Beyond Parking Lot Security: Dealing with Dealership Vandalism
Your dealership has been vandalized. Criminals have scratched up new vehicles, smashed windows and spray painted buildings. Chances are the damage happened when no one was around, but now you’re dealing with the aftermath. From improved parking lot security to calling insurance and documenting the damage, here’s a step-by-step guide to getting back on track after dealership vandalism.
Step 1: Call the Police
Vandalism is a crime, which means you should report it to local police. If possible, don’t touch damaged buildings or vehicles — if cleanup is necessary, grab a pair of gloves to prevent contaminating the scene with your own fingerprints. Try to get a sense of what happened and when; take a look at parking lot security footage, internal cameras and do a quick walk-around to discover the extent of the damage. If there’s no sign of the vandals on-site, find the non-emergency number for your local police and give them a call.
In a perfect world, responding officers are able to easily locate fingerprints that are on file in their criminal database, but in most cases, this isn’t the outcome. Nonetheless, making the call to police is a critical step since ongoing investigations could help link multiple vandalism incidents and your insurance company will require a police report to process your claim.
Step 2: Document Damage and Theft
A single incident of vandalism costs a small business more than $3000 on average — and that’s just repairing and replacing damaged property. If vandals have made the area unsafe or damaged critical equipment, your business may need to close temporarily, in turn impacting sales and service.
To get back on track, it’s critical for dealership owners to document all damage and theft to get an accurate picture of what needs to be replaced, what can be repaired and what (if any) items have been stolen and could be tracked. This list serves a dual purpose: Police will want an itemized account of all damage and stolen goods for their investigation and your insurance company needs the same. Documentation is also critical for record-keeping, especially if you need to replace equipment or repair vehicles.
Step 3: Collect Surveillance Footage
Next up? Start collecting evidence that could help find the vandals or track down missing property. Ideally, your car dealership security plan includes high-definition surveillance footage — this might take the form of time-lapse video, motion-activated security cameras or Web-enabled HD devices, but no matter what type of camera system you employ, it’s worth taking the time to collect all relevant images and video.
Critical data points here include the start time of any vandalism, time when the vandals left your dealership and any video or camera stills that show the perpetrators clothing, facial features or other distinguishing characteristics. Here, digital footage often has the edge over traditional tape-based systems because it’s easier to create copies for your own records, police investigations and insurance claims.
Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Company
With the police report, damage list and surveillance footage in hand, it’s time to contact your insurance company. It’s a good idea to review your policy before calling so you’re ready for any deductible requirements and property exceptions. Be prepared for questions and have good answers — collecting information beforehand means you’re not caught off-guard when asked about your car dealership security and you won’t have to put the call on hold (or call back) while you find additional resources.
Dealership vandalism is a serious issue — and comes with a significant cost. While you can’t eliminate the threat of vandalism entirely, you can deter criminals with well-placed (and obvious) security cameras along with “virtual guard” services that actively monitor your property, can audibly warn off trespassers and contact police immediately.
No matter what your security needs, eCamSecure has what you need. Click here to request a quote.