How Surveillance Cameras Deter Crime at Car Dealerships

Automotive dealership security requires leveling up security cameras to deter criminal activity. Here’s how LVT can keep a close watch on the parking lot.

Last Updated:
June 3, 2024
| ~
min Read
Meg Moore
Marketing Writer

How Surveillance Cameras Deter Crime at Car Dealerships

Car dealerships are on criminals’ radars and they target expensive rides in every ZIP Code. From Dodge Chargers in New Hampshire to Ford Rangers in California and all points in between, dealers need to keep close tables on their vehicle inventory and be on the lookout to stop car thieves in their tracks.

“Vehicles are relatively high-value and easily mobile and in some markets, relatively easy to convert to cash,” Dr. Jeffery Walsh, a professor of criminal justice at Illinois State University, told MarketWatch.

Considering the sticker price of most cars, car theft can have a very high return on investment for criminals. Some recent high-profile and quite high-ticket heists include:

  • A grand theft auto of nearly $580,000 worth of nine new and used luxury vehicles, including Range Rovers, a BMW, a Porsche, and a Jaguar from a Waukesha, Wisconsin, auto dealership. Authorities suspect a Chicago-based organized retail crime ring is responsible for the hit, as well as more than $16,000 in damages.
  • A 2024 Z06 Corvette worth $150,000 was among the theft of other vehicles — with a total haul of over $300,000 — from two dealerships in Mobile, Alabama, and Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. The pricey ride pinged nearly 450 miles north in Nashville, Tennessee, before authorities believe the criminals disabled the tracking system.
  • Another set of nine high-end vehicles, including Mercedes, BMWs, Porsches, and Range Rovers, from a Camp Springs, Maryland, car dealership. Thieves only had to break the chain to enter through the gate, and in just a few minutes, delivered a blow to the owner’s bottom line. “Small businesses are struggling these days,” Owner John Harb told WTOP News. “Financially, we’re not in the best time to cover these losses. … It hit me very hard.”

Car lot criminal activity is not just an issue for luxury auto dealers. From the Kia TikTok challenge to rampant catalytic converter theft, increasing situational awareness to boost car automotive dealership security is a priority for every owner. 


Auto retail industry experts say there’s been an increase in thefts at car dealerships, including smash-and-grab thefts when a group breaks into a dealership overnight and scores multiple cars in one haul. That tracks with the uptick in insurance claims, according to Ally Dealership Insurance Senior Director Aaron Lee. He told Automotive News that the insurance and aftermarket products provider to 4,600 U.S. dealerships has seen an 80% rise in claims over the past four years.

While the National Insurance Crime Bureau doesn’t have specific data on auto dealership thefts, the nonprofit organization reports car thefts in the United States have risen steadily since 2020. More than one million vehicles were reported stolen last year and overall vehicle thefts increased about 1% nationwide from 1,008,756 in 2022 to 1,020,729 in 2023, according to the NICB.

“Criminals are employing increasingly sophisticated methods to steal vehicles, including the use of advanced technology to bypass security systems,” NICB’s President and CEO David Glawe said in a statement. “From keyless entry hacks to relay attacks on key fobs, perpetrators are exploiting vulnerabilities in modern vehicle security measures with alarming success rates. It is critical that industry and law enforcement work together to develop more effective strategies for combating auto theft and safeguarding public safety.”


For retailers, the parking lot is the first line of defense against bad actors. For car dealers, the parking lot is their business. This means it’s imperative for dealers to deploy strategic physical security measures that safeguard their lots against potential theft and vandalism.

Richard Kolko, a former FBI agent and security expert, emphasizes that prevention is key to reducing crime.

“You never want to be in a position of trying to catch someone in the act or after the fact,” he said. “You want to stop it from ever happening to begin with.”

For dealers looking to fully detail their security plans, here are ways to upgrade to a fully loaded package of smart options specifically designed to defend perimeters and increase parking lot security:

  • Invest in a full-coverage surveillance solution: It’s critical to explore robust systems that integrate different security measures, including access control, surveillance cameras, alarms, intrusion detection systems. This provides full coverage and delivers real-time information about security breaches.
  • Ensure the surveillance camera system includes video management: While security cameras deter criminals, adding a cloud-connected video management system enables instant interaction, allowing viewers to act as soon as an issue arises.
  • Enhance lighting: Since criminals like to work in the shadows, proper lighting removes their preferred working conditions. And if something does happen, well-lit thieves are easier to detect, deter, and provide identification to law enforcement.
  • Upgrade physical barriers: Bollards, fencing, and gates create the ultimate obstacle course, increasing the degree of difficulty for any unauthorized drivers. This can deter the criminals who prefer easier targets and buy time for law enforcement if they don’t.
  • Level-up employee training: Many would-be thieves visit auto dealerships during the day, not to take a car on test drive but to test their crime hypothesis. Collaborate with law enforcement to provide employees’ situational awareness training and they can help deter late-night raids later on.


While many dealerships already use CCTV, it’s cost-effective to upgrade. Video surveillance has evolved from basic monitoring devices to laser-focused “digital eyes”—those that never blink or look away from their target. 

That’s one of many reasons customers choose LiveView Technologies’ proactive enterprise mobile security camera systems. LVT Units feature two-way speakers, motion sensors, lights, thermal imaging, and alarm systems, and the proprietary LVT Platform provides integrated layers of video surveillance capabilities including 360-degree remote monitoring and robust video analytics. Investing in our full-service security solution—which costs much less than a team of security guards— provides car dealers with state-of-the-art detection, unparalleled surveillance, and more “eyes” on the parking lot.

Ready to learn why our customers trust LVT to defend car dealerships from would-be thieves taking the ultimate criminal joyride? Contact our team today for a demo.

More Posts You'll Love