Every 41 seconds a motor vehicle is stolen in the United States.

Thieves stole over 750,000 vehicles and cost the American public $5.9 billion in 2016. These are some scary statistics, not only for car owners, but also for car dealers.

Dealerships are a perfect target for thieves because they openly display cars outside on unguarded lots. Just last October, a group of thieves broke into a dealership outside of Atlanta, Georgia and stole 10 cars, totaling $400,000.

Unfortunately, motor vehicle theft is a real issue for dealers. But, there are ways you can protect your inventory from the multi-billion dollar problem. Here's how.

1. Install a Video Surveillance System

Video surveillance is an effective solution for protecting your car dealership. Just the sight of cameras installed throughout your lots will help deter potential thieves. Work with a security expert to ensure your camera system includes the following features:

  • Live video recordings of car lots and display floors.
  • Remote control capabilities to adjust views via mobile devices.
  • Motion-triggered settings that send alerts via text or email, letting you know when suspicious activity is detected.
  • Archived clips you can refer back to in case someone tampers with your system.

Other installation tips include:

  • Place cameras no higher than 12 feet above entrances, exits, cash registers and inventory areas.
  • Disclose what is under surveillance to deter criminals and avoid legal liabilities.
  • Protect outdoor cameras with a casing to prevent weather damage.

2. Secure Your Lot With Lights and Fences

Proper lighting can uncover dark places where thieves are likely to hide and break into cars. This can make it easier for your video surveillance system to pick up any activity during the night. Ensure you have lights throughout the lot and inside the show room for increased visibility.

You can even surround your car lot with a fence and gate the entryways. If a thief were to attempt to steal a car, one exit point will make it harder for them to escape. An access control system on the gate with a unique passcode can keep intruders out.

3. Invest in a Monitored Alarm System

A monitored alarm system can be effective for securing your show room. Protect your most valuable cars with a quality burglar alarm system. If a break-in were to happen, the alarm system will trigger audible and visual alarms. The system will then send an emergency signal to a 24/7 monitoring center, where an operator can notify you and dispatch authorities.

For added security, consider placing glass-break detectors on showroom windows. If a thief were to break a window for access, these sensors will trigger the alarm. Windows are the most fragile part of your showroom so you’ll want to ensure you have a system in place in the event of a break-in.

4. Lock-Up Cars and Keys

It might sound obvious, but lock your cars and the keys to your cars in a secure place. Over 50,000 vehicles were stolen in 2015 because the keys were left in them. Never leave keys unattended, and ensure cars are locked after they’re used. Consider placing keys in a safe or a room with an access control system.