How to Keep Your Car Dealership Safe From Thieves

As a car dealership owner, it’s necessary to know the correct ways on how to keep your car dealership safe from burglars. A simple lock and key won’t do anymore.

You shouldn’t take safety precautions for your dealerships with a grain of salt. Keeping your business secure is critical, especially if you leave your vehicles on outside parking lots. That’s why we have come up with these tips on how to keep your car dealership safe from thieves.

Come to think of it, car dealerships are similar to jewelry shops. Both businesses have products that are either be new or used (pre-loved, as some people call it), both are heavily-guarded, and both sell expensive products.

The only difference is that you can put a golden necklace inside a thief’s pocket. On the other hand, you will have a hard time doing the same thing with a vehicle. That being said, car thieves can be crafty and calculating. With the right tools and strategy, thieves can get inside your car dealership and drive off with the car of their choosing without anyone noticing.

Check out our tips below on how to keep your car dealership safe from auto theft.

Auto Theft Statistics In United States And Other Interesting Facts

If you live in New York, we’ve got some bad news for you. While most crime rates are plunging down for 2020, reports stated that auto theft reports have spiked up. According to a CNN report, NYPD states they have recorded 464 cases of car theft during the start of the pandemic. This is over a hundred cases more compared to last year.

Authorities suspect that the rise is in car theft is due to most people staying at home to prevent contracting the coronavirus. Since most people are just staying at home and not using their vehicles, thieves have more opportunities to take cars with less attention.

Apart from that, here are some auto theft statistics in the United States, gathered by Insurance Information Institute

More Cars Get Stolen During Halloween And Other Holidays

Holidays are meant to be happy times spent with family and loved ones, but these days aren’t as celebratory for a couple of thousand car owners. According to the stat, car thieves become more active during holidays. In 2018, more than two thousand and a half cars were reported stolen. This makes 2018 New Year’s day the holiday with the most car thefts. It is followed by President’s Day with 2,380 cars while Halloween comes third with 2,275 cars.

With Halloween just around the corner, make sure to check on your cars for sale, or you will be tricked.

Here is a table of American Holidays with the most cars stolen.

RankHolidayNo. Of Thefts
1New Year’s Day2,571
2President’s Day2,380
4Labor Day2,235
5Memorial Day2,167
6New Year’s Eve2,122
7Independence Day2,071
8Valentine’s Day2,001
9Christmas Eve1,912
11Christmas Day1,447

Honda Civic Is The Most Stolen Vehicle For Three Years In A Row

Honda Civic made a grand slam as the most stolen car model for three years in a row. About 45,062 Civics got stolen in 2017, 45,062 in 2018, and 38,062 in 2019. The Accord, another Honda model, comes close in second place with 36,815 units last year. Claiming the third spot is the full-size Ford Pickup with 36,355 units stolen by vehicle thieves in 2019.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), old Honda Civic models became the prime target for thieves due to a lack of anti-theft technology compared to its newer models. So, if your car dealership has older Honda Civic models, better keep a keen eye on them – they are thief magnets.

Below is a graph of the 10 most stolen vehicles of 2019.

ModelNumber Of TheftsModel Year Most Stolen
Honda Civic38,4262000 (5,290 thefts)
Honda Accord36,8151997 (5,029 thefts)
Ford Pickup (Full Size)36,3552006 (3,173 thefts)
Chevrolet Pickup31,5662004 (2,097 thefts)
Toyota Camry16,9062017 (1,144 thefts)
Nissan Altima13,2842017 (1,451 thefts)
Toyota Corolla12,3882017 (1,034 thefts)
GMC Pickup (Full Size)11,7082018 (1,170 thefts)
Dodge Pickup (Full Size)11,2262001 (1,155 thefts)
Jeep Cherokee/
Grand Cherokee
9,8182000 (646 thefts)

How Thieves Steal From Your Car Dealership?

You might be asking these questions to yourself, how do thieves take cars away? And how do you keep your car dealership safe? Let’s answer the second question later. Right now, let’s deal with the first query.

Most cars, particularly the newer models, have intricate security systems that prevent thieves from entering in. However, ironically it’s that same technology that puts moderns cars at higher risk of getting stolen. According to What Car, most car thieves are targeting models with keyless entry systems and push button ignitions.

So, how do thieves steal cars away from your dealership? Back in the day, car burglars had to be strong enough to break side door windows to get in. They also needed to learn specific wiring techniques to start car engines. Nowadays, all they need is a scanning device that can pick key fob codes. Once codes are transmitted to their device, they then connect it to a repeater.

Car manufacturers use coded signals for their key fobs instead of giving out unique ones to owners. Because of this, thieves can use repeaters to gain access to the car’s cabin and drive the vehicle away, without breaking a sweat.

