With multimillion-dollar inventories on open lots, car dealerships face security challenges unique to their industry that other businesses don't have to consider or prepare for.
The good news is that a professional security system can monitor and protect your business from costly threats like data breaches, false claims, vandalism, auto-part theft, and cars taken directly from your lot.
To a thief, your car lot is an open treasure chest, and your inventory gleams like rare jewels and gold.
Automobile theft had been on the decline since the early 1990s, but that trend reversed in 2020. Criminals have long known how to hot-wire cars, and many now specialize in hacking keyless entry models and driving them fresh off the lot.
In fact, more than 300,000 cars are stolen directly from auto dealerships each year. According to the IIA (Insurance Institute of America), dealerships lose hundreds of millions of dollars each year—and that's just in vehicles driven off the lot.
Small but highly valuable assets and car components are as attractive to thieves as ever. DVD players, navigation systems, and brand-new tires are easy to steal and easier to resell. There's even a market for airbags: 50,000 are stolen in the U.S. each year.
Of course, the prize jewels on most car lots are catalytic converters.
Composed of the precious metals platinum, pallidum, and rhodium—each rare and more valuable than gold—converters can be removed with a simple wrench in under two minutes. They're resold to recyclers for hundreds of dollars apiece.
In addition to cars and auto parts, criminals target information and financial data stored in car dealership offices.
The only threat to auto dealership security that may surpass professional thieves are vandals and teenagers chasing an adrenaline rush. In 2019, four teens had a lot of fun at a Houston CarMax by having the most expensive game of bumper cars. Also, around forty cars at a Providence Township car dealership were damaged by vandals in 2021, and one Chicago man recently smashed 80 car windows before he was stopped.
High-caliber tools ranging from alerts supporting on-site security guards to out-of-this-world visual deterrence to the real-time dispatch of law enforcement by remote 24/7 monitor stations are available to secure the high-value inventory at your auto dealership.
Access control systems protect sensitive data and facilities at secure access points from unauthorized entry. They cross-check IDs against privileges granted by administrators so that doors are unlocked, and customer information is presented only to the right people.
With access control, you can receive alerts for perimeter security after-hours, restrict access to equipment in your garage and service bay, find out who accesses spaces and information and when they do it, and save money on security guards.
A well-designed video surveillance system is at the heart of car dealership security.
With a prominent security camera system, most vandals and thieves will be deterred from targeting you in the first place. But in the event that your auto dealership is violated, a high-caliber security camera system will ensure that law enforcement receives actionable evidence to catch the perpetrators.
Car dealership security cameras range from thermal cameras that can detect bodies on pitch-black nights to bullet cameras with license plate recognition capabilities. There are even video surveillance cameras with advanced software for facial recognition and suspicious activity detection.
While a mix of security camera types usually provides the best security, there are a few features we recommend for all car dealership security cameras.
High-definition digital cameras are necessary for video surveillance that's clear enough to capture identifying details. Digital cameras also allow for longer-term footage storage than analogs because their data requires less space.
With IP (Internet Protocol) cameras, footage of your expensive inventory becomes accessible in real-time, both on-site and remotely.
IP cameras make it possible to receive timely alerts and view video footage from anywhere with a smartphone. Sales and security guard staff use mobile viewing apps to track people and events in the parking lot, improving security and salesmanship.
Most importantly, IP cameras allow you to contract professional security services to monitor your dealership during off-hours and respond to threats instantly with out-of-this-world alarms and eye-witness-supported law enforcement dispatches.
While security guards can reduce theft and vandalism, off-hours security solutions are essential for effective car dealership security. After all, your vehicle inventory is worth just as much on holidays and late at night.
Posting guards throughout parking lots year-round presents excessive car dealership security costs. That's why we highly recommend services to professionally monitor your car inventory from a remote location. With remote monitoring, it's possible to reduce security costs dramatically while improving security at your car dealership.
With video surveillance cameras as their eyes in the sky and the added aid of AI-based video analytics, remote monitoring services can provide superior car dealership security by quickly spotting unwanted activity and taking action.
Alert off-site security guards can activate audio and visual deterrents: blaring alarm sirens, flashing strobe lights, and talking security cameras. And if those deterrents don't work, rapid police response is possible thanks to eye-witness reports provided to dispatchers by remote video-monitoring professionals.
Any mechanic that has been accused of destroying a vehicle by not securing a cap knows that video monitoring in your service bay can protect you from the reputational damage and fraudulent lawsuits that cost dealerships millions every year.
With high-definition commercial security cameras documenting incidents, car dealerships have the video footage they need to put fraudulent liability claims to rest.
Genuine accidents on car lots can be costly for dealerships that don't cover their entire property with surveillance cameras. Video monitoring and analysis ensure that incidents can be documented and damages can be claimed.
Camera systems can alert you to employee behavior, good and bad. Dealership owners have been shocked by video surveillance footage of their most trusted employees stealing high-value inventory.
Meanwhile, honest technicians appreciate the ability to leave their tools behind with the knowledge that video surveillance provides both evidence and theft deterrence.
AI-supported security cameras and remote video monitoring services can provide car dealerships with both actionable data on day-to-day operations and insights on customer behavior that can be used by marketing and sales professionals.
For example, AI-generated reports can tell you which cars and areas your customers walk toward, how long they look at specific cars, and how that data relates to ultimate purchases and ideal placement for the cars you most want to move.
Insurance providers absolutely love security systems—and insurers of auto dealerships love them even more than most.
With a thorough security system, including 24/7 remote video monitoring, insurers will likely offer reductions to your fees and premiums.
From choosing the right mix of cameras to the right alarms and access control devices, designing a cost-effective and highly functional security system can be a challenge for any auto dealership.
At Mammoth Security, we're in the business of designing and installing top-grade security solutions for small and major auto dealerships throughout Connecticut. Our top priority is ensuring you have the right security system to protect your valuable inventory and protect your site from theft and property damage.
We know which cameras to use and how to place them to deter crime and provide complete coverage. We know which access control systems work best to secure different spaces. And we recommend the best remote video surveillance services so you don't have to keep security staff posted 24/7 to prevent theft and vandalism.
Wireless cameras are not reliable enough for commercial use yet. Instead, we use purpose-built antennae to connect hardwired cameras on light poles and buildings.
For Camera Systems
Watch live or previously recorded footage on any mobile device. Save it to your phone and e-mail it just like any other video or image.
4k or 8MP cameras represent the best value at the moment. Depending on your situation, a 30+ megapixel camera can be installed allowing you to read a seat number from the opposite end of a football field.