Wise car owners worry about the security of their vehicles. After all, we typically use them every single day to get to work, pick up the kids, and load ‘em up with groceries. Sadly, there’s good reason to worry about auto theft: according to the Insurance Information Institute and the FBI, 707,758 motor vehicles were reported stolen in 2015, up a whopping 3.1% from the previous year. Get this: In the United States, a car is stolen every 45 seconds.
While the Honda Accord remains the perennial favorite among car thieves, AutoGuide.com reports that here in Tennessee Chevrolet’s full-size pickup is the car theft winner (or the loser, depending on your perspective). If you own a dealership full of new or used Hondas and Chevy pickups, you may be wondering what you can do to keep your auto dealership and your inventory safe from theft.
When you think about it, auto dealerships are the perfect target for car thieves and vandals: not only do dealers keep hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps even millions of dollars of merchandise outside, but in an effort to appear welcoming to drive-in customers auto lots often do without perimeter security fencing. Not only that, but the thief’s target, a brand-new car or truck, may also double as a getaway vehicle!
If you own a dealership, you probably already know that protecting your investment from human dangers is only part of the story. You’ll also want to be able to protect your inventory from severe weather. Having an on-site security guard is great, but it’s costly and vulnerable to human error.
The Best Security Systems for Your Auto Dealership
If you’re looking for the best security system for your lot, you’ll need to pay close attention to your physical security. Working with perimeter security professionals, you’ll take stock of your assets, consider critical vulnerabilities, and determine your threat probability. The following are a few of the different physical security options that you’ll want to consider as you determine the right security system, lighting, intrusion detection, access points and physical perimeter protection for your dealership.
It’s hard to believe, but earlier this year, a rash of luxury car thefts rocked the Chicago area. Chicago’s WGN-TV reported that over 100 cars were stolen in just six months from a variety of dealerships throughout the region. In some cases, the criminals simply walked up to the vehicles and drove off. In others instances, they hit the dealerships after hours, climbing into unlocked windows or shattering windows and simply took off with the merchandise.
The lessons to be learned here?
- Don’t leave keys in your vehicles during or after hours
- Be sure to lock all doors and windows after closing.
High-Definition Security Cameras
The single most effective way to minimize inventory losses from parts theft, outright car theft, vandalism, and hail damage is to install around-the-clock video surveillance. State-of-the-art HD cameras can be installed by qualified security alarm professionals to ensure that no corner of your lot goes unseen. The feed from these cameras can be sent to real-time security monitors and suspicious activity can be reported to the local police immediately. If you opt for an IP system that can be accessed remotely anywhere, anytime, you can even be your own security professional!
These systems clearly record activity that can be used, if necessary, to track thieves, file insurance claims, and mount successful prosecutions. Furthermore, it probably goes without saying that criminals are much less likely to strike a lot surrounded by cameras than one without.
Not only are HD cameras great for security, but they’re also excellent data collection tools. See which cars people are looking at, how long customers are on the lot before being approached by a salesperson, and which displays are generating the most interest from potential buyers.
Lighting and Perimeter Gates
Taking care to make sure that the perimeter of your property is optimized for security is a wise investment as well. If your lot doesn’t have a fence with a locking gate, you really should consider having one installed. After all, if they can’t drive it off the lot, it’s probably going to stay on the lot. Today’s fencing options are attractive, sturdy, and can even be accessed remotely. Naturally, a well-lit lot isn’t going to be a criminal's first stop!
If you install a system with a built-in access control, you can also control access for new, current, and former employees. Know who’s on the lot, when, where, and why.
To learn more about HD security cameras, lighting, and perimeter security, give us a call at 615.846.2380 or contact Herring Technology online. We’ll even throw in a few more common sense recommendations if you’re interested!