While recently attending the Southwest Self-Storage Conference and Trade Show, presented in Phoenix by the American Mini Storage Association, my curiosity was piqued by one of their choices of speakers. The association had brought on board a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) specialist with the Tempe, Ariz., police department. CPTED is a branch of situational crime prevention, the basic premise of which is that physical environments can be manipulated in such a way that they actually reduce the incidence of crime. Unlike other more aggressive methods of crime-prevention, CPTED attempts to use environmental factors to influence the perceptions of all users of a given space (i.e., a self-storage facility), addressing not only the opportunity for crime, but the sensation of fear on the part of potential victims.
The idea here is that the design and layout of your facility can potentially contribute to the avoidance of crime, but that really oversimplifies the concept. (For more information, visit www.cpted.org.) The bottom line is that, as owners or managers of storage facilities--especially if you're a resident manager--you have a lot at stake. Not only are your business and tenants' goods vulnerable, but potentially your home as well. This makes the decision as to what security systems to implement and maintain a particularly crucial one.
Before directing you to this issue's catalogue of articles regarding security issues--software, gates, alarms, installation, locks, etc.--let me just say that, obviously, safety and security are of utmost concern in both our personal and professional lives. People chuckled when they saw an article on tenant-operated methamphetamine labs publicized on the cover of our February issue, but we were barraged with phone calls from self-storage operators plagued with similar woes. And, in the case of many of these trials, the challenge isn't petty theft, it's the devious, conniving criminal mind. Make sure your managers are prepared to identify problem renters, or to recognize suspicious behavior or items on your site.
The safety of your facility will, of course, be bolstered by a sound security system. Whether you're a new developer or a seasoned veteran, it's important to keep abreast of the most current options in that arena. David Reddick provides a comprehensive overview of self-storage security hardware and software, and how best to choose it. Steve Cooper adds a more detailed focus on individual unit door alarms, while Arden Thoburn looks at closed-circuit television. Finally, Chris Shope shares his views on locks as more than just an ancillary product, and Lance Comstock highlights the importance of proper installation and support.
Hopefully, those of you who joined us in Buffalo, N.Y., last month took advantage of the unique exposure to an international market. Self-storage is spreading its influence over borders and overseas, which will mean a more challenging business climate for us all. Don't allow anxiety over crime or other manageable hazards to undermine your participation in what is sure to be an exciting--and profitable--future.
Be careful out there,
Teri L. Lanza
For a complete list of references click here