Recent data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reveals distressing news for dealerships. According to an Auto Remarketing article, vehicle thefts have reached a level that hasn’t been seen in 14 years.
The NICB says in the first half of 2022, more than half a million vehicles were stolen for a total of approximately $4.5 billion worth of losses. This is a 25% increase over the total reported in the first six months of 2019. No one in the industry should be surprised because it’s a side effect of rising used car prices.
“There is very little deterrent to stopping these criminals because vehicle thefts are property crimes,” an NICB news release quotes President and CEO David Glawe. “Since the start of the pandemic, used-car prices have increased 35 to 40 percent. Criminals are exploiting these high prices as vehicle and catalytic converter thefts are crimes of opportunity. And crime is a business, and business is good.”
The data for catalytic converter thefts aren’t better, as there’s been a 1,215% increase over 2019 for these thefts in the U.S.
The situation is so dire David Glawe testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary providing the following recommendations:
- Enforce current laws as written.
- Increase community policing programs.
- Revise criminal justice reform policies.
- Focus on violent offenders.
- Collect national and state data on carjackings.
- Implement early intervention programs.
Vehicle and catalytic converter thefts are so bad that President Biden issued Executive Orders implementing many of the recommendations from NICB. State and municipal governments are also cracking down on it.
Why Are Catalytic Converter and Vehicle Thefts a Growing Problem?
It’s simple. Catalytic converter and vehicle thefts take only a few minutes to achieve big gains. The massive jump in vehicle prices, the shortage of new and used vehicles, and the swelling prices of metals from catalytic converters are driving up the number of thefts. Thieves and organized crime gangs see it as a small risk with a big reward.
As you know, a catalytic converter converts toxic chemicals into harmless gases before exiting a vehicle’s exhaust system and releasing the gases into the environment. The car part contains metals in the vehicle’s exhaust. These metals may be platinum, palladium, rhodium, or gold, which sell for thousands of dollars. Before the rise in catalytic converter thefts, rhodium initially fetched less than $1,000. After the pandemic, it started selling for almost $20,000!
Organized crime gangs sneak under multiple cars to saw off the converter. It only takes 30 to 90 seconds to steal one. On top of this, organized crime gangs are dangerous and tend to have weapons. Do not let your employees confront these criminals who may respond with violence.
In terms of car thefts, Car and Driver reports vehicle theft exploded during the first three months of 2022 with 12,569 thefts. Compare this to 2021 with only 6,692 vehicle thefts. Moreover, the Insurance Information Institute (III) says there were 246 vehicles stolen for every 100,000 people in 2021.
The NICB Informer publication indicates other factors causing a higher number of thefts are the economic downturn and criminal justice reform policies that led to the decrease of police workforce and resources. Insurance Information Institute adds two more causes of the thefts, which are the loss of juvenile outreach programs and a reduction of public safety programs and budgets.
Despite legislators passing laws to curb vehicle and catalytic converter thefts, dealerships need to take steps to be proactive in protecting their vehicles from theft.
How Can Dealerships Curb Catalytic Converter and Vehicle Thefts?
Dealerships are dealing with more than just vehicle and catalytic converter thefts. Inflation has hit the industry hard as the automotive industry has seen some of the largest price increases in 2021. The price of pre-owned vehicles has ballooned by 37% and new vehicles have risen by almost 12% as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While legislation is helpful, dealerships need to do something about vehicle and catalytic converter thefts to protect their vehicles. Organized crime gangs target automotive dealerships because they can rip out catalytic converters from many vehicles at once. Therefore, it’s critical to add extra layers of security to protect the vehicles.
The most effective way to implement multiple layers of security is by adding business-grade video surveillance cameras with remote monitoring. These have the ability to prevent a lot of crimes. Unlike most typical security technologies that are passive, remote video surveillance turns your security into a proactive one. It’s the combination of technology and human intelligence that makes it possible to catch potential problems before a crime occurs.
For example, after the dealership closes for the night, there’s no one on the lot. During this time, video analytics constantly analyzes the entire dealership to identify a match to any one of its many programmed situations. As soon as video analytics gets a match such as people showing up on the property when the dealership is closed, it alerts the trained monitoring operator.
The operator checks out to see what’s happening and responds based on the situation. Maybe it’s a large animal. If it turns out to be humans that aren’t there to just browse the inventory, then the operator can issue an audio warning over an on-site speaker. The operators are located in a safe place far away from the dealership. Their lives are never in danger, which helps ensure they respond based on whatever the situation requires.
If the trespassers don’t leave the dealership, then the operator can call the police while tracking the suspects’ movements. The operating monitors can watch them until the police show up at the dealership and locate them. When you work with a company like Stealth Monitoring that can provide video verification of a crime in progress, the police often arrive before the defendants leave.
Check out the following videos of catalytic converter and vehicle thefts to see what video surveillance can do for your dealership:
- Dealership trespasser tries to hide from the police
- Intruder enters restricted automotive dealership area
- Catalytic converter thieves arrested at a dealership
- Texas catalytic converter thieves arrested at an auto dealership
Remote video surveillance helps maximize your security asset by keeping eyes across your entire dealership around the clock. That’s why many dealerships working with Stealth Monitoring gain a return on investment in months.
The Value of Using Remote Video Surveillance at Dealerships
Some dealerships rely on security guards. However, they don’t have the ability to view and patrol the entire property all at once. To do this requires bringing in more than one security guard. For every security guard you hire, the expense multiplies and could become cost prohibitive.
Organized crime gangs are savvy. They can find gaps in security whether it’s security guards or security technology other than video cameras. Besides, thieves are growing brazen and violent. Security guards could fear for their lives and not go after the suspects. In some states, security guards can’t even carry a weapon or engage in pursuits.
This is why dealerships choose remote video surveillance as their security solution. The advantage video cameras with remote monitoring have over conventional alarm technologies and security guards is that trained monitoring operators can respond to a problem without being scared for their lives as they’re not located at your dealership.
Add multiple layers of security
Security cameras with remote monitoring come with multiple layers of security. The appearance of the video cameras will deter some trespassers. If that fails to scare them away, then trained monitoring operators watching the cameras can follow them while calling the police.
The high-definition video cameras add another layer by providing information to help catch the suspect. The cameras can capture a clear picture of the suspects’ faces, and often other clues for identification.
Prevent false claims
Remote video surveillance also helps guard your dealership from false claims. Anytime customers submit a claim that the dealership damaged their vehicle during a maintenance or service visit, the video recordings can show exactly what happened, whether the vehicle arrived at the dealership already damaged or who damaged the vehicle if it happened on the dealership property.
Security That Helps Deter Vehicle and Catalytic Convert Thefts
Catalytic converter and vehicle thefts are spiraling out of control. It puts dealership profits at risk. Video surveillance with remote monitoring done by technology and humans goes a long way in securing your dealership to help protect your employees, your customers, your assets, and your vehicles. Remote video surveillance can save on costs, reduce your liability, and add layers of security.
When you choose to work with Stealth Monitoring, you gain access to innovative security solutions. Also, you get another benefit that few security companies offer. Stealth has partnerships with local police departments all over North America. Law enforcement typically reacts faster when the call comes from Stealth because they know they have video verification of something happening.
If you’d like to learn more about automotive dealership security and how it can do more than deter crime, check out the guide on Four Auto Dealership Theft Trends and Their Side Effects. To learn more about automotive security and customizing a system that fits your needs, please contact us.