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Self-Storage Security System Triumphs and Failures: Stories From Facility Operators


Self-storage operators rely on their facility security system not only to keep the property safe and alert them to potential intrusion but to serve as a strong marketing tool with customers. When visitors to the facility see surveillance cameras, an access-control gate, and site-graphics displays behind the management counter, it instills in them a sense of confidence that the business is proactive and secure.

For the most part, security components work as they should. Keypads process gate codes, the gate opens and closes, motion sensors trigger lighting, cameras capture site activity, and door alarms sound the call when a unit has been breached. These tools provide operators with important information about the comings and goings of customers and guests. When crime does occur on or near the property, this equipment can help local law enforcement do their job.

But like any technology, security components can fail from time to time, leaving a facility and its inhabitants vulnerable. It's important that operators watch for shut-downs and work to resolve them as quickly as possible. Inside Self-Storage recently asked industry professionals about the successes and failures of their security systems, sharing details about times when security tools saved the day and how they handled periodic breakdowns.

Has your security system ever helped you or law enforcement solve a crime that occurred at your self-storage facility?

Ever since the first camera went up at my facility, I have not had another issue (knock on wood); but last year someone broke into a house neighboring my facility. The people who lived there and the cops came by to ask if our cameras might have caught anything.

We took a look at our footage and found a guy carrying a 42-inch TV with a blanket over it down a isle at our facility. He goes all the way to the end of the facility, then walks all the way back toward the camera and into the view of another. In the mean time, the getaway car is outside the gate, which a camera picks up as well.

The homeowners know both the person and the car. We burn a copy for police, and the case was solved.
~Senior Member RandyL

Last year I had an incident where a past-due notice resulted in a phone call from a "gentleman" in Florida informing me that he had "no" storage in Virginia and that I should call the police because someone must have stolen his identity. I told him he needed to report the identity theft to his local police department and I would investigate further on my end. I compared the picture on the ID we had on file with the picture of the person renting the unit and immediately could tell they were not the same person.

I called the guy in Florida to ask about the information on his license, and it was accurate; but he again stated someone must have stolen it because he had never been to Virginia. He did report the problem to his local police department and I did the same.

While waiting for our local PD to show up, I received a call from someone claiming to be the tenant wanting to make a payment so he could access the unit. I took the payment over the phone and again called our PD to let them know what had happened. They asked if I could deny the person making the payment access to the unit, so I did not remove the overlock.

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