Believe it or not, Q4 is just a few weeks away – and this means many companies are gearing up to set their security budgets and prioritize areas of investment for the year ahead. With this in mind, we thought it might be helpful to provide a high-level overview of a few recent dealership theft trends, so you can take them into consideration during the budget planning process.
Common Types of Commercial Auto Theft
When people think of commercial auto theft, their attention usually turns to dealers. However, auto auctions are another key target of organized criminals and independent auto thieves. And, COVID-19 has caused a proliferation of temporary lots for rental car companies and other businesses with large fleets.
Let’s take a closer look at these auto theft targets:
Labor Day weekend saw thieves in Memphis steal multiple Mercedes by driving them off the showroom floor and through the plate glass windows. In Louisville, a coordinated band of thieves hit multiple dealerships. Outside of Atlanta, thieves stole multiple luxury cars from a family-owned dealership, which may need to permanently close.
Crime activity during Labor Day weekend was not an anomaly – it’s representative of most weekends. With hundreds of high-value cars sitting on outside lots, it’s no surprise that dealerships are a top spot for auto theft. And with the FBI reporting that the average dollar loss per stolen vehicle is $8,407, these incidents can add up quickly.
#2 Auto Auctions
Nine million cars are sold at auto auctions every year. And, they’re usually highly publicized, so it’s easy for criminals to find out where and when these events are being held.
The advanced notification gives them time to plan their attack (just like with the dealership examples), and they have ample time to strike, since vehicles up for auction typically sit on unattended lots prior to the scheduled event.
#3 Temporary Vehicle Storage Lots
Stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 have caused vehicle sales and rental car revenue to significantly decline. General Motors Co. reported a Q2 sales decrease of 34% compared to 2019, while Toyota Motor Corp.’s sales dropped by approximately one-third.
From a rental perspective, at the height of COVID-19 restrictions in the spring, the American Car Rental Association reported that nationwide car rentals decreased by 80%. These trends have created a glut of unused vehicles that need to be stored somewhere – and that somewhere is often temporary storage lots.
This has created an inviting target for thieves, because these are often makeshift lots on abandoned fields, private lots, etc., so they do not have the security measures that are in place at the main commercial location.
Hot Spots for Auto Dealership Theft
We talked about the most enticing targets for auto thieves, but where in the U.S. are they operating? While crime happens all over the country, the 2019 “Hot Spots” report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau indicates that 11 states experienced an increase in year-over-year theft rates. These states are:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- New Hampshire
And, with more people staying home than ever to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we’re likely to see commercial auto theft, burglaries, vandalism and other crime incidents increase across the country this year. In fact, the trend is already starting. From January 1 through mid-May, year-over-year vehicle theft escalated 63% in New York and approximately 17% in Los Angeles. In April alone, car thefts were up 30% in Seattle and 40% in Denver.
Prioritizing Remote Video Surveillance In Security Planning
With new locations for car theft emerging and crime rates escalating due to COVID-19 and the associated economic slump, there is no better time for businesses in the auto industry to move from a reactive to a proactive video security strategy. What do we mean by this?
Many businesses use the traditional record-and-store method, where cameras record video for playback at a later date. While this measure may be useful in identifying the perpetrator of a crime, it does not help prevent the incident from happening in the first place. And, by the time anyone reviews the video tape, sophisticated car thieves will have already sold or otherwise monetized the stolen vehicles.
Here’s where remote video monitoring services come in handy.
Pro-Vigil’s remote video surveillance service includes intelligent live monitoring, and this powerful combination enables detection of potential threats within 18 seconds and crime deterrence within 30 seconds (using audiovisual deterrents, such as alarms, sirens, strobe lights, etc.).
Video feeds are monitored in real-time and around the clock by a team of live humans, and video cameras provide them with 360-degree property surveillance. The result is , 24×7 coverage of your dealership, auction site or storage lot, with no visibility gaps for criminals to exploit.
Pro-Vigil also offers customers the ability to pull up live or recorded footage with just a few clicks on their smartphone, so they can see what’s happening at their site whenever they want, wherever they are. Last but certainly not least, Pro-Vigil offers a mobile surveillance solution that can be deployed in hours and requires no power source or Wi-Fi connectivity, which is ideal for remote sites and the temporary storage lots popping up across the country.
To find out how more about why remote video monitoring services should be part of your Q4 and 2021 security strategy and how can Pro-Vigil can help deter crime on your properties, talk to us today.