Threats to car dealerships are not just external - internal theft is a big business too. In August last year, a BMW salesman was jailed for more than five years after he became involved in a plot to steal cars worth more than £200,000. He handed over spare keys to his first accomplice, provided him with the address of the cars new owner, and then a third man swooped in and stole the cars. This type of ‘relay-theft’ appears is becoming more and more common, as thieves work together to try and outwit the dealerships.
When you run a car dealership, whether franchised or independent, security needs to be a top priority when it comes to day-to-day business. You may assume that stealing a car from a dealership presents more problems than stealing a car off the street, but this is, in fact not the case – dealerships are often targeted by gangs who ‘steal to order’. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what you can do as a dealership to build a security system which helps to prevent costly vandalism or theft.
Grand theft auto
In December 2017 a gang of five men were jailed for stealing £40,000 worth of cars from a dealership in Dundee. In March 2017 fifteen cars were stolen from a dealership in Leeds by seven men who undertook a ‘fast and the Furious’ style break-in. At the time the owner of the dealership was at the hospital to witness the birth of his daughter. He left several sets of keys in the office as he was in a hurry, asking another member of staff to take them home – he forgot and that was the evening that the thieves struck.
Many organised crime groups target car dealerships in a ‘steal to order’ game. A group of ten hooded thieves were filmed driving off in eight brand new cars during a robbery on the in Tampa Florida in 2016. These kinds of incidents are increasingly common all over the world. Two Audis were stolen from a dealership in the East Midlands last year without keys even being used. The thieves were caught on CCTV drilling out the locks of the cars and plugging an electronic device into the onboard dash port to start the car.
Car thieves, however, do not just take cars from dealerships, they often go after car parts, high-value components and tyres. Many of these items are then sold off at a fraction of their value on sites like eBay, Preloved and Gumtree. This kind of theft can have massive financial implications. There have also been reported cases of thieves caused damage to cars when the cars were not the object of the crime. In Evesham, Worcestershire, five cars were damaged when thieves tried to steal fuel. As they were struggling to do so, they lashed out at the cars causing many hundreds of pounds worth of damage.
Threats to car dealerships are not just external – internal theft is big business too. In August last year, a BMW salesman was jailed for more than five years after he became involved in a plot to steal cars worth more than £200,000. He handed over spare keys to his first accomplice, provided him with the address of the cars new owner, and then a third man swooped in and stole the cars. This type of ‘relay-theft’ appears is becoming more and more common, as thieves work together to try and outwit the dealerships.
Watching me, watching you
A common issue for car dealerships is balancing the need for cars to be on public display in order to sell them, with the inherent risks of vandalism or theft. These acts can cost car dealers hundreds of thousands of pounds and risk damage to their reputation too.
Although keyless entry vehicles are commonplace now, thieves have developed very sophisticated ways of getting around this. In April this year, Auto Express reported that car theft rates in England and Wales had risen by 56%. Although it was not clear how many of these thefts were from car dealerships, keyless theft (Where criminals use relay-devices to trick cars into thinking the legitimate key is nearby) is a growing issue for all car owners.
It goes without saying that all car dealerships should invest in a high-definition CCTV system which is monitored. These types of CCTV system allow you to detect intruders before they reach key areas and take action before a crime is committed. An added bonus of CCTV is that it can allow you to monitor who is coming and going during any given day – which is important when you consider just how busy a car dealership is. Therefore, CCTV is not just a way of preventing external threats but also monitoring the movements of staff internally.
Biometric access control
Fingerprint readers can be used to secure different areas of a business. For example, you may only want to let certain members of staff access an area where parts are held or to track access to the key cabinet, or you may want to control access to internal offices. A biometric system can provide this level of control, giving you unfalsifiable proof – all from the use of a simple fingerprint.
How can biometric time & attendance help?
Car dealerships are normally a 7 day a week operation; meaning that staff shift patterns are convoluted and difficult to track. Biometric time and attendance systems are an extremely useful tool for car dealerships, allowing them to get rid of cumbersome paper, card, key or pin-based attendance management systems. These are often prone to falsification, error, and inaccuracy. A system that uses fingerprint scanners, offers a reliable, simple and very secure way to manage time and attendance. The convenience, security, and performance of fingerprint recognition systems have made them the most widely used biometric system on the market.
Bringing it all together
Car dealerships, no matter how small, deal in goods worth considerable sums of money, so investing in a security system that covers all bases makes good sense. As no one business is the same, every business needs a security system created to match their specific needs. Integrating the use of external and internal CCTV, alarms, lighting and biometric access control can provide car dealers with a very secure and user-friendly system.
As market leaders, innovators, manufacturers, and installers of fingerprint and vein technology systems, Almas Industries are well placed to help car dealerships with all aspects of biometric control, time and attendance, CCTV and security. Our systems are effective, highly secure and easy to operate. You can arrange your free, no obligation security survey by calling us on 01 68 333 68/ 0333 567 6677. If you prefer, you can always send a confidential email via [email protected].