Businesses are looking to increase their security coverage because theft and other criminal threats are on the rise. Car dealerships are no different. Because a dealership’s most valuable asset, their car collection, needs to be protected while also open to the public, they have some specific needs. This guide tells you everything you need in your car dealership security system.
Car dealerships face many business challenges that can be mitigated by a security system. These range from the obvious ones, such as theft and vandalism, to less considered but often more expensive risks, including the potential for fraudulent insurance claims.
Here are just some of the threats faced by car dealerships today:
- Car theft
- Break ins
- Employee and customer safety
- Fraudulent insurance claims
- False alarm fines
- Low employee productivity
- Difficulty attributing value to sales and marketing efforts
In 2020, the most recent year for which data is available, 810,400 vehicles were stolen in the United States. This was the highest rate in over 10 years, and almost 12% higher than the 2019 number of 724,872 vehicles stolen. This includes related crimes such as carjackings and mass thefts from dealerships.There are reasons to believe this number will be even higher in 2022.
Your vehicles need to be accessible to the buying public. You want them to be seen, touched, and experienced. However, that accessibility also means that dealerships place their cars at a higher risk of being stolen.
While cars are the biggest and most obvious asset for dealerships, there are many other valuable items. Many car dealerships also have car shops, which can be filled with valuable parts and tires that have a known black market. If your dealership has a lending service, then you might also have valuable customer data which could be exploited by thieves.
Running a sharp object down a car could cause thousands of dollars in damage in seconds. At a large dealership, this can multiply out to a catastrophic number. That’s just the vehicles, too. Large showroom windows and other items could also be destroyed in minutes by someone looking to cause trouble. This destructive behavior can even include arson.
Employee and customer safety
Unfortunately, there’s always the risk of an irate customer becoming violent. This is one place where Solink can help in two ways. First, an angry person is less likely to continue escalating things if they perceive there’s a risk they will be recorded and face legal consequences.
Second, when a situation does arise, the Solink system is there to capture what happened, share it with the police, and make sure that the situation is resolved appropriately.
To see how Solink keeps your customers and employees safe, sign up for a demo today.
Fraudulent insurance and damage claims
While many companies aren’t thinking about fraud when installing a security system, being able to prove a single slip-and-fall event was an attempted fraud can pay for a lifetime of security.
Car dealership security systems need to be ready to face a second type of fraudulent insurance claim. Some people might be looking to get your dealership to pay for damage to their car. They may have a dent in a door and see their six-month maintenance check up as an opportunity to get your dealership to pay for the cost to fix the door.
False alarm fines
False alarm fines are going up all the time. That’s because the sheer volume of false alarms is taking limited emergency resources away from cities. In fact, some estimates put the total percentage of unverified alarms being false at 98%. In fact, many cities have stopped responding to unverified alarms entirely.
That’s why verified alarms are becoming more and more important. Solink Video Alarms provides video verification when the alarm is triggered. Then, when law enforcement is needed, you can give emergency responders real-time access to video feeds so they can better react to the situation.
To see how Solink can keep your cars safe overnight, sign up for a demo today.
Low employee productivity
Sometimes called time theft, intentional low productivity can hurt your dealership. Prospective customers not being engaged can decrease sales not only today but also tomorrow as it leads to a worse customer experience.
Your car dealership security system can help you build a great customer experience by showing you training opportunities to improve your employee productivity.
Difficulty attributing value to sales and marketing efforts
Car dealerships often spend large amounts of money on advertising. It can be hard to understand why someone first arrived at your dealership and therefore which marketing tactics are working as well as which ones are not.
This problem can be mirrored by sales activity. Is your best salesperson the one who is greeting the most customers, or are they actually costing you money by not stepping aside for the ones who are most likely to close the deal?
These risks aren’t as overt as theft or vandalism, but they can be just as costly by hurting your margins every day. It’s also something that can be monitored by pairing your data with video in the Solink platform.
To see how Solink can help monitor the sales data of your car dealership, sign up for a demo today.
How to improve car dealership security
Car dealerships can improve their security in many ways. Some of them can be implemented today with little more than a staff meeting, while others require concerted effort.
Here are some things you can do to improve the security of your car dealership:
- Install a video surveillance system
- Improve lighting
- Use vehicle GPS systems
- Lock up keys and fobs
- Create roadblocks for tow trucks
- Implement a strict sign out process
- Sign up for video alarms
Install a video surveillance system
Not all car dealerships have security cameras installed. However, CCTV cameras are a great deterrent to theft and vandalism. People are less likely to commit crime when they think they will be caught. If you want to go beyond the deterrence value of security cameras, then you should install a complete video surveillance system.
Solink takes business security cameras and turns them into a functioning security system. By pairing video with other data sources, Solink gives you eyes on every process as it happens across your dealership.
When the deterrence value of your security cameras doesn’t work, Solink helps you resolve situations appropriately. You can quickly find the video evidence you require of an incident and then share it internally and externally.
Better lighting can help in several ways. First, infrared cameras usually do not provide the clearest video footage, so better lighting means better video quality. If an incident does occur, better video footage means better evidence that can be provided to law enforcement or your insurance provider.
