13 Effective Ways for Auto Dealers to Prevent Car Theft (Prior to Video Surveillance)

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Prevent Car Theft - Sirix

In this blog, we’ll talk about 13 tools you can use before deploying video surveillance to prevent car theft from your dealership.

Car theft is getting worse all over North America, which is not a secret. The Canadian Border Services Agency says that with 9,439 reported cases, vehicle theft was the second most common crime in 2022.  The Council on Criminal Justice says that between 2019 and 2022, motor vehicle thefts have gone up by 59% in 30 major cities in the United States.

You’re on the right page if these scary facts make you want to do more to protect your car dealership. Here are 13 easy and proven ways to make your site’s perimeter more secure.

Let’s dive right in.

Tool 1: Fence


Thieves might be tempted by a car lot that is easy to access. In fact, without a fence, they can get close to your vehicles without much trouble or resistance.

Steel mesh fences are one of the best car theft prevention strategies because they make it hard for people to break in.

Where should the fence go?

The fence should go all the way around your business. Add cement blocks where the fence travels through a more secluded area prone to foul activity. It will prevent robbers from driving the cars away from these vulnerable points.

How to pick the right fence?

There are several types of mesh fencing that are used to protect a business’s perimeter. Usually, a steel mesh fence is a good choice for car dealerships.

Tool 2: Bollards


As previously said, criminals see opportunities in easily accessible car lots. While fences are effective deterrents, you may want to avoid using them in front of your dealership for aesthetic reasons.

Enter the bollards. These vertical posts, which are more visually appealing than a standard fence, provide a physical barrier that makes it impossible for thieves to drive cars out of your parking lot.

How to choose the right bollards for your perimeter?

Bollards exist in a variety of shapes, sizes, and patterns, and they serve a variety of functions. Examine all choices before deciding what is best for your company.

How should you arrange them?

Use enough bollards to make sure that your entrance is completely safe. The space between each one must be small enough that your narrowest car cannot get through.

Tool 3: Strong gates

A gate with loose hinges will not prevent car theft. With the proper equipment, thieves will be able to break down your door and enter your premises.

You must select the appropriate hinges for the gate you have installed. So, there will not be any weak spots. Intruders will be unable to gain access to your property.

How to choose the right gate hinges

To make the best choice, consider the weight and width of the gate door. Once you have decided on the proper hinges, you will have no trouble finding matching gate locks, latches, and wheels, if necessary.

Tool 4: Locks

Again, the simplicity with which thieves realize they may access your vehicles will motivate them to rob your dealership.

Locks are car theft deterrent devices. They show would-be burglars that the dealership takes security seriously and has measures in place to protect the property. As a result, they may desist from attempting to trespass on your premises.

Why locks are good

  • They are a visible deterrent.
  • They let the dealership make sure that only authorized employees who know the code or have the key can get in.
  • They are adaptable because they are available in a variety of styles. More on this later.
  • They are typically inexpensive.
  • They have a reputation for dependability.

What kinds of locks are out there?


A metal bolt is used to secure a door. Because they are regarded to be quite safe, they are frequently utilized for gates and storage rooms.


They can be unlocked with a key or a series of numbers. They are very secure and are frequently used in conjunction with other types of locks.

Electronic locks

To open the door, they use a keypad or a card reader. They have the advantage of allowing authorized users to enter without a key and of keeping track of the time and person who entered the area.

Smart locks

A smartphone or other smart devices can control them. They have the advantage of being able to be opened remotely and allowing authorized users to enter without the use of a key.

Biometric locks

They can be unlocked using fingerprints, a facial scan, or other biometric data. They have the advantage of being very secure and allowing authorized users to enter without the use of a key.

Which locks should you pick?

Choose a robust lock that is difficult to pick. The idea is to increase the time it takes the thief to open it in the hopes that he will give up or be caught.

Tool 5: Reinforcements for locks

You’ve probably realized by now that the more difficult it is for criminals to gain access to your valuables, the less likely it is that your cars will be stolen.

Among car theft prevention devices, lock reinforcements add an extra layer of protection to your gates, trailers, and anywhere else you might use locks. Most likely, this will discourage thieves from trying to break into your property.

Lock reinforcement examples

Solid steel hasps

Image courtesy of Tenaquip

They are an effective way to prevent prying and cutting attempts.

Hasp truck security hidden shackle locks

Image courtesy of Grainger

They are typically used to improve vehicle and trailer security.

Anti-theft case for containers

Image courtesy of KX Concept

They are a good way to protect locks on containers.

Tool 6: Warning Signs


Most thieves try to steal cars at night, when the dealership is closed and they can hide in the dark. 

