Rising Theft Trends in the Auto Service Industry

As the economic climate in the U.S. continues to struggle, one industry is getting hotter by the minute: vehicle theft. Your automotive business, repair shop, collision center, or dealership is in greater danger of a break-in or vehicle theft than ever. Will a traditional security system be enough to keep you safe?

“The first half of 2023 saw a 33.5% rise in vehicle
thefts compared to the same period in 2022.”

Before crime has a chance to knock on your door, like a professional Grim Reaper, you’ll want to read these six steps to securing your automotive services business.

If You Service Vehicles, There’s a Target on Your Door

If your business serves, sells, or stores vehicles, you are at risk of vehicle theft. But if you have these most-wanted vehicles on your property, your risk goes up even more. According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, the top five most stolen vehicles in 2023 are:

  1. Dodge Charger SLT Hellcat 
  2. Dodge Charger HEMI 
  3. Infiniti Q50 
  4. Dodge Challenger 
  5. Land Rover Range Rover 4WD 

That risk grows even higher if you’re in one of the states with the most vehicle thefts. According to the National Crime Bureau, the states with the highest rate of vehicle theft are:  

  1. California 
  2. Texas 
  3. Florida  
  4. Washington 
  5. Illinois  

Vehicle Theft Isn’t the Only Thing Taking a Bite Out of Automotive Businesses

Having a vehicle stolen from your car lot or auto repair shop can be an expensive headache and even a public relations disaster. But car theft is just one aspect of vehicle-related theft that’s affecting businesses today. If thieves can’t make off with a whole vehicle, they can still make a hearty profit with:  

  1. Tool and equipment theft – Mechanic shops and auto body shops are stuffed to the gills with valuable tools that thieves can sell quickly and for high prices. 
  2. Vehicle parts theft – With auto parts still part of the worldwide supply and demand bottleneck, underground market prices on auto parts are up, making them tempting targets for thieves. 
  3. Catalytic converter theft – Every vehicle has one and they are costly to replace should they be stolen. They are easy to steal and a hot ticket item in the underground automotive parts industry. If stolen, your catalytic converter can cost about $1500 or more to repair.
  4. Personal belongings theft – When a customer leaves their vehicle with you for repair or detailing, their belongings become your responsibility. Theft from a custom vehicle can do damage to your auto business’ reputation for years. 
  5. Fuel theft – Your lot’s fuel storage tanks are tempting for thieves as gas and diesel prices rise.  

6 Auto Service Security Solutions That Keep Thieves Out and Profits In

Vehicle theft numbers continue to rise, but you don’t have to sit back and hope your business won’t be a target. Instead, take these steps to build an auto services security solution that keeps your vehicles (and your reputation) safe from car thieves.

  1. Install security cameras – Security cameras offer both a psychological deterrent to auto theft as well as provide critical evidence if a theft does occur.  Ensure your video cameras cover key points such as doors and entryways, windows and gates.
  2. Amp up your lot lighting – Lighting deters theft, period. If your auto services business parking lot is flooded with lot lighting, you are less likely to be a victim of theft. Ample lighting also makes it easier to detect suspicious activity in videos and for your security personnel.
  3. Fortify your fencing – A strong metal fence is a good start, but nothing has the stopping power of electric fencing for auto services businesses. If you’re serious about keeping your profits out of the hands of thieves, here’s why an electric commercial security fence is a must for auto shops, car dealerships and collision repair centers.
  4. Arm your alarm – Auto services businesses store and sell one of the most expensive items most people ever buy – vehicles. An alarm system is a must to deter thieves and notify law enforcement and/or security personnel immediately if nefarious individuals cross your perimeter. Every second counts when stopping crime, and a reliable alarm system puts you ahead of the game.
  5. Lock up your keys – Most vehicle thefts in the U.S. are crimes of opportunity where the keys were left inside a vehicle! Don’t become a statistic. Always keep all keys locked up and accounted for. A sign-in/sign-out system can help you keep track of multiple key sets at once in an organized fashion. 
  6. Conduct regular security audits – Your alarm system, electric security fencing, video surveillance cameras, and other perimeter security devices must be in proper working order to protect your business. Make sure to do regular security checks and upgrades on your equipment as needed. 

Is Your Auto Services Business Doing Enough to Stay Safe? 

With these steps, you can put layers of stopping power between your auto services business and bad actors. Download your free copy of AMAROK’s “8 Experts on Proactive Vs. Reactive Perimeter Security” guide here now to find out seven more about keeping your business safe! As the leading organization for commercial security solutions for auto services businesses, we’ve created this guide to help you make sense of the complicated process of securing your location. Take a proactive approach and get your copy today!

Michael Dorrington