Thefts from auto dealerships occur frequently in both urban and rural areas in Canada. Just recently, two teens were charged for stealing vehicles from an auto dealership in Manitoba. Dealerships should give serious consideration to all aspects of their security, and they should take preventive measures wherever possible. While every business’ situation is different, we’ve included key areas to address and provided some risk management strategies to reduce auto dealerships’ risk of theft.

Building security:

Based on past experience, we know a building alarm system should be considered mandatory. There are numerous types available, but the most typical for auto dealerships include:

  • Alarms monitored off premises
  • ULC listed station with line security
  • Motion detectors, door contacts, and glass sensors

Perimeter security:

Protecting the land around your building can be just as important as protecting the building itself. One of the most common ways to protect the perimeter is with fencing. Things to consider include:

  • A chain link fence topped with barbed wire
  • Galvanized steel posts set in concrete
  • Entrances with strong metal gates and professional-grade padlocks
    • When the locks are not in use, they should be locked on the fence or taken indoors for safe storage.
    • While in use, keep the padlocks inside metal boxes to prevent being cut.
  • Concrete deadweights or deep ditches to restrict vehicle movement

Other methods of protecting the perimeter can include decorative boulders or posts set in concrete.

Exterior lighting:

Brightly lit areas are considered one of the best theft deterrents. The lighting should be as bright as possible and kept at full power throughout the night.

Video Surveillance System:

A variety of surveillance systems exist, and finding the one most appropriate for you and your business is key. Some things to consider are:

  • The exterior can be protected by a local video surveillance system or a digital video recorder (DVR).
  • The DVR offers a larger recording capacity on the hard disk and allows personal offsite supervision via the internet.
  • The system, combined with outdoor motion detectors, is much more efficient when supervised by a monitoring station. The intruders are immediately detected and a vocal message sent from the station asks them to leave the facility.
  • Signs should be posted notifying visitors of the cameras. This will discourage some thieves.

Security patrol:

Dealerships can hire security patrols for regular and frequent patrols after business hours. Sharing the cost with other local businesses helps to keep expenses low.

Vehicles in storage:

  • High performance and sports automobiles are target stock and should be surrounded by less expensive cars to prevent theft.
  • A large variety of anti-theft devices are now available to secure vehicles.
  • All mag wheels should be protected by proper locknuts.

Display ramps:

  • Cars have been stolen by simply being towed off the display ramps onto the beds of dump trucks.
  • Display ramps should have metal bars or edges of at least 1 foot in height, on the front and rear sides, just at the face of the tires.

Key control:

  • Keys should always be stored inside locked metal cabinets. The cabinets should be located in well-supervised areas, which are not easily accessible or visible to the public. The second set of keys should be kept inside filing cabinets, preferably located in the office area.
  • Similar attention should be paid to the keys of customers’ cars being serviced in the garage or body shop.
  • Do not use key boards in accessible areas.
  • Keys should never be left inside the showroom cars.

To learn more about keeping your auto dealership protected, speak to one of our insurance specialists about our insurance solutions designed for auto dealers.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.