Let’s face it: car theft is a reality of life, and has been since the automobile first appeared. More than 700,000 automotive thefts are reported annually in the United States. Ironically, many of these thefts are occurring on automotive dealership lots across the country. It is not all that surprising when you consider that employees may feel underpaid and under-appreciated if they are repairing new vehicles that they can’t even afford to drive themselves. It is easy to develop that Robin Hood mentality and work with some disreputable nightclub friends to set up a heist. In fact, loosely organised crime may even profile and befriend low-level dealership workers at bars to transform them into associates for procuring hot vehicles.
For the most part, dealerships employ car jockeys. The congested lots are filled with so many vehicles that it can be difficult to even find a particular model for the most studious. They may have to move three or four different vehicles just to free up parking clearance in order to relocate the sought-after model. After some time of profiling the dealership and understanding the pitfalls and risks involved in stealing an auto, there is nothing left to do except stealing a key. The rogue employee need only replace the original keys with some knock-offs that look the part or simply swipe the originals and hope no one notices. Once the car is gone, it would be difficult to put the pieces together that the keys don’t fit or whether someone left the keys in the vehicle as the reason for the theft.
Closed-Circuit Video (CCV) Cameras
In order to hedge against the threat of insider thefts and even thefts carried out by opportunistic criminals who have been profiling a car dealership externally, it is important for dealers to invest in theft-prevention technology. Security cameras have a dual benefit of not only stopping theft but also holding drivers responsible for any dings or damage to cars on the lots. The mere visibility of security cameras can deter the majority of thieves, who rightly fear the heightened risk of being caught in the act.
Virtual Guarding is ideal for protecting car lots
The worst news of all for car thieves, vandals, and those who would bring harm to a dealer’s inventory is the advent of remote guarding (also called “virtual guarding”). In this setup, a highly sophisticated network of high resolution cameras record every pertinent angle on the site, beaming that data back to a central security headquarters in real time via a separate server. Remote guarding industry leader Galaxy Protection describes how facial recognition, license plate recognition, and even two-way audio can be the difference between catching a criminal and having to simply eat your losses and argue with the insurance company.
Where do the stolen vehicles go?
Many criminals have connections to scrapyard workers that are willing to pay for stolen vehicles because it is harder to track down the stolen car parts they remove. Only the frame of the vehicle has VIN number information that police can use to prove a car was stolen. Few shops like to alter these numbers because the number of VIN number locations and security features are increasing. Altering the vehicle VIN number is also a Federal offence that may be detected by inspection stations or repair shops. When they pull the parts and simply dispose of the vehicles, the cars ultimately go through a crusher and turn into blocks of scrap metal that will never be seen again.
Embracing the future of auto dealer security
Considering the high dollar value you have tied up in your inventory and the amount of time it may take to realise a vehicle was even stolen from congested lots, it’s time for the industry as a whole to start moving over en masse to remote guarding — and they are. As more and more dealers realise that the cost of remote guarding is effectively cheaper when factoring in security guard wage theft, insurance savings, and reduced shrinkage, the future for all parties involved seems to be a win-win… unless, of course, you’re a car thief.