I can't believe I'm about to admit this. Some of you will want my head on a platter. But I have to be honest: When it comes to self-storage security, I'm a doubting Thomas. But I didn't know that until recently. Let me explain.
My significant other and I just made a dream purchase: our very first Harley Davidson. A Centennial-Edition Softail Standard in Gunmetal Pearl with lots of chrome. Man, it gives me chills just writing about it. Our feelings toward this mechanical beast border on the obsessive; and like most HD enthusiasts, we are more than willing to forego creature comforts--like a house with a garage, for example--to have and keep our Precious.
But that leaves us with a slight parking dilemma--no garage, no covered patio, no secure shed. Of course, we considered self-storage. And then it hit me--after years of working in this industry, writing and reading about facility security and access control, I wouldn't commit my most prized material possession to a storage unit. Nightmares of scheming renters and dishonest employees flashed through my brain. Cut and replaced locks. Busted latches. Disabled video cameras. Ugliness, all of it.
So what do you say when an industry insider lacks confidence in the product? How can you, as an operator, sell prospects on the safety of their goods when in 2001, 24.6 percent of facilities nationwide reported a theft and/or break-in? (Self-Storage Almanac, 2002).
Since the events of 9/11, there has been insistence on the magnitude of security in every industry. In self-storage, emphasis is placed on tenant screening, ID verification and goods awareness. But let's cut to the chase--I'm not afraid a terrorist is going to hijack my Harley. I have to worry enough about my fellow Americans! And I would bet most renters feel the same way. So when you think about security for your facility, don't invest the added effort just to jump on Uncle Sam's bandwagon. Invest in security because it is imperative, to everyone, all the time, no matter what they store.
In this issue, you'll read about the role facility design plays in security. You'll also find articles on video surveillance, new advances in digital CCTV and wireless technology, access control, and pitfalls of system installation. All self-storage operators know they need security. But how many are really willing to devote the necessary resources? If you don't believe security will make or break you when it comes to a prospect, consider this: If I can think twice about storing with you, what makes you think your customers won't? It's something to think about.
Teri L. Lanza