Thursday, May 26, 2016

Vehicles Stolen From Milwaukee County Dealerships

Car thief driving stolen carMilwaukee County is no stranger to auto theft, with yet another dealership hit by thieves. In the past nine months, thieves have broken into nearly 20 businesses to steal keys and, in some cases, have driven cars right out of the dealerships' front doors.

According to the John Amato Hyundai dealer, if these thefts continue, then insurance rates for auto dealers in Milwaukee will increase, adding to the vehicles' sticker prices.

Dealers around the area have taken precautions by verifying all cars are locked, alarms and cameras are on, and keys are stored in a lock box or taken home at the end of the day.

In order to protect your vehicles from being stolen, it is vital to maintain control of your keys. Consider using an electronic key control system equipped with tamper-proof cabinets or drawers that can only be accessed by authorized users via password and/or fingerprint. By automating the key control process rather than storing keys in a lock box, you are able to maintain accountability over your inventory.

For additional security, alerts can be sent immediately to a cell phone or email address if an unauthorized user attempts to access the keys. There are also reporting capabilities that allow users to see when keys were checked out and who checked them out.

For more information, read how the Russell & Smith Automotive Group has benefited from implementing an electronic key control system.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Cost of Losing Your Keys

Surprised businessman.
On a normal business day at your dealership, keys pass through hundreds of hands. They're passed back and forth between salespeople, sales managers, porters, servicemen and F&I employees, which can quickly cause disorganization.

Disorganization due to unidentified or lost keys results in impatient customers waiting for a test drive. Many dealerships are still using peg boards or like systems to account for vehicle keys.  With manual systems like this, there are no accurate ways to determine how long someone has checked out a key or even who checked it out. Sometimes employees check out keys and forget to return them, and other times keys go missing without documentation of the last person to check them out.

Mismanaging dozens or hundreds of vehicle keys can lead to unnecessary expenses. Smart keys — key fobs that lock, unlock and start vehicles based on proximity alone — are increasing in popularity and are generally more expensive than traditional keys, costing about $400 to $800 to replace. These costs quickly escalate when incurred in a large dealership. For example, if your dealership loses 10 keys a month, replacement keys can cost you up to $96,000 a year.

Eliminate these avoidable expenses with an electronic key management system. These systems provide full inventory control with extensive reporting capabilities that allow you to better organize and manage your keys. The systems automatically record the employee’s name, along with the date and time the key was requested. If a key goes missing, you can quickly identify who checked out the key and resolve the issue promptly.

Losing a key is not only costly; it disrupts the workplace and can ultimately lead to a lost vehicle sale. Contact us for more information.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Key Control Lessons We Can Learn From Higher Education Institutions

University campusSecurity breaches due to improperly secured keys have been a recent trend among universities and colleges. Here are a few incidents that could have been prevented with electronic key control, as well as the lessons we can learn from them.

Know When Keys Go Missing


The University of Southern Maine is increasing its security measures after a security breach that could have placed millions of dollars of personal property as well as confidential records at risk. According to university officials, someone broke into a parked university van and stole a set of keys that gave the burglar access to between 40 and 50 campus buildings.

Set up email and text alerts to notify you when a key has been checked out longer than the allotted time. In addition to limiting the time an employee can have a key checked out, email and text alerts can notify you of missing or overdue keys. The alert will specify which key is missing and which employee last checked it out. Electronic key control will not only keep your keys safe, but it will keep authorized users accountable for returning keys, which reduces the chance of lost keys.

Enforce Employee Accountability


When a University of Central Arkansas (UCA) professor let a student borrow the grand master key to the campus, the student took advantage of it and used the key to steal various office keys that led him to pharmaceuticals and exam answers. After further investigation, it was found that the key belonged to UCA’s chief of staff. The replacement cost of the grand master key alone is a whopping $100,000, not to mention the added cost of the lower-level keys ($45) and a general building master key ($5,000).

It’s vital to hold your employees accountable for the amount of time they possess a key. Without certain key control procedures, it’s difficult to track key activity, including who had keys last. To avoid high replacement costs, strengthen security with an automated key control system by setting up access levels for your employees. This way, administrators are able to set specific permissions for their employees. By limiting your employee’s access to certain keys, you greatly reduce the chance of key theft and enforce employee accountability.

Prevent Repeated Security Breaches


Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is re-keying every room in one of its residence halls after the master key was stolen. This is not the first time EMU has had an issue with key security. A similar issue arose after a set of master keys to the entire campus was taken from a cart left unattended by a subcontractor working for the university. The university re-keyed interior and exterior locks in dorms and exterior locks to other buildings. Faculty members filed a grievance, reporting that the university was slow to respond.

