Automotive dealerships face diverse security risks and safety issues, including car theft and unauthorized access to their premises and property damage, which result in financial losses and can cause a negative reputational impact. As a result, dealerships are pushed to implement security surveillance measures to reduce their vulnerability to such crimes.

Car theft remains a persistent threat in the United States, with California ranking among the states experiencing the highest rates of motor vehicle theft. With the value of cars rising, they are becoming a prime target for criminals, and automotive dealerships are particularly vulnerable.  

Security Challenges Faced by Automotive Dealerships 

Automotive dealerships face inherent security challenges due to their inventory of cars, which are highly attractive targets for criminals. Dealerships are also often spread across large areas, giving intruders additional opportunities to infiltrate the premises. 

The most prominent safety and security concerns dealerships are susceptible to include trespassing, theft, property damage, and vandalism. To safeguard assets, personnel, and customers, automotive dealerships must employ security surveillance measures to deter criminal acts, record crimes, and quickly respond to safety incidents.  

What Are the Best Security Solutions for Automotive Dealerships? 

Every automotive dealership has different security goals, concerns, and priorities, so the best security solutions will vary between businesses. 

Several key factors will impact the best security solutions for a business, such as: 

  • Location: Dealerships in remote locations will face more challenges due to the limited presence of law enforcement. 
  • Premise size: Larger premises are more challenging to monitor and lead to high costs for certain security solutions to be effectively implemented. 
  • Specific security concerns: If a dealership faces specific safety concerns, such as high levels of trespassing, this will influence which security solutions they should prioritize.  
  • Security services budget: Automotive dealerships will have varying budgets and will need to opt for security measures that align with any financial limitations.
  • Current safety measures: If specific safety measures are in place, businesses can use new security solutions to address any gaps or weaknesses.

Considering these factors, security guards and video surveillance are two top security solutions that can significantly increase safety levels across automotive dealerships.

Automotive Dealership Security Guards 

Security guards are widely viewed as a reliable and effective way to deter crimes and protect a business’s premises. Security guards can ensure the protection of assets and individuals by watching for suspicious behavior, responding to security or safety incidents, and contacting authorities when necessary. 

Pros of Hiring Security Guards 

There are several key advantages to employing security guards to increase safety throughout your automotive dealership. 

  • Deterrence: Security guards are extremely effective at deterring illegal and unwanted activity. With a guard patrolling the premises, potential criminals will be less likely to trespass, steal, or otherwise jeopardize the safety of an automotive dealership. 
  • Human intervention: When a security guard is on premises during a medical emergency or another situation that requires human intervention, they can respond quickly to provide aid, de-escalate conflicts, and communicate effectively with authorities or emergency services.
  • Adaptability: Unlike other security measures that need to be installed or configured, security guards can be deployed instantly and adjust their routes and procedures to address fluctuating security concerns. They can also be employed on a short-term basis, allowing businesses to scale their security resources according to specific needs and circumstances.

Cons of Hiring Security Guards 

Using security guards also has several drawbacks that businesses should be aware of before making a decision. 

  • Expensive: Security guards undergo extensive training and, as a result, are expensive to hire. Many businesses may also have to pay additional expenses to employ security guards, such as insurance coverage, benefits, overtime wages, and uniforms. Due to this, many businesses may not be able to afford to hire security guards, especially on a 24/7 basis. 
  • Limited surveillance: When patrolling an automotive dealership, security guards will walk a predefined route. Since they can only be at one location at a time, there is potential for guards to miss security threats. Criminals may use this to their advantage and enter a dealership’s premises unauthorized when they know they’re out of the guard’s line of sight. 
  • Human error: Security guards have to take regular breaks and can experience fatigue, as well as face challenges such as stress and personal problems. This may cause lapses in judgment, compromised attention, or decreased morale, which could hinder a premises’s overall safety. 

Automotive Dealership Video Surveillance Systems 

Video surveillance systems can be an alternative choice for dealerships that want to increase the safety on their premises.These systems can feature mobile surveillance trailers but typically consist of a network of cameras placed throughout the dealership to monitor key areas. The cameras capture high-resolution video footage in real-time and can be configured to record continuously or triggered by motion detection.

Pros of Video Surveillance

Video surveillance can provide automotive dealerships and similar businesses with a unique set of advantages regarding safety.  

  • Continuous monitoring: Covering large areas and recording 24/7/365, video surveillance systems can monitor an automotive dealership without any breaks or disruptions. Due to this, businesses can capture footage and oversee their premises across all lighting and weather conditions.  
  • Cost-effective: Video surveillance systems are typically one of the most affordable security solutions for businesses. While installing cameras and similar systems can incur initial upfront costs, there are no recurring expenses aside from periodic maintenance, making them lower cost than hiring security guards. 
  • Evidence collection: After incidents such as accidents, theft, or disputes, video surveillance footage provides compelling evidence to aid businesses during legal proceedings or insurance claims. Video footage from surveillance cameras also aids the investigation process by helping investigators determine the sequence of events, identify individuals involved, and establish timelines.

Cons of Video Surveillance

Despite these advantages, video surveillance systems also have their own set of limitations.

  • Privacy concerns: Employees and customers may feel uncomfortable being recorded or monitored by video surveillance, and the usage of these systems can raise certain privacy concerns. Businesses will need to make efforts to prevent feelings of discomfort and adhere to relevant privacy laws when implementing surveillance systems.
  • Blind spots: Opting for video surveillance can result in blind spots due to camera placement limitations or obstructions in the environment. These blind spots leave certain areas of automotive dealerships vulnerable and create opportunities for unauthorized activities such as theft, vandalism, and trespassing.
  • Tampering vulnerability: Video surveillance systems are susceptible to tampering by criminals trying to evade detection or conceal their actions. Hackers may attempt to infiltrate the system remotely to disable or manipulate cameras, while physical tampering, such as covering or damaging cameras, can prevent the video surveillance system from capturing footage. 

Security Guards vs. Video Surveillance – Which Is Better? 

Both security guards and video surveillance systems can be effective solutions for maximizing safety throughout an automotive dealership’s premises. But which is the better choice? 

Security guards are optimal for dealerships struggling with high crime rates, such as trespassing and vandalism on their premises. Since the presence of security guards acts as a high form of deterrence, criminals may reconsider entering the premises. Security guards can also reassure customers and promote a sense of safety across a dealership that may want to enhance its reputation. 

On the other hand, video surveillance systems excel at boosting safety at dealerships that require full coverage of their premises. By strategically placing surveillance cameras at key entry points and sensitive areas, businesses can capture high-quality footage of crimes, aiding investigations and ensuring criminals are held accountable. Businesses with tight security budgets will also benefit most from the cost-effectiveness of video surveillance compared to security guards. 

With distinct differences, security guards and video surveillance systems are not one-size-fits-all security solutions. Automotive dealerships, with varying risk levels and requirements, must carefully evaluate their specific circumstances to determine the most appropriate and effective security solution for their premises. 

In some cases, the optimal solution would be to implement both options, providing a comprehensive security strategy that combines the strengths of human presence and technological surveillance. 

Choosing the Best Security Solution for Your Automotive Dealership Business 

Overall, security guards and video surveillance solutions have key advantages and drawbacks, and selecting the best security solution to boost safety across your automotive dealership business requires careful consideration of various factors, such as your business size, location, and specific security concerns.  

Get in touch with American Security Force today, and together, we’ll find the perfect security solution for your automotive dealership to help protect your assets and make your premises safer. Whether that’s security guards, video surveillance, or another protective measure, we’ll ensure to tailor our approach to meet your specific security needs and concerns.

Article by

Mariana Krasteva

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