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Car Lots Are at Risk With Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise

Catalytic converter theft has become a big issue for car lots as the price of materials used in their construction skyrocket.

Catalytic converters work by converting harmful engine exhaust chemicals into harmless oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. But this process requires the use of exotic and expensive metals, including palladium and rhodium. Palladium now costs upwards of $2,000 per ounce, triple what it cost just five years ago. Rhodium costs more than $21,000 per ounce, a 3,000% price increase over the past five years. 

The problem: supply hasn’t kept up with demand. An increase in demand for these metals has been spurred by stricter emission laws, sending prices soaring. And criminals have taken notice.

Car lots are at particularly high risk of catalytic converter theft, with hundreds of vehicles sitting outside, often unsecured and unmonitored. 

While it’s not unusual for thieves to remove catalytic converters from cars sitting on the street, police see evidence that thieves are scaling up their operations. Sheriffs in Elk Grove, California, seized 2,000 stolen catalytic converters and $300,000 in a massive catalytic converter crime ring bust.

For increasingly daring thieves, car lots, like dealerships, vehicle fleet, rental car, and trucking companies, present a tempting opportunity to steal many catalytic converters at once. Such unsecured car lots are wide open to the public, and experienced thieves can remove a catalytic converter in under two minutes

A single theft costs car lot owners thousands of dollars. A new catalytic converter is upwards of $2,000, and damage to other parts of the car or truck costs even more to fix. But that’s not the worst part: for car dealerships, their new zero-mile car can no longer be sold as fully new, drastically reducing its sale value.

Fixed operation managers recognize the threat that catalytic converter theft poses to profits and typically employ in-person guard services that patrol their lot during non-work hours. However, there are shortcomings to relying solely on guard patrol. 

Guards can’t be everywhere at once, leaving unmonitored areas of the car lot vulnerable. But hiring enough guards to actually cover everywhere at once is expensive. Just one guard can cost $4,000 per month—hire two or three guards, and it becomes too costly to justify.

However, security technology can inexpensively fill this gap in car lot security.

Security camera systems and video monitoring can protect your entire car lot 24/7. 

Security cameras do what in-person patrol can’t—they keep an eye on every corner of your lot day and night. And they come with easy-to-use, reliable features and tools.

BayGuard Live security cameras are the perfect security solution for car dealerships, vehicle fleet companies, and trucking companies. The security cameras feature:

  • HD video recording
  • Unlimited number of cameras that can be installed anywhere on your car lot
  • Live remote monitoring from a phone or computer
  • Onboard video analytics
  • Blaring intruder alarm to scare away criminals

Note that while some security companies offer live video monitoring services, these responsibilities are often outsourced to unaffiliated monitoring centers in other countries. This poses a problem, as the employees of these monitoring centers are often poorly trained. They also don’t have personal relationships with law enforcement in their customers’ communities. This results in delayed emergency response in the case of a break-in, allowing criminals more time to do as they please. 

At Bay Alarm, we never outsource live video monitoring. Our monitoring team is local. When they receive an alarm alert, they immediately review the video footage and dispatch police if required. There are no third-party monitoring centers or emergency response delays here—you’ll get the service you need when you need it.  

Despite more effectively deterring theft and damage, a security system and monitoring services actually cut your security costs relative to relying solely on security guards. 

The upfront installation cost depends on the size of your car lot and the number of cameras you need. The price can range from just a few thousand dollars for smaller lots to $20-$25,000 for larger ones, and we’ll work closely with you to get you the system that fits your budget and needs. 

On the other hand, a single full-time security guard typically costs $40,000-$50,000 per year. And that’s before you account for the cost of any theft and damage that occurs while they work. 

Of course, not all car dealerships are the same. For some smaller car lots, security—whether it be guard patrol or security cameras—might seem costly and impractical. Catalytic converter theft is still a problem, no matter the size of your company. But it’s smaller lots that can least afford the consequences of catalytic converter thefts. BayGuard Live can protect any size car lot and save you money long term.

The bottom line: Even including the upfront purchase and installation costs, you can get Bay Alarm’s BayGuard Live security camera system and 24/7 alarm monitoring for thousands less than you pay for an in-person patrol. Dealerships and other open car lot companies that work with Bay Alarm typically realize cost savings in less than one year.

You won’t have to worry about guards who can’t be everywhere at once. You’ll get the same high-tech security day after day, all backed by a team of experts. You will have better security and make more money because of it. 

If you want to learn more about how Bay Alarm can secure your car lot against all types of theft, get in touch today! Call us now or fill out our online contact form for more information.