Organized Vehicle Theft: A Rising Trend
Organized crime rings stealing vehicles from dealerships — especially those that store keys in lockboxes — are on the rise in the U.S. Criminals often use stolen vehicles in illegal activities such as drug trafficking, terrorism, and more. Thus, they tend to rob dealers near foreign export ports so they can ship stolen cars overseas via container ships.1 Dealers with large lots are also prime targets, since missing inventory is more likely to go undetected for longer — however, smaller dealerships are not immune.
How Criminals Steal From Dealerships
Vehicle theft prevention experts say the days of hotwiring are gone, and even pro thieves “need a key or a way to work on the car.”2 This is why thieves often steal from dealers that keep keys in window-mounted lockboxes.
Criminals can easily break into the boxes with a metal cutter or master key, which they can purchase online. If the keys aren’t covered with a signal-blocking shield, it increases the risk of the thieves intercepting the fob signal without even having to open the box.
- When vehicles are stolen — whether by organized criminals or not — the national recovery rate is just 50-60%.3
- In reported organized theft incidents, dealerships typically lost four or five vehicles, but some lost as many as 30.4
Rethinking Your Key Control Practices
- If your dealership uses lockboxes, it’s important to rethink keeping your keys on your vehicles to protect yourself from theft.
- By storing keys separate from the vehicles, you’ll be a less attractive target for criminals and can even lower your insurance costs.
- Because thieves’ methods change and new vulnerabilities crop up every day, consider working with a key control partner (such as KeyTrak) who can help maximize your security on an ongoing basis.
- Keeping keys inside an electronic key control system lets you keep keys secure, while providing an easy process for retrieving keys for test drives.
Stay vigilant to keep your insurance costs down.
A KeyTrak partnership could qualify your dealerships as a Preferred Risk. Please contact All Risks, Ltd. to learn more.
This is a claim alert to retail insurance agents that currently insure auto dealers. Please share this information with your dealerships to help reduce losses and keep insurance costs down due to the increase of organized vehicle theft.
1,3 "Transnational Organized Crime" FBI (https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/organized-crime)
4 "Is Your Dealership Inviting Organized Crime?." KeyTrak eBook