One of the effective car theft prevention strategies is to post signs indicating that your property is watched 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using camera surveillance. If thieves know they are being watched, they are less likely to spend time trying to break into your property and steal cars. They could be caught by a security operator who would then call the police. Also, video of their crime is still available after the fact, so they could be charged.

This is a great approach whether or not you use remote camera surveillance. The thief has no way of knowing the truth, right?!

Where should warning signs for live surveillance be placed?

Live surveillance warning signs should be placed prominently on the site of your dealership so that potential intruders may see them.

Here are a few key locations for warning signs:

1. At the entrance of your dealership

2. All around the perimeter of your dealership

3. Close to any video surveillance cameras

4. Inside your dealership

Make sure your signs can be seen

Select a font size and colour that is legible from a distance and in a variety of lighting conditions. 

Place the signs in areas where they may be seen without being obscured by tree branches, flags, or other objects.

Tool 7: Lights


As previously stated, robbers prefer to operate in the dark when they believe they will not be spotted or recognized.

A classic car theft prevention strategy is to keep your dealership’s perimeter well-lit at all times. Intruders will be put off by the possibility of being spotted attempting to break in. They may even believe that employees are still present.

Where should you put lights on the premises of your car dealership?

Set up enough lights in key spots around your site.

  1. At the entrance of your car dealership
  2. All around the perimeter of your car dealership
  3. Near live surveillance warning signs
  4. Near any video surveillance cameras

To know more about adequate lighting conditions for your site, consult this exhaustive guide on Lighting for Perimeter Security Applications by Accu-Tech.

Tool 8: High-end cars’ extra theft protection strategies

Some burglars may target expensive and rare cars for resale value, the prestige of such an act, or the simplicity of theft.

You can take extra precautions to protect your high-end vehicles to avoid a costly robbery.

What are the best car theft prevention devices and tactics?


GPS lets you create virtual borders called geofences. You’ll get an alert if the car crosses the boundary, preventing theft.

GPS devices can track a car’s location, speed, and direction remotely, helping you discover suspicious activity and recover a stolen car.

Steering wheel lock

A steering wheel lock is a visible deterrent. Because they take time to take off, thieves are less likely to try to steal a car that has one of these devices installed.

Plus, they do not cost much, so it is a no-brainer to buy them to protect your expensive cars.

To remove the electrical fuse

Removing a car’s electrical fuse is both simple and inexpensive.

The electric fuse gives power to things like the ignition system, the fuel pump, and the starter motor. By taking out the fuse, you turn off these parts, making it impossible to start the car and extremely difficult to steal.

To unplug the battery

It is also easy and cheap to unplug the car battery.

Like removing a fuse, unplugging the car battery cuts power to the starter motor and ignition system. This makes it impossible to start the car and makes it much less likely that thieves will steal it.

To park expensive cars in front of your enterprise

If your dealership is on a street with a lot of traffic, park the most expensive cars in front of it. Thieves are shyer to steal straight in front of passing vehicles and pedestrians.

High security zone

You can make a high-security area for luxury cars on the grounds of your dealership. This section would have more car theft prevention technologies, like a stronger fence and locks, an access control system, and, if necessary, security cameras. The goal is to make it harder for intruders to get to these valuable cars.

Is a kill switch to prevent car theft a good idea?

Kill switches can be useful to automotive dealerships as an additional security measure to prevent your cars from being stolen.

A kill switch is a type of anti-theft device that is installed in vehicles. It is essentially an electrical circuit that can be controlled by a switch, button, or other mechanism, which can quickly cut off power to the engine or fuel pump when activated.

When a kill switch is installed in a car, it adds an extra layer of security to the existing anti-theft system. Even if a thief manages to bypass the car’s ignition system or hotwire the engine, they will not be able to start the car or keep it running for long if the kill switch is activated.

There are several types of kill switches that can be installed in a car, including those that cut off power to the fuel pump, the ignition system, or the starter motor. Some kill switches require a specific code or key to activate, while others can be activated by pressing a button or flipping a switch.

Overall, a kill switch can be an effective and relatively inexpensive car theft protection. However, it is important to have the kill switch installed by your security professional to ensure that it is properly wired and does not interfere with the cars’ electrical systems.

Tool 9: Alarm system

Another important aspect of preventing car theft is stopping intruders from entering your building, where they can gain access to cars, car keys, or your server room.

An alarm system is an excellent tool since it not only deters would-be intruders who do not want to be caught, but it also alerts the security team or police if someone does attempt to break in.

Choosing an alarm system

Ask your security installer to help you pick the type of alarm system that will work best for your business.

Here are some options to think about:

Audible alarm

When the alarm system detects unauthorized entry or activity, it can emit a loud siren, alerting the entire neighbourhood and scaring the thief away.

