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Why Are Thieves Preying On Collision Centers?

There’s no denying that collision repair centers are a thief’s dream target. Not only are they full of pricey tools, pieces of equipment and replacement parts, but they regularly have customer vehicles on-site for repairs that are packed with valuable parts.

Those parts are what criminals are truly after – and they know exactly what they’re looking for.

The Main Target: Catalytic Converters

It’s not a new issue, however, catalytic converter theft continues to grow in popularity. This type of theft can happen anywhere vehicles are located. From parking lots to city streets, garages, rental lots and used car dealerships to name a few.

Just how common has this type of theft become? According to BeenVerified, catalytic converter thefts in 2021 quadrupled those that occurred in 2020.

This problem has hit collision centers especially hard. Here’s a snapshot of several alarming incidents in recent months:

Robertsdale, AL

Nine catalytic converters were cut from cars at a body shop. The shop’s owner estimates the stolen parts will cost him $19,000 to replace.

New Castle, PA

Local reports indicate 10 catalytic converters were stolen from a repair shop and storage lot. Police noted other catalytic converter thefts in the area are under investigation as well.

money bags

Fairborn, OH

Police are reportedly investigating multiple cases of catalytic converter theft, including at a collision center. Police noted that these crimes are tricky to predict and track down as they appear to be more random than organized.

In Fillmore, CA, the issue has become so bad that police are teaming up with local businesses to deter thieves.

The Fillmore Gazette reported that the Fillmore Police Department is working with local auto repair shops to engrave license plate numbers and the Sheriff’s star logo onto residents’ catalytic converters free of charge to deter thieves from stealing them.

Similar “Etch and Catch” programs are being offered across the country which just goes to show how common these thefts have become.

But Wait… There’s More!

Unfortunately, while catalytic converters are among the most stolen items from collision centers, that’s not all thieves are after. Some of the other regular targets include:

Entire Vehicles

Tailgates

tire

Tires & Rims

Tools & Equipment

It’s not just the targets that have made collision centers a viable option for thieves. Several factors are contributing to this problem, including the rise of online selling platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Craigslist. 

Thieves can easily and quickly resell their items for a profit before anyone ever realizes the items are stolen. Supply chain delays and staffing shortages stemming from the pandemic have also put a strain on these businesses. Thieves know this – and they’re ready to cash in on your struggles.

Defend and Deter Collision Center Theft

Are talk down services the best option for deterring crime?

Collision centers can be tough to defend from a security perspective. Thieves are after vehicles and the parts inside them. Often, collision centers park customer cars outside or on storage lots overnight.

While many businesses use fencing to protect customer vehicles, that doesn’t keep thieves out. They can easily cut through fences and break locks. Once on-premises, they cut out parts like catalytic converters as quickly as they can, leaving behind costly damage.

That’s why deterring thieves and stopping crimes before they ever happen is so crucial – not just recording footage of a crime in action. Pro-Vigil’s remote video monitoring (RVM) solution utilizes cameras backed by the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Here’s how it works: if our cameras spot suspicious behavior, like someone walking onto your property after-hours or hopping a fence, the AI flags that event. Our team of expert virtual guards then takes over. They determine whether the threat is legitimate and jump into action.

AI Deterrence

Sometimes this means deploying audio and visual deterrents like strobe lights, sirens, and recorded announcements. In the most serious situations, they can even contact the proper authorities. Pro-Vigil’s security solutions have proven so effective that we’ve deterred 97% of crimes detected on customer sites.

Stop crime at your collision center in its tracks! Contact our expert team of security specialists today to learn how we can make that goal a reality.

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