Barring the Way: Low-Cost Strategies for Deterring Crime at Self-Storage Facilities

By John Carlisle Comments
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No. 5: Maintain your property’s exterior. As infuriating as it is for a cadre of teenagers or homeless people to have a drinking party outside the exterior fence and leave a mess, it must be promptly cleaned up. If crushed beer cans and debris litter the edge of the property, not only will you lose business, you’ll also send a message that such behavior is tolerated. This goes for inside the facility as well. Also, keep your dumpster locked so tenants can’t use it.

No. 6: Allow law enforcement to train on your facility grounds. Then let your tenants know about it by posting signs around the property. Any smart drug-runner won’t store where his “goods” may be discovered by an inquisitive police dog.

No 7: Lock all empty units. In addition, encourage your tenants to opt for disc and cylinder locks over padlocks. You can even require tenants to lock units with facility-issued locks. The only potential problem arises if the facility uses a kiosk to rent space after hours without an employee present. In these instances, numbered, trackable cargo seals or high-tech digital keypads on unit doors may be a solution.

Certification and Consultant Opportunities

The above strategies involve the manager and are little- to no-cost preventive measures. However, there are various certification and training opportunities in some communities in which operators can beef up their crime-prevention know-how.

One such program is offered by the International Crime Free Association, a nonprofit started by a law-enforcement officer to help rental properties protect themselves and their tenants. Crime Free Self Storage includes a half-day in-person training for the manager and an onsite facility security audit from a law enforcement officer. (For more information, visit www.crime-free-association.org.)

Once the facility operator has completed these steps and agrees to grant 24-hour access to the local police department, the facility will receive large signs and locks displaying its involvement in the program. The organization also offers the program “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design,” a way to maximize a facility’s existing layout to make it tougher for criminal activity to occur and mitigate any potential trouble spots.

Though the old saying, “If someone wants something bad enough, they’ll find away to get it” is hard to dispute, being prepared for crime can go a long way in keeping criminals from succeeding, or at least encouraging them to skip your facility. Make your operation support another old saying, “Crime doesn't pay.”

Looking for more  pointers or want to add to the list? Visit www.selfstoragetalk.com and look for the thread, “Preventing Crime: Cheap and Easy Ideas,” in the Day-to-Day Management forum. You must be a registered member to post, but it’s free and can be done by clicking "Register" in the top navigation bar.

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