Silent alarm

Some alarm systems also include a silent alarm option that alerts the dealership’s security team or local law police if a theft is taking place. The objective is to capture the thief in the act.


Alarm systems often include sensors that detect motion, vibration, or changes in the position of the vehicle, which can set off the alarm and alert security.

Tool 10: Key box with a pin code

Every day, your car salespeople handle many car keys. It can be hard to keep track of who has which key. Also, keys that are lost or forgotten around the dealership can be a problem if they end up in the wrong hands.

A basic key box with a pin code will keep your keys safe and out of reach of malicious people.

Image courtesy of Dealer Security

The KEYper MX Electronic Key System is a great security solution for car dealerships. It can hold up to 2000 keys and has audit trails that show who has your keys and when they took them.

Tool 11: Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks do not spare automobile dealerships. Malicious hackers can gain access to your security system and disable cameras, access control, and the alarm system, leaving your location unprotected.

There are many steps you can take to prevent network breaches.

  1. Update your operating systems, firewalls, antivirus software, and other software regularly to help prevent known vulnerabilities from being exploited.
  2. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication to access any sensitive systems or data.
  3. Limit access to sensitive data to personnel who need it.
  4. Train employees on how to identify phishing emails, how to keep their devices secure, and how to report suspicious activity.
  5. Monitor network traffic for any unusual activity or signs of a breach.
  6. Conduct regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities and ensure that cybersecurity measures are working effectively.

Tool 12: Camera in the server room

Anyone with access to your server room can tamper with the video recorder or your security system.

By installing a camera in this room, you will not only dissuade malevolent individuals from entering, but you will also have footage of the event if an intrusion occurs. This will be crucial in identifying and maybe charging the intruder later.

Tool 13: Access control system to the server room

Again, one of the best car theft prevention tips is to keep your video recorder and full security system from being messed with.

If you put an access control system on the door to your server room, you will know who came in and when.

Also, if a thief gets into your main building, it will be hard for them to get into your server room, which could stop them from robbing your dealership.

FAQS on car theft prevention

What is car theft with keyless entry?

Car theft with keyless entry, also known as “relay theft” or “keyless theft”, is a type of car theft that is becoming increasingly common with the widespread use of keyless entry systems in modern cars.

In this type of theft, thieves use a device that can intercept the signal from a keyless entry fob, even if it is inside the dealership, and relay it to another device near the car. This tricks the car’s computer system into thinking that the key is present and unlocks the car, allowing the thieves to drive it away.

This type of theft is concerning because it can be done quickly and quietly without the need for the physical key, and can occur without any signs of forced entry.

What are tips for preventing keyless car theft in dealerships?

1. Store key fobs in a signal-blocking pouch or container. 

A conductive material is used in key fob signal-blocking pouches to block radio waves between a keyless entry fob and the car’s computer system, preventing thieves from intercepting the signal and relaying it to unlock the automobile. These pouches function as a Faraday cage, an enclosure that blocks the entry of outside electromagnetic signals.

2. Use auto theft prevention devices

As we’ve talked about throughout this article, there are many ways to keep your cars from being stolen, such as using a GPS, a steering wheel lock, a kill switch, etc.

3.   Use car theft prevention tactics

We’ve already talked about the best ways to keep your car from being stolen, like unplugging the battery, taking out the electrical fuse, putting up strong fences, making sure there’s enough light, etc.

What are anti-theft stickers?

Image courtesy of Readerdigest

Anti-theft stickers for cars are decals or labels that are placed on the windows or other visible areas of a car to deter thieves from attempting to steal the vehicle. The stickers often display a warning message or a symbol that indicates that the car has a security system installed or is being monitored by an alarm company.

Are anti-theft stickers an effective way for auto dealerships to reduce car theft?

Anti-theft stickers might be effective as an additional auto theft deterrent technique for car dealerships. They are inexpensive and simple to install, and they create a visual deterrent that may stop potential thieves from targeting your vehicles.

However, it is important to note that anti-theft stickers should not be relied on as the sole means of preventing car theft. Automobile dealerships should also implement additional security measures, such as the 13 tools listed above in this article.


That’s it!

How can you prevent car theft? Well, if you use the 13 tools above, you should be safe.

Which tool will you put into use first?

Let us know in the comment box below.

Sirix offers remote protection and site management for hundreds of car dealerships throughout North America. We provide live video monitoring, access control and many other services specifically designed for the automotive industry.

Laurence Bolduc

I lead the marketing efforts at Sirix as the Director of Marketing. With a focus on the physical security industry, I have been actively creating informative blogs and educational content for the past two years. Learn more about me!

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