According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), car theft in the United States has been rising at a rate of 4 percent of over the past five years, with a reported 707,758 vehicles stolen in 2015 alone. Unfortunately, many of these car thefts occur on the lots of auto dealerships. It can be hard for dealerships to notice if one of many cars are stolen from their lot—a family with a single vehicle will certainly notice if their only method of transportation goes missing.

In this blog, Skypatrol will give auto dealers a few tips for keeping their vehicles safe and secure on their lots, helping them increase profits and avoid devastating financial losses.

Keep an extensive inventory of vehicles.

The more cars you have on a lot, the harder it is to keep track of them all—and the easier it is for thieves to make their move. This is why it’s incredibly important to keep tabs on all of your vehicles by developing an inventory system. Knowing which cars you have in stock (and where they’re located on your lot) can help your business in two ways: it improves your customer service and business efficiency, and it gives you the awareness to know if a vehicle has been stolen off of your lot. Both of these things ultimately improve your profits—so why would you skip such an important aspect of a car dealership business?

Be aware of when (and why) vehicles leave your lot.

When you imagine a car thief, what do you see? Is it a guy in a black turtleneck holding a crowbar? Or is it a clever man in a clever suit, like a young Michael Caine in the original Italian Job? There’s one car thief that many people don’t expect—the guy who works for the dealership.

It’s a classic “the butler did it” move, and it happens more than you might think. The guy who shuttles your cars to get oil changes or the salesmen with access to all of the keys can hold a lot of power—and sometimes, they can abuse that power by stealing a vehicle and ditching town or taking a vehicle for an unauthorized joyride.

If you always know when and why vehicles are leaving the lot, you’ll avoid unexpected vehicle losses and irresponsible (former) employee behavior.

Install a video security system.

Sometimes, it’s best to have video proof when something goes wrong on your lot. Video security systems provide three methods of security for auto dealerships:

Hit and Runs – Sometimes, people will accidentally ding a vehicle on your lot and drive away. Video security systems can help you track down the driver responsible and ensure you’re reimbursed for the damage caused to your property.

Thief Identification – Even if you can’t clearly identify the face of who stole a vehicle off your lot, video security systems give you proof that theft happened, and can give law enforcement useful info that will aid in their auto theft investigation.

The All-Seeing Eye – There’s something about visible security cameras that deters thieves from stealing your property. Even if your security cameras are turned off (or totally fake) the illusion that someone is watching can send thieves running for less risky theft opportunities.

Utilize GPS technology.

A video security system is a great way to identify who stole your vehicle and when the vehicle left your lot. But video security can’t help you find your car when it leaves the lot, and it won’t change the fact that a lost vehicle will be a huge financial hit for your business.

That’s where Skypatrol can help. By taking advantage of Skypatrol’s GPS geolocation hardware along with state-of-the-art software, you’ll be able to track down and recover your investments faster than ever to avoid financial losses. Set custom geofences and alerts that notify you when one of your vehicles leaves the perimeter of your lot, and use real-time GPS location services and on/off engine notifications to help law enforcement find your stolen vehicle and recover it quickly and safely. It’s innovative, Verizon-powered, and all accessible from your desktop or smartphone.

If you’re going to run a successful car business, you can’t afford to let thieves steal your vehicles and your profits. Schedule a demo with Skypatrol today.