Car dealerships are better lit than airports, so why do they still face so many security problems?
Despite bright lights, car thieves take advantage of no one being around to go for joy rides, steal cars and break into garages.
The most common way that car dealerships try preventing this all-too-common issue is to invest in nighttime drive-by patrols. Unfortunately, this is frequently ineffective.
How Thieves Think
If your dealership has never had a car stolen, it’s only a matter of time. Thieves know you probably have a well-lit lot and security cameras, but that’s it. Cameras are only effective if the thief shows identifying features. A mask and gloves are enough to make it nearly impossible to identify a thief on camera.
Lights are great, but how much traffic goes by at 3 AM? Thieves learn traffic patterns and know which areas of your lot are least visible from the road. The lights just make it easier for thieves to find their targets.
Both new and used cars are at risk. To better understand how much of an issue this is, take a look at a few news stories just from the past year.
A car lot in Chamblee, GA went from having three or four cars stolen at a time to over 30 in a single night. The value was estimated upwards of $2 million. While the cars were insured, the dealer says they face much higher premiums as a result.
Around the same time as the Chamblee incident, thieves stole $100,000 worth of cars just 15 minutes away at a Stone Mountain, GA dealer.
A pre-owned car lot in Atlanta, GA also experienced losses of close to $75,000 after thieves broke in and stole seven cars. Police found three of those wrecked by the time the story was released to the public.
Along with thefts also comes damage. In fact, three Roswell, GA dealers had to deal with thefts and vandalism. In one instance, one of the stolen cars was used as a battering ram to break down the gates to steal more cars.
While Atlanta, GA and surrounding areas aren’t the only places dealing with thieves, these stories show that car dealerships aren’t safe.
Car Dealership Drive-by Patrols Don’t Work
Criminals are smarter than they are often given credit for. They are going to post a lookout to watch for that drive-by patrol approaching and alert their buddies to go hide until the drive-by patrol officer moves on to their next site. At that point, the criminals know they have a couple of hours until the next patrol visit.
Have your Cameras Actively Monitored by VirtuGuard™
Car thieves can hide from drive-by patrols and camera recordings the next day are typically useless. Car thieves are smart enough not to show their license plate on the vehicle they arrive in, and they certainly don’t show their faces or identifying marks.
However, if your cameras are being actively monitored, the car thief has no way of knowing that. They will have a lookout posted to look for a drive-by patrol unaware that our Virtual Security Officers are already watching them and calling law enforcement. Our VirtuGuard™ Security Officers will call your local law enforcement and stay on the line with their dispatch to guide them as they respond as the crime is occurring.
Save Cars from Being Lost Forever
It’s easy to say that the police will find the stolen cars or insurance will cover your losses after they are gone. However, police likely will never find your lost inventory.
There is also the opportunity cost of a lost sale. If you don’t have the car on the lot that a customer is looking for, they may go down the street to another dealer and buy from them, forming a relationship that may cost you two or three sales down the road.
What if the car is disassembled and sold for parts? This happens overnight and by the time a theft is reported and police start investigating, your cars are in pieces and being sold all over the world.
Another common problem is cars are often stolen just for the thrill so the thief can take a joyride. The end result is those cars are typically wrecked. Even if it is found, it’s still a total loss.
Major claims like this cause your insurance premiums to increase. Instead of getting full coverage, you end up paying for the loss over time. This alone makes it well worth investing in active camera monitoring like VirtuGuard™.
Catch Car Thieves Red-handed with VirtuGuard™
Are you tired of your car dealership being vulnerable to thieves? Contact our team today at 404-793-6965 to learn more about we help protect your cars.
Want to uncover potential vulnerabilities thieves may exploit? Try our free Security Needs Assessment today to optimize your dealership’s security.
Image: David McBee