No one wants to think of their car getting stolen, but it’s a crime that happens often.

As an auto dealer, you’re running a candy store for car thieves. While some avoid dealerships due to surveillance, others find it worth the risk.

If you don’t have security guards, any stolen cars could be gone forever or damaged beyond repair in a matter of a few minutes.

Car Theft Statistics

While overall motor vehicle thefts are down, they’re still high enough that you should take notice. In fact, two Georgia cities made the list of cities most likely to have your car stolen. East Point and College Park were listed along with several cities in California, Michigan, Utah and others.

According the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s 2017 Crime Report, motor vehicle thefts accounted for 7.88% of all crimes in Georgia. Nationwide, auto thefts are still a problem. The FBI’s 2016 report found motor vehicle thefts occur for every 236.9 out of 100,000 people. This was a 6.6% increase over 2015.

While these numbers include individuals too, auto dealers are included. For those looking for specific vehicles, a dealership is sometimes a much easier target. Especially, poorly lit lots and those that focus on exotic cars.

Auto Dealer Thefts In The News

While the stats above focused on overall car thefts, they don’t say much about dealerships specifically. Some thieves are actually considerate and return the vehicles, such as what happened multiple times at a Ford dealership.

Sadly, most criminals aren’t that nice. They usually either sell them off, send them to chop shops, go for joy rides and demolish them later or wreck them trying to get away from the police. Generally, it doesn’t end well for auto dealers.

Recently, the Landmark of Atlanta dealership discovered how devastating car thefts can be. Over 30 cars were stolen, totaling over $2 million. Thieves took all the high-performance cars in a single night just hours after employees went home.

In the South Bay area of California, a gang of car thieves took advantage of a poorly lit area at a local dealership. They got away with 40 cars over just a few months. Only a portion of the suspected criminals has been caught. Only 25 cars were recovered.

Not only do auto thefts happen at dealerships, but they often happen with multiple vehicles at a time. Once thieves find an auto dealer that meets the right criteria, such as poor security and the right type of vehicles, it’s only a matter of time before cars start to go missing.

Stealing From Dealerships

The biggest question you might have is why would thieves want to target dealerships. After all, there is usually video surveillance and bright lights. The lots are usually visible from the road and any could see what’s happening.

However, how many people usually drive by late at night? What if there is a power outage? What if one or more lights go out?

Some of the things that make auto dealers a target include:

  • Lack of visible security
  • Poorly lit areas of the lot
  • Garages that may not be monitored
  • High-performance and exotic cars
  • Located in a high crime area
  • Cars stored around the back of the dealership

Preventing Thefts

Of course, you don’t just have to wait for something to happen. While you should always have video surveillance, you also need someone to monitor the feed. In addition, you need security guards too. It’s easy enough to hide your face when stealing a car. But, if a guard is walking by, it’s much more difficult to avoid being seen.

Even small used car lots benefit from having at least one security guard after business hours. It’s a small investment to keep cars safer.

Larger lots should consider having multiple security guards to cover more ground. This is also where surveillance monitoring helps to cover even more area at once.

In addition to guards, ensure there isn’t a single area of your dealership lot that isn’t fully lit. Yes, you’ll pay more for power, but you’ll pay much more in insurance premiums if cars keep getting stolen.

Contacting BOS Security

We know it’s difficult creating security strategies for your auto dealership. Contact us at 404-793-6965 with any questions and concerns. We’re always happy to help you create custom strategies to keep your dealership safer.

Want to learn more about potential vulnerabilities at your lot? Try our free Security Needs Assessment today!

Image: Wikimedia Commons / order_242