The Industry:


The Location:

Southern California

The Product:

Video Monitoring

The Problem/Challenge:

Consistent issues night after night across the city with vagrants breaking into cars on lots and causing an abundance of interior damage.

The Solution:

The Eyewitness remote video surveillance team is watching, recording and dispatching out police in an instant, leading to vehicles saved and vagrants arrested.

The Breakdown:

While this problem is certainly not isolated to southern California, local area dealerships and local police alike have reported an increase in nighttime damage to parked and unlocked vehicles on dealer lots. So, when Eyewitness’s video surveillance system triggered on an intruder twice in one night at large San Diego county Ford dealership, our guards knew just how to react. In fact, this particular area had been rife with instances of homeless people and vagrants breaking into cars to sleep causing expensive damage to vehicle interiors.

With the quick actions of Eyewitness personnel, the intruder was apprehended and arrested before he had a chance to do any damage. Says Frank Wills, the Director of Security for a chain of dealerships in southern California: “Almost all of our dealerships have had problems with homeless people trespassing… and sleeping in cars. Even when there is no significant damage, there is always dirt, trash and objectionable smells that require time and money to correct. We have had three situations where the interior of new vehicles (one a $100K+ Mercedes) were damaged. [These incidents mostly occur] when the homeless decide to try and cook dinner inside the vehicle [which occurred] with our other security company that missed the trespasser. Locking vehicles at night is a big deal in our company, but we still have a lot of misses.”

In fact, police in the area are saying that since just about every car dealership has a few unlocked vehicles on the lot, the homeless population know that opportunities exist – and as it is far more comfortable to sleep inside a car than under a bridge or on the streets – they have been seeking refuge in greater numbers.

“Eyewitness has caught several of these for us and I can only imagine that at least one of them would have caused damage if it had gone undetected,” Frank Wills adds. “[In fact,] Eyewitness has never missed a trespasser or vagrant at our dealerships.” And so, while this is especially prevalent in southern California at the moment, this is surely a good reminder for all dealerships across the country to double check cars doors are locked – unfortunately, the possibility for intruder damage is just too high.

On this particular night, utilizing audio warnings based on the site protocols, the Remote Surveillance Professionals (RSPs) instructed the intruding individual to leave at once, as he began pulling on door handles and poking around vehicles. Per the protocols for the site, this activity triggered the RSP to dispatch police as well as continuing the audio warnings. When the police arrived, they made contact and ushered the suspect away from the lot.

In what seems to be a particular trend for the Southern California area, however, that interaction is not where the incident ended. Less than three hours later, the intruder returned making a determined beeline for a pickup door and climbing right inside. As with his first attempt on the lot, police were sent right back to the scene and the Eyewitness RSP helped vector the police to the correct vehicle.

The intruder seemed to know the drill this time and crouched down inside the truck, attempting to hide. However, the RSPs had a clear visual and provided his exact location to the police, who soon had him apprehended and arrested.

At the end of the day, whether it’s an epidemic of break-ins or it starts with just one brazen burglar, there is no better feeling than knowing your property is under the watchful eye of Eyewitness.

"Eyewitness has never missed a trespasser or vagrant at our dealerships."
Frank Wills
Director of Security
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