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How Your Dealership Should Plan for Organized Auto Theft

Are organized criminals eyeing your dealership? In 2021 and 2022 alone, officials in New York, Louisiana, Illinois, and Texas busted auto theft rings. Trafficking stolen vehicles is a low-risk way for criminals to make money, and they use the vehicles for other crimes, like transporting drugs or stolen goods.

Risk Factors

How do you know if your dealership will be a target? There are a few risk factors:

Note that this list isn’t exhaustive. Thieves can and do target dealerships that don’t meet any of these criteria.


Why should you care about organized crime?

Of all vehicles stolen, 44% are never recovered. The cost of vehicle theft is always detrimental, but it hits especially hard in the middle of an inventory shortage. The impact reverberates throughout the dealership:

  • Dealer: Hit to the bottom line, higher premiums, hassle of dealing with insurance, police, etc.
  • Sales: Fewer sales opportunities due to lack of inventory and reputation damage
  • Service: Less business due to reputation damage
  • Accounting: Inventory loss, insurance deductibles, higher premiums


What can you do?

The best approach to inventory security involves prevention and response.



Standard security measures include security cameras, guards, gates, etc. Those things are important, but also think about how you secure keys. Effective key management is one of the most important aspects of dealership security. Don’t make it easier for thieves by keeping keys in or on the vehicles.

Instead, manage keys with an electronic key control system that controls access to every key in your dealership. The system protects your keys in a computerized, steel drawer behind biometric security features. If there’s any unusual activity, the system will alert you via text or email.



Prevention is only half of the equation. If savvy criminals thwart your security measures, be prepared to respond. As soon as a car leaves your lot, the clock starts counting down.

The most effective solution for theft recovery is installing GPS tracking devices in all your vehicles. This technology enables you to track your inventory anytime, anywhere. For a more immediate response, look for a solution that provides real-time text or email alerts every time one of your cars moves outside a customizable geofence boundary. That way, no unusual vehicle movements will escape detection.

If a car goes missing, you’ll be able to notify the police immediately. With the data the tracking device provides, you have a better chance of locating your stolen inventory — before it’s too late.

Don’t wait to evaluate your dealership’s inventory security measures. Are you doing enough to deter vehicle theft? Are you prepared to act quickly when criminals strike?


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