Toronto, Ontario — As parts and used vehicle supply continue to dwindle, members of the security industry are urging collision facility owners to lock down their vulnerabilities and invest in protection for their parking lots full of profits.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but when a customer drops off their vehicle for repairs, they are trusting that facility to care for that vehicle like it is their own. The idea tends to be: send the car back looking as good as it did prior to the collision, if not better.
So, you can imagine how awkward the call is when owners have to dial up a customer and tell them their car was stolen right out of the shop’s lot.
Jeremy White, the founder of Texas-based video security company Pro-Vigil, recommends a multi-tiered solution for shops that he assures will pay for itself over the long haul.
Protecting vehicles requires “a layered approach,” according to White.
“One thing that helps against car theft is low barriers and gates. To reduce people breaking into vehicles, maybe a higher fence is required. They may not always be aesthetically pleasing, but a higher fence is going to keep people out.
“That would be the first step; making sure you have the perimeter secured. The next thing is, you almost have to have cameras. You really need the level of detail of who is there, is it a person, what are they wearing—video tells a pretty great story.”
When it comes to these sorts of crimes of opportunity, a basic level of deterrence really is half the battle, and there are affordable steps most shop owners can take to make would-be thieves think twice about doing some after-hours shopping in your lot.
“Always, always [invest in] lighting. It’s the easiest thing you could ever do. Even if all you can afford is lighting, it’s a natural deterrent,” said White.
Thieves also tend to try to get as much bang for their buck during their nefarious outings, so White also recommends shop owners really impress on their customers not to leave personal items in their vehicles, as the prospect of coming away from a catalytic converter or radio theft with a laptop only sweetens the deal for criminals.
“Something as silly as a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses sitting on the dash will cause more problems than they want,” he said.
White points out that it is already standard practice for many personal storage businesses to market their security capabilities directly on their storefronts, with signs reading “Monitored 24/7” and “Guard on Duty” being common sights.
He suggests that collision facilities take a similar approach and use the security of their business as a selling point to customers, reaffirming that their vehicle is in caring hands.
“What could be more embarrassing than not having one, two or three of these layers of security and having to make those calls to customers for them to make those insurance claims just because they have a sign up that says ‘We are not responsible for personal items left in vehicles.’ It leaves a really bad taste in a customer’s mouth,” said White.
“If it’s me, I’m looking for a collision centre that is protecting my property while it is in their hands.”