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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

Self-Storage Talk Members Discuss Slain Seattle Manager, Facility Safety

By John Carlisle Comments
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Tragic news in the self-storage world has sparked passionate discussion on Self-Storage Talk, the industry's largest online community and official forum of Inside Self-Storage. An 84-year-old self-storage manager in the Seattle area died this week after he was stabbed, and SST community members are talking about it in the thread "Manager Killed During Robbery." More details on the murder are available through the ISS news post "Seattle Self-Storage Manager Dies After Being Stabbed During Robbery, Police Shoot One Suspect."

Because of the tight-knit feel of the self-storage community, especially among SST posters, the first sentiment people are sharing on the forum is one of sadness and condolences for the dead manager's family. Additionally, members are uniformly posting wishes that the killer(s) be brought to justice. Similarly, some have speculated the manager and facility were targeted because of his age, positing this was no random act of violence and robbery but one that was planned. That speculation leads to wider concern: What can self-storage managers do to protect themselves, and what can self-storage operations do to protect their owners and staff? After all, self-storage facilities have long been known by criminals to house much "valuable" merchandise, and that perception has swelled in the era of self-storage-related reality shows such as "Storage Wars" and "Auction Hunters."
Here are some security ideas being discussed on the thread:

  • Include cameras in the office, not just on the property
  • Develop good relationships with local law enforcement
  • Develop good relationships with neighboring businesses and residents
  • Never walk to units or areas that are off-camera or not lit
  • Carry two-way radios
  • Carry pepper spray
  • Make absolute rules never to accommodate tenants after a certain hour
  • Lock office doors early and unlock them only when it's necessary to let in a customer
  • Advertise on-site drop-safes, with signs publicizing the manager/staff do not have keys
  • Advertise having little cash on the premises
  • Have a good watchdog

Other ideas that have been bandied around in previous discussions are security alarms in manager's residences (when applicable) and allowing managers and staff to arm themselves with guns or other weaponry and posting signs advertising it.

To get more out of the manager-and-staff security discussion, read the thread and chime in yourself. You must be a registered member to make a post, but registration is free and takes only a few minutes at www.selfstoragetalk.com/register.php. Arming yourself with information from your peers is the first step to becoming more secure.

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