Modern car thieves aren’t just smooth at what they do, they also do it quicker than 9000 RPM. What Car tested a Land Rover Discovery Sport and a BMW X3 to see if it’s secure enough to prevent car theft. The results are, to say the least, disappointing. Not only did both car models failed to prevent the intrusion, but the thief also got to drive away with the BMW in less than a minute, and the Land Rover in 30 seconds.

Car Thieves Prime Target: Open, Unsecured Car Dealerships

Just like any other crime, car theft is a game of strategy.

Most car dealerships already have websites, and thieves use this to their advantage. Using website images, they will first examine the interior to know how they can enter without getting too much attention. At times, thieves pretend to be car buyers and visit dealerships to closely explore the place and distinguish which cars can be stolen easily.

If your car dealership is located in an isolated place, your chances of getting your car stolen are high. They prefer to steal vehicles from dealerships in remote locations so they could steal cars with little to no witnesses. If there are no residences or establishments near your business, it’s best to keep your car dealership safe and secure.

Lastly, thieves prefer car dealerships with open parking lots. Although they sometimes target cars within display floors with glass walls, most car theft cases happen at car dealerships with open parking lots.

How To Keep Your Car Dealerships Safe – Tips

Using sophisticated alarm and surveillance devices is the key to keeping your car dealership safe. We can’t deter thieves from ransacking your place. We also can’t figure out the time they will pay a visit, most of the time. Still, we can keep our car dealership safe and prevent them from going home with any of our vehicles. Below are some fool-proof ways on how to keep your car dealership safe.

Video Surveillance

Surveillance cameras are the kryptonite of all thieves.

Security experts suggest this is the most effective way to protect your car dealership from thieves and your cars from being stolen. Don’t just settle for any surveillance camera systems you see online. Instead, check and compare first which system is the best for your business.

When you have your surveillance cameras on hand, don’t just install them anywhere you like. You have to make sure that cameras are placed in key locations.

Below are some tips on how and where to install cameras:

  • Place cameras above entrances, inventory areas, and cash registers. Make sure that the camera is not more than 12 feet above.
  • Place and install the camera at an angle that can scope most areas.
  • When you install cameras outdoors, place it inside a casing. Some cameras are prone to weather damage.
  • To protect yourself from legal disputes, place a signage disclosing that the area has surveillance cameras.

Below are features you should consider when buying a surveillance camera system:

  • Live Recording and Archiving Features. So you can easily pull up recorded videos.
  • Remote Control Feature. This feature allows you to view surveillance and adjust the camera setting using your mobile device. This way, you can check your business wherever you are.
  • Adjustable Motion Sensor.
  • Push Notification Sensor. This feature pushes email notification when there’s a suspicious activity after hours.

For car dealerships who want to keep their business safe using surveillance systems, we recommend using Nest. Their cameras are usually slimmer and lighter for easy installation. In addition, their cameras come with features such as an 8x digital zoom, to name one. Some of our partner dealerships use this, and they suggest that other dealerships should do the same. (Not a paid promotion, no affiliation.)

Let There Be Light

Thieves, as the old saying goes, come in the night. Most car thefts happen at night when there are not many people roaming around and there is no sunlight available. So how do you keep your car dealership safe at night? To shed light on this problem, a powerful light fixture is an effective way to secure your car dealership business. Bright lights discourage thieves from entering your property and will make surveillance videos clearer.

A suitable light fixture for your office and display floors should be enough, but parking lots are another story. Experts recommend using floodlight with at least 20,000 lumens installed on each pole. A light with that intensity should be able to cover an area of 15 to 20 square feet. If you have a more considerable parking lot, you will need more.

Defense With A Fence

To keep your car dealership safe from thieves, you need to guard it from its perimeter by placing a fence. Sturdy wires are enough, but it’s much better to install an electric fence instead, for added security. This will prevent car thieves from sneaking up after hours, especially on areas that can’t be reached by lamp lights.

When you use an electric fence, take extra caution. Don’t set it to a maximum as it can be fatal sometimes; just enough voltage so it can jolt anyone that touches it. Also, don’t forget to place a couple of electric fence signage to prevent liabilities.

Hire A Security Expert

Yes, we understand that all these safety measures are overwhelming, especially if you have little to no knowledge of how. If this is your situation, it is best to hire a security expert. Not all car dealerships are created equal, and a security expert can assess how to keep your car dealership safe. Security experts know how to install cameras the right way, how to set up lights and fences, and can give you extra tips to keep your dealership secured from thieves.

And these are the ways on how to keep your dealership safe. Just like any other business, safety should always be a for priority for your dealership. Another priority you should focus on is auto reconditioning, as car dealerships rely on sellable cars. Click here to read our guide to auto reconditioning.

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