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Teri L. Lanza,
Vice President

Tony Jones,
Contributing Editor/Store Manager

Amy Campbell,

Remembering 9/11: Self-Storage Operators Play a Role in National Security

By Teri Lanza Comments

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of one of our nation’s great tragedies. From coast to coast, individuals and businesses will honor the memory of the 9/11 attacks through thought, deed and prayer.

As a self-storage operator, you have a critical, ongoing role to play in the fight against terrorism. We all know storage units can be and have sometimes been misused in conjunction with terrorist subterfuge. National law-enforcement agencies have asked in recent years that you lend your eyes and ears to the Homeland Security effort.

You may remember that about this time last year, the national Self Storage Association and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent a written alert to thousands of self-storage companies nationwide about the potential for illegal use of self-storage in connection with terrorism. Authorities requested that anyone suspecting terrorist, suspicious or illegal activity immediately contact the Joint Terrorism Task Force in their area, the FBI or local law enforcement.

Are you on board? Do you know what to watch for? As we remember the thousands of lives lost nine years ago, renew your commitment to battle the terror campaign. Revisit your facility’s policy regarding suspicious customer behavior and the checklist of potential red flags distributed by DHS. Things to watch for include:

  • Cash customers
  • Requests for 24-hour access or any unusual off-hour access
  • Long-term prepayment
  • Suspicious behavior in proximity to any employees or security personnel
  • Abandonment of unused, suspicious items after leaving the facility
  • Suspicious identification
  • Unverified telephone or address information
  • Physical damage on the person, i.e., burns and scars with irrational or non-credible explanations about injuries

All self-storage managers should be trained toward awareness. Perhaps the best preventive measure is to simply inquire about a customer’s need for storage. Most customers are loose-lipped about their storage requirements; severe reticence, nervousness or strange explanations could be cause for grater attentiveness to that tenant.

Not all storage operators feel a social responsibility for such great matters. They keep out of their customers’ way and turn a blind eye to unusual behavior or stored goods. In the interest of your business, community and nation at large, take a more active role. As you think back on the travesty of the Twin Towers, bear in mind the importance of vigilance and the contribution self-storage can make to national stewardship.


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