides evidence to authorities and can help convict thieves. Most cameras store the images on an SD card that you plug into your computer.

Just be sure to mount it high enough that the thieves can’t pull it down easily. Ideally, you would place a game camera where prospective thieves might not even see it. Make sure that all of your tools stay within the camera’s field of view.

Tool Theft Solutions
  • Pros: Delivers photographic evidence of the crime and the thief. Photos are triggered by movement 24/7 and stored to an onboard SD card. These operate as “set-and-forget” devices.
  • Cons: These gane cameras don’t actually stop the theft. The camera can be removed if the location is known. With some lower-priced cameras, the resolution can be sketchy and make it difiicult to see details.

A tool trailer is a very popular option for those professionals who carry a lot of gear to the jobsite. Preventing tool theft can be achieved at a higher level… if you take precautions.

lock tools in a trailer to prevent theft
We recommend using a trailer that’s a little bit more secure than this one!

First, you need to have a solid hitch lock and “hockey puck” style locks on the doors. These are the most tamper-proof locks on the market. They are well worth the extra dollars you spend when toting around $10,000+ worth of your ability to work.

If you must leave a tool trailer on the jobsite, park it where you can easily see it from the road. If possible, ensure you have a light source nearby and place the door(s) up against a wall or building. That keeps would-be thieves from using the door regardless of whether they break the lock or not.

  • Pros: You lock away your tools in a design that is hard to move. You can secure many tools at one time.
  • Cons: Using inferior locks won’t prevent tool theft. A thief who gets in has access to everything. Trailers can be an expensive investment.

A company called MobileLock is working with DeWalt on jobsite security systems. These systems work almost exactly like your home security system. The goal is to prevent tool theft through active monitoring and alarms. They include motion sensors, GPS transmitters with cellular data transmission, door and window sensors, tamper prevention, and audible alarms.

They can send alerts to your email, cell phone, and security call centers. Each Mobile Lock Unit costs just under $20 per month for monitoring services in addition to the cost of equipment. Best of all, the systems can be controlled via text from anywhere that you have a cell signal.


DeWalt MobileLock tool security stop tool theft
DeWalt MobileLock provides a method of delivering tool security to stop tool theft (or help prevent it).
  • Pros: This method works well for home/office style security monitoring. You have many different ways of deterring tool theft within the same system. You can control these systems via text message or app from anywhere.
  • Cons: Security systems can be expensive to buy between equipment and monitoring. Costs rise quickly depending on how many units you need. The system could fail if you neglect to charge and maintain the batteries.

Without a doubt, the best way to prevent tool theft is to take your tools home with you. Leaving tools on the jobsite always carries an inherent risk. Thieves could steal them during the night or over the weekend. It can be a pain to unload/load tools every day. However, when talking about the equipment that allows you to earn a paycheck, it’s a small price to pay.

  • Pros: Nothing left on site to steal.
  • Cons: You do need to load and unload every workday.

Some of Our Favorite Reader Suggestions

Lock them up in a job box chained to an I-beam – Dale M.

Chain up a big dog next to them – Frank M.

Wire a 53′ trailer with an ear-splitting, blinding flashbang of a security system – Joshua W.

Leave more tool security suggestions below and we’ll consider adding them to our article.

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