Budget-Conscious Security Tips to Deter Crime at Auto Dealerships

According to a preliminary analysis by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), in 2020, auto theft increased 9.2 percent over 2019. And, the increase in auto theft incidents has become a troubling trend.
crime at auto dealerships

After a two-year decline, auto thefts are on the rise once again. In fact, this year, motor vehicle theft in Milwaukee has increased 152%, compared to the same time period in 2020. And, Long Beach, California, police reported a 57% rise in auto thefts since the beginning of the year.

Crime at Auto Dealerships

Unfortunately for auto dealerships, crime isn’t as simple as “thieves stealing cars,” either. Car parts can be extremely valuable to criminals and much easier to get away with than driving a car off a lot.

catalytic converter theft

In fact, one of the most costly crimes carried out on dealerships – and one that is also difficult to identify and stop – is catalytic converter theft. And that’s not all. There’s also vandalism, property damage and customer fraud to consider. All of these crime incidents add up over the course of a year and can take a significant toll on a dealership’s bottom line and reputation. 

Auto Theft and Crime

Crime incidents may be on the rise, but that doesn’t mean security budgets are increasing alongside them. In fact, for many companies, the opposite is true: Due to the pandemic, dealerships are operating on a limited budget, with minimal financial resources available to allocate to physical security. 

crime at auto dealerships

Here’s the good news: to be effective, your physical security strategy doesn’t have to cost a fortune. But, it does need to be proactive and strategic – and this means putting measures in place that deter criminals from attempting an attack on your property. 

Pro-Vigil Founder Jeremy White authored a contributed article on just this topic that was recently published on WardsAuto, a well-respected vertical publication that covers news and insights on the global automotive industry.

In his piece, “Three Simple Things Auto Dealers Can Do to Deter Crime,” Jeremy discusses why a proactive security program is so important and provides readers with three cost-effective and easy-to-implement security best practices that will help them keep trespassers off their property and deter crime of all kinds. We feel his tips are so valuable that they are worth repeating. Here’s what Jeremy had to say:

  • Lock gates and fences protecting the premises. Gates and fences are the first line of defense against trespassers. While having this type of perimeter security can be a visual deterrent for some criminals, others will attempt to bypass it. Every second counts for criminals carrying out an attack, and you don’t want to make it quick and easy for them to get onto your property because you neglected to lock your security gate. This seems like an obvious best practice, but you’d be surprised at how often unlocked gates contribute to successful attacks.

  • Block your building’s main entrance with used cars. Smash-and-grab robberies on dealerships are very common. An effective deterrent to prevent these types of attacks is to park your cheapest used car in front of the main entrance before going home each night. Doing so might tack on five minutes to your workday, but it’ll save your company time and money in the long run.

  • Put cameras at the service bay's entrance and exit. Auto dealers also can suffer major financial losses as a result of customer fraud. For example, someone takes their car – which already has a ding in the passenger side door – into the shop for an oil change or tire rotation, but then claims the ding came from the dealership during the service appointment. To prevent fraud claims of this nature, consider placing video surveillance systems at the entrance and exit to service bays. This will allow you to clearly document the quality of cars before and after appointments, and it will equip you with video evidence should you need it to disprove a customer claim.”

To hear more from Jeremy on building a proactive security strategy, check out his article in WardsAuto. To find out how Pro-Vigil can help you proactively deter crime, contact us today.

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