The June issue of Inside Self-Storage focuses on site security: hardware, software, crime prevention, remote management, etc. But there's one unique option not mentioned in that issue; and since I recently read about a facility taking a whirl at it, I thought I would mention it here: on-site K-9 training.
The owner of Northland Storage of Mandan, N.D., (who also happens to be president of the North Dakota Self-Storage Association) is going to let law-enforcement units start training their dogs at his facility starting in June. He's not the first to do so—many storage businesses have discovered this is a fantastic way to deter crime at their sties. Not that there aren't concerns. Community members sometimes worry about the safety of being around these animals. Others worry about an infringement on their privacy rights, since the dogs are allowed to sniff the unit doors and perimeters.
One gentleman posted a rather irate response to the article published in the Bismarck Tribune:
"Just another example of the errosion of our civil liberties. What happened to probable cause? I personally have nothing to hide, but it seems we are as a society moving backwards in time, to hell with the constitution? I suppose this would fall under the 'Homeland Security,' anti-terrorist laws? What a joke!"
I was happy to see other readers responded with some sense, reminding this person that a self-storage site is PRIVATE property, and the operator can invite anyone he wants to use it. I particularly liked this comment: "If people don't like it, they can store their contraband elsewhere." Damn skippy.
If you're a storage operator interested in launching a similar K-9 program, contact your local police department. Many law-enforcement agencies work with storage facilities on crime-watch and other efforts these days. For example, Fargo PD has a Crime-Free Mini-Storage Program.
If you would like to read about a facility that did this kind of experimenting in the security arena, check out this feature story, which ran in a past issue of ISS.
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