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Car theft gangs target “soft” rental facilities

Car theft is a fruitful field of opportunity for today’s criminals as they seek new and innovative ways for gaining quick profits. Recent reports indicate that prior to committing theft, organized car-theft gangs are doing their homework. They are targeting specific car rental facilities, conducting exhaustive site-studies of the facilities to identify vulnerabilities that will make their job easier.

The gangs often use border crossings as easy exit routes to their markets south of the US border. This relative ease of vehicle disposal provides considerable profit opportunity because buyers with plenty of money are not hard to find south of the border and they have appetite for top-of-the-line vehicles.

If the stolen vehicles are not transferred over the border, they can be readily re-marketed in the USA, broken down for spare parts (a very lucrative endeavor), or even illegally shipped to South America, which has strong demand for high quality four-wheel drive SUVs and luxury vehicles.

On-airport CONRAC facilities have been recent targets of the discriminating abilities of modern organized car theft gangs.

One company lost over twenty vehicles in a one-night spree at a major airport. The loss was estimated at $500,000. The particular company involved protected their location with low-level barrier/tiger teeth equipment. Other rental car companies in the same facility that were armed with crash-rated vehicle barrier systems did not sustain any loss of vehicles. This leads to the conclusion that these gangs are looking for “soft” target facilities and avoid those that offer a higher level of asset protection resistance.

New designs for CONRAC facilities now include specifications that require all rental locations in a facility to include crash-rated anti-ram vehicle barriers so that a new and more effective standard can be implemented facility-wide. This will provide peace of mind for rental car companies and allow for airport integration of all security elements. One important point to note is that many rental car agencies are self-insured and the loss of assets hits their bottom line much more detrimentally than a capital asset to protect their inventory.

If organized car theft gangs discover that CONRAC facilities are becoming more rigorously protected, it logically follows that they would take their appetite for soft targets elsewhere. Off-airport rental car facilities with very limited anti-ram defense are likely to be more vulnerable to attack. Thus, off-premises vehicle storage yards have also been frequent targets of vehicle theft. It can be expected that the car theft gangs will increase their activities at these soft target locations also.

High-end auto auction companies have also experienced a spate of thefts of late, resulting in the hardening of entrances and exits to avoid such losses.

“Doing very little” is no longer an option for companies that want to avoid car theft asset losses. Effective loss prevention has become a business necessity for companies with asset protection foresight. It pays to seek out crash-rated vehicle barrier equipment that provide at least 24” of plate height so that an attacking vehicle can’t simply ride over it.

Because of where this equipment is often installed, it pays to ensure the barrier product uses electric actuation technology, rather than hydraulic drive systems. Not only does all-electric actuation technology facilitate ease of installation and minimize maintenance as compared to many hydraulic systems, but the all-electric technology also supports green environmentally friendly anti-pollutant requirements. This allows much easier system integration within the specific location, as well as being able to interface with an airport’s internal security system such as an open-platform security system as a LENEL for a total and seamless integration.

This article was written by Stephen Crosby for SecureUSA, a provider of perimeter defense and loss prevention technology.


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