Second, most criminals prefer to work in the dark. This is especially true for the troublemakers who would vandalize your cars. In this sense, lighting systems provide a great deterrent.
Finally, most car dealerships are on busy streets. Having better lighting will make anything happening on your lot visible to passersby. This engages the community in helping to protect your business.
As an added benefit, it keeps your cars visible overnight, which could help sales.
Use vehicle GPS
GPS tags can be temporarily installed in the vehicles on your car lot to improve the security. Then, if the vehicles are moved, you can be alerted.
Lock up keys and fobs
A stolen key or fob might be the first step in a planned car theft. Alternatively, someone may see unprotected car fobs as an opportunity to steal one of your cars and act spontaneously.
Either way, you should keep all keys and fobs secured so they are not used as part of a bigger robbery.
Create roadblocks for tow trucks
Criminals have been known to use tow trucks to steal cars from dealerships. Keeping the space between cars tight can make it harder for a tow truck to maneuver into place. Since police are usually not too far away, especially if you use video alarms (see below), delaying criminal activity can often lead to a failed attempt.
If your car dealership owns a forklift, you can go one step further. Consider placing concrete barriers at night that discreetly prevent movement of vehicles and then removing them in the morning.
Implement a strict sign out process
Nobody wants to consider their employees as having the potential to steal from them. However, employee theft represents the majority of all theft. One procedural weak point that might make it easier for your sales staff to steal from you is the vehicle sign out process.
No matter how long an employee has worked for you or how much you trust them, make sure that any vehicle sign out process is strictly followed.
Sign up for video alarms
Solink Video Alarms are a great way to protect car dealerships. Video alarms turn your security cameras into an alarm system. This is better than a traditional alarm system for many reasons:
- You can monitor any entire area (including outdoor areas) instead of just doors and windows.
- When motion triggers an alarm, the owner of the system and/or trained professionals verify the threat before requesting emergency dispatch. Many law enforcement agencies are no longer responding to unverified alarms, so this leads to a better and faster police response.
- Where police still respond to unverified alarms, false alarm fees can add up. Solink video alarms reduced false alarms by $125 to $600 per location per month in a recent comparison with standard panel alarms.
- When an alarm is verified and emergency dispatch is requested, you can share the real-time video feed of your car dealership with the police. This leads to a more appropriate response.
To see how Solink Video Alarms can keep your vehicles safe, sign up for a demo today.
The benefits of a video surveillance system for your car dealership
When you choose the right car dealership security system, the benefits go way beyond mitigating the risks of theft and vandalism. Here are some of the benefits of video surveillance for your car dealership:
- Remote access
- Save on security guards
- Faster and better response
- Track business trends with custom reports and analysis
- Proactive alerts
- Get new features all the time
- System health checks
- All-in-one provider
You can’t always be on site, so why would you want a car dealership security system that requires you to be on site to access your video feeds or data? Solink provides remote video monitoring capabilities so you can see what is happening from anywhere at any time from your laptop or mobile device.
Save on security guards
Live security guards protecting your dealership overnight can be expensive. Solink Video Alarms can reduce your labor overhead by keeping an eye on your vehicles. Eliminating a single full-time salary represents a 40x return on investment.
Faster and better response
Solink Video Alarms can identify criminal activity sooner than traditional alarm systems. In a recent comparison with standard panel alarms, Solink Video Alarms detected suspicious activity, requested police response, and the police placed the suspect in custody before the standard panel alarms had been triggered.
When law enforcement is requested, the police can be given real-time access to your security camera feeds. That way they know exactly what is happening and how they should respond.
Track business trends with custom reports and analysis
The Solink Dashboard helps you keep track of all of your important data. Solink connects to various data sources including your POS and then pairs the information with relevant video clips. That way you can see what is happening across your business.
Threshold Notifications is one of the newest features offered by Solink. Threshold Notifications tells you when your key metrics are not where they should be, so you can find the source of the problem fast.
Set clear thresholds on your data and be proactively notified of any outliers from the expected norm. Use video paired with transactions to validate or explain the reason for these outliers.
Get new features all the time
Just like Threshold Notifications and Camera Linking before it, we are constantly finding new ways to upgrade the Solink platform. Your car dealership gets these upgrades automatically, so your car dealership security system gets better all the time.
System health checks
Solink makes sure all of your other systems are operating 24/7. Regular health checks are sent to your security cameras to make sure they are online and nothing is blocking their view. This ensures that you are never left with a blindspot that you don’t know about.
Solink is compatible with most business security cameras on the market today. This keeps the upfront costs for upgrading your car dealership security system to a minimum. However, if you do not currently have security cameras, then Solink can provide you with an all-in-one solution.
We can audit the security needs of your dealership, source cameras, have them installed, and get Solink up and running. There’s no need to track down several providers and coordinate work on your own.
Solink is the best car dealership security system
Solink brings the tools you need to enhance the security of your car dealership, including video alarms, remote monitoring, and automatic health checks. However, it doesn’t stop there.
By pairing data with video, Solink provides operational value in addition to improved security and loss prevention.
To see how Solink can secure your car dealership, sign up for a demo today.
Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.