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The Components of a Strong Self-Storage Security Plan

By Rich Morahan Comments

A successful self-storage operation needs a business plan, and that includes a solid security plan to protect your investment. Your business will attract customers with goods to secure, but it should also deter and repel crooks who want those goods.

A strong security plan includes several components including an honest and proactive manager, the latest security components, a solid rental agreement, effective management software and a good relationship with local law enforcement. Implementing any or all of these measures is a great way to be proactive about the security of your facility and maintain its overall safety.

Crime at a self-storage property can make you the "biggest loser" for a number of reasons. If a tenant is robbed, he'll (hopefully) have insurance to help him restore his goods, but what will help you restore your reputation or reinstate your investment? You have more to lose than property from crime—you can lose your livelihood.

Is Your Manager Your Greatest Asset or Greatest Threat?

A well-trained manager can sell your facility features, screen your renters and maintain visibility to prevent crime, dangerous activities and vandalism. A poorly-trained or dishonest manager can rob you and your customers, infiltrate your data and information, help his criminal associates and compromise your security. Your manager is the meeting point between your tenant and your investment. Select carefully, and consider employee insurance for liability and theft protection.

Access and Security Components

You need to create a security plan that runs like a road from curb to unit door. Begin at the curb by creating sight lines into your facility. Place barriers such as rocks and shrubs at the base of your fence, and place lights so they draw attention to your security components. You’re not only making intruders a target, you’re displaying your security to prospects.

Think of your gate as an access-control point and assign gate codes to tenants rather than allowing them to create their own. Most customers will pick an easy code such as 1234, which is worse than having no code at all. Some will naively think the gate is secure when, in reality, it can be easily breached. Tell tenants you assign codes for their protection. This is true, but it’s also for yours. You don’t want “roamers” on the site. Again, you’re the loser when crime hits.

To further deter roamers, set both an entry and an exit point. You want visitors to know they’ll be tracked going in and out of the property.

When you select video-surveillance cameras for your facility, focus on placement rather than quantity. Who’s the key audience for your lobby monitors? Customers? Potential thieves? Your manager? Your online audience? Have an array for show that points outward to the lobby, and a screen that faces inward for the manager. Remember: Cameras record crime, they don’t stop it.

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