In order to prevent repeated breaches, it’s important to have an electronic key control system in place. To access a key, a user must log in with a password and/or fingerprint. The name of the user who checked out the key is electronically stored along with the date and time the key was taken. You can also set up email or text alerts to notify you if a key is overdue. This way, you can address a security breach promptly.

Want to learn more about electronic key control for universities? Check out our blog “The Art of Asset Management for Higher Education.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Former NBA Player’s Used Vehicle Stolen off Dealership Lot

Having cars stolen off the lot is one of the worst things that can happen to a dealership, but New Deal Used Car lot in Spokane Valley experienced something even worse — two cars, a safe full of keys and the titles to all the cars were stolen, leaving the employees unable to make any sales.

Car robber at night
When employee Scott Fitzgerald arrived at work one morning, he noticed the dealership had been
ransacked by thieves. One of the two vehicles stolen happened to be a Cadillac SUV previously owned by former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. As if that wasn’t enough, the safe stolen by the thieves contained keys and titles to all 109 vehicles on the lot.

Without titles to the vehicles, the dealership was unable to make any car sales, and employees couldn’t bring in any revenue until the titles were replaced, which was expected to take at least three weeks.

An electronic key control system can reduce the likelihood of nightmares like this one and give managers peace of mind. With these systems, keys are stored in tamper-proof steel cabinets or drawers that can only be accessed with a password, fingerprint scan or key fob. When a key isn’t returned to a drawer within a specified amount of time, management is alerted via text, email or audible alarm.

How do you keep your keys accounted for? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Eight Cars Stolen From Tampa Dealership

A used car dealership in Tampa is now eight cars short after a group of burglars drove them off the lot before the dealership opened one morning.

Car thief in mask and glasses
Ten burglars ignored signs at the dealership warning them of multiple rolling surveillance cameras and broke through the front windows of the Prespa Auto Sales lot. The men were seen on tape searching through drawers and finding the keys to eight cars. They then used a stolen minivan to break through the dealership’s gates, allowing them to drive away with all eight vehicles.

Securing vehicle keys with an electronic key control system could have prevented the keys from being easily accessed by thieves. The system allows you to store keys in a steel cabinet or drawer that permits only authorized users to retrieve the keys using a password, biometric fingerprint scan and/or key fob. By automating the key tracking process, you can set up alerts that will notify you via email or text message when keys are taken by unauthorized users or aren’t returned in a timely manner.

For more information about how to keep your keys accounted for, read our post "Five Benefits of Implementing Electronic Key Control."

Monday, April 11, 2016

Thief Steals Vehicle and 60 Keys From Florida Dealership

Not only did a thief get away with driving a $60,000 BMW off a Florida dealership lot, but he also managed to get away with the keys to 60 other cars.

Keys displayed on pegboard
When Nicholas Jackson tried to purchase the BMW with a credit card and his Electronic Benefit Transfer card, dealership managers declined his business. The next day, the BMW and 60 keys were missing from the dealership.

Fortunately for the dealership, Jackson ran out of gas at an intersection, enabling the police to locate both Jackson and the stolen property. However, an electronic key control system could have helped prevent the keys from ending up in Jackson’s hands in the first place.

An electronic key control system secures keys in tamper-proof drawers or cabinets that can only be accessed by entering a password, scanning a fingerprint or swiping a key fob. The system also enables you to set up alerts that will notify you — via text message, email or audible alarm — when keys aren’t returned within a certain amount of time.

To learn more about how electronic key control can help dealerships protect their inventory, check out this post.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Keys Swiped From Local Correctional Facility

A thief with access to a local jail's keys is probably one of the worst scenarios imaginable. The Humboldt County Correctional Facility (HCCF) experienced that nightmare on March 16.

Jail cell with keysDuring a routine probation search of a residence, Humboldt County Deputy Sheriffs found keys that appeared to belong to the HCCF. Three suspects were questioned at the residence, and the Sheriffs' department confirmed the keys were stolen from the HCCF.

Although there were no reports of the keys being used to gain illegal access to the HCCF, the fact that someone was able to swipe them from the correctional facility is one of the many reasons why securing inventory is so important.

An electronic key control system reduces the likelihood of key theft by controlling access to keys. These systems secure keys in tamper-proof cabinets or drawers that can only be accessed when approved users input a computer password and/or scan a fingerprint. If a key isn’t returned to a drawer within a certain amount of time, the system alerts management via text message, email or an audible alarm.

To learn more about electronic key control, check out this post.