Understaffed and Under Attack: How Car Dealers Can Steer Surveillance in the Right Direction

COVID's effects on Auto Dealerships is concerning. Many lots are facing restrictions on business and sales, which causes a very serious security risk.

With COVID-19 restrictions forcing auto dealerships across the country to limit business, and in some states cease in-person sales altogether, they are also facing a serious security risk.  Inflated inventories now sit on lots that, due to stay-at-home measures, are often unwatched and vulnerable. The strict social distancing guidelines put in place have caused activity in used and new car dealerships to drop precipitously, and in places like Pennsylvania, they are closed altogether.

With the profit margin on new car sales typically at 1-2%, and with some dealers already selling at a loss just to keep cash coming in, they can’t afford losses from stolen vehicles. And it’s not just the value of cars that can add up; in March, a theft ring hit several Memphis dealerships and the property damage alone was estimated at tens of thousands of dollars.

Car Thieves Running Away
Security camera footage shows a car thief ring at an auto dealership in the Memphis area. (Photo: Courtesy Photo)

Weak sales coupled with strict guidelines are leading to massive layoffs. In fact, the largest chain of auto dealerships in the country recently laid off 7,000 workers. A chain of dealerships in South Carolina had to layoff 73 of their employees while a dealer in Florida had to cut their workforce by 190.

So, with workers at home, who is keeping an eye on all those pricey assets? Fences, alarms or old-school “record-and-store” camera footage act as a first line of defense – but none is an active line of defense. The shortcomings of these systems were on display recently when a shut-down, used car dealership outside of St. Louis was robbed by 10 men wearing surgical masks and gloves – the record-and-store video is crystal clear, but the men got away with a trove of documents and a new truck. By the time anyone saw the video, they were long gone.

The Remote Monitoring Solution

Remote Video Monitoring

Pro-Vigil’s live remote monitoring offers car dealers a cost-effective solution to move beyond record-and-store, and instead engage in active deterrence. Video feeds are monitored in real-time and around the clock, with our team of security experts ready to take action to deter thefts and property destruction.

Pro-Vigil also offers a mobile surveillance unit that can be deployed in just hours, requiring no power source or Wi-Fi connectivity. The system enables rapid-response to the COVID crisis and is ideal for remote lots, or those that do not have ready access to electricity and network infrastructure. If you would like to learn more about our mobile surveillance options, click here.

Beyond Deterrence

car dealership security cameras

The benefits of Pro-Vigil go beyond remote monitoring and deterring crime. Many customers use the system to boost productivity. For example, employees can use the live video feeds to identify inventory and see what cars are on the lot when a customer expresses interest, without having to be at the dealership.  One Pro-Vigil customer in Florida even used his surveillance cameras from out of state to save a customer relationship – he noticed the customer becoming frustrated and called the manager to straighten out the situation.

Work-at-home orders do not have to bring excessive risk to auto dealers. Contact us today to find out which Pro-Vigil solution suits your immediate and long-term security needs.

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