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Amy Campbell

Amy Campbell
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acampbell@vpico.com

Sometimes Being a Little Paranoid Can Be a Good Thing

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A few days ago, I became a little paranoid. I was in a crowded shopping mall, so I clutched my purse tightly in front of me. This may seem odd to assume everyone you meet is after your wallet, but I had just cause.

Seven years ago, a similar scenario changed things for me. Again, crowded mall, but at that time my wallet was tucked safety in a zipped purse and stored beneath by daughter’s diaper bag in her stroller’s undercarriage. It was something I had done many times.

Unfortunately, I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Someone had the nerve to reach into the stroller’s carrying compartment while I stood a mere few feet away (daughter in my arms), dig under the diaper bag, unzip the purse and snatch my wallet. Obviously, it wasn’t a “seizing an opportunity” for the thief but a planned maneuver.

When it came time to pay for my purchase, I pulled out my purse, unzipped and found ... nothing. In a panic, I asked the cashier if the cameras in the store worked. Sheepishly, she responded with a whispered no. With my baby and stroller in tow, I raced to the mall’s security office to report the stolen wallet. In a panic, I began a mental list of everything that may have been in my wallet, prepared to cancel bank and credit cards but not overly concerned about the $8 cash.

A few hours after I left the mall, a mall security officer called with good news. My wallet had been found in a trash bin. To my surprise and delight, the only thing missing was the cash. To this day, I’m ultra careful about my personal belongings. I never leave my purse unattended, including in the car, and I clutch it tightly in crowded areas. For years after the incident, I even carried a purse that slung across my torso. Call me paranoid, overprotective or even crazy. But perhaps the extra vigilance will ensure my stuff is never taken again.

Self-storage managers have also learned a little paranoia can be a good thing. Managers are charged with protecting their storage facilities, tenants and belongings, and themselves against the baddies of the world. Plus, many managers live onsite, so they’re protecting their homes and families as well. It’s only natural they develop a heightened awareness to any threats of crime or danger.

Two hot threads on Self-Storage Talk, the official online forum of Inside Self-Storage, focus on self-storage safety and security. The first asks SST members if they’ve ever seen anyone “casing” their facility for a potential crime and how they reacted. Several operators report they have noticed suspicious vehicles or odd behavior from walk-ins. Read about their reactions here.

A second thread on the topic was recently posted by SST Moderator and ISS blogger Gina Six Kudo. With the goal of gathering self-storage operator safety tips in one place, Gina6k starts the thread by reminding the ladies out there to never let anyone know you’re on the property alone. For more advice or to add your own two-cents, chime in on this thread.

Of course, you need more than just a healthy dose of suspicion to keep yourself, tenants and property safe. A quality video surveillance system, secure parameter and solid business practices are also necessary. For more on self-storage security, visit the ISS archives security category. Another article I highly encourage you to read shows managers how to create the “illusion” of security to ward of trouble.

So maybe my paranoia at the mall last week wasn’t so crazy after all. It's OK to be extra vigilant—and maybe even a little paranoid. You never