If you’re the owner of an auto dealership, you may find that one of the most irritating and infuriating aspects of your job lies in managing and responding to a variety of crimes committed against your property and vehicles.
From petty vandalism to the theft and sale of vehicles and parts, the exposed nature of many auto dealership lots and the high value of the vehicles on site can make dealerships a target of criminal activity. What can you do to protect yourself, your employees, and your business?
Read on to learn more about some common types of dealership-related crime, as well as the most effective tactics to stop would-be criminals in their tracks.
Common Types of Dealership-Related Crime
One of the most common criminal enterprises that continues to spread throughout the country is the theft of parts. For example, many thieves take catalytic converters. Skilled thieves with the equipment to quickly cut and remove catalytic converters can get away with a dozen or more of these emissions-reducing devices in a single night.
While thieves are unlikely to get more than around $240 per converter at a recycling facility, each converter can cost the vehicle’s owner thousands of dollars to replace. This can be an enormous cost for any dealership, and is made even worse when a customer’s vehicle is targeted and must be kept for additional repairs.
In addition, discovery of these thefts (particularly on used vehicles) may not be immediate.
Because removing the catalytic converter won’t disable a vehicle (and may not even make it appreciably louder, depending on how much of the exhaust pipe remains), it’s unlikely you’ll notice anything until someone starts or drives the affected vehicle.
This theft isn’t likely to be covered under a vehicle warranty, and, depending upon how many past claims you’ve filed, may also be barred by your business’s insurance policy.
Vandalism can be another concern for many auto dealerships. For those bent on causing destruction, a car carrier filled with brand-new vehicles may be too tempting to pass by; dealership owners may arrive at work to find broken windshields, slashed tires, or other destruction.
Best Auto Dealership Security Methods
Because thieves and vandals tend to hit dealerships after dark, when the building and lots are empty, traditional security measures like motion-activated lights and security cameras aren’t likely to provide you much protection.
Security cameras also won’t be much of a deterrent for thieves who are able to easily obscure their face or vehicle license plate from the camera’s view. Without some way to identify the burglar or his or her getaway vehicle, your prosecution options will be limited.
Even if you’re able to access a live video feed from your dealership at all times, you may find this technology just allows you to watch your business being burglarized instead of helping you (or the police) step in to stop matters.
For these reasons, you’ll often find that hiring uniformed security guards is your best bet. These guards can perform walking or driving patrols, ensuring that anyone who arrives with the intent to cause mischief or steal valuables is immediately made aware that he or she has company.
Because the cost of theft and vandalism can be so high, and because turning in repeated theft claims against your dealership’s insurance policy is likely to cause your rates to rise over time, hiring a security company to provide your dealership with after-hours guards and patrols can ultimately save you money.
Other security measures may be appropriate for different types of businesses, but as a dealership owner, you aren’t likely to go wrong by investing in some personal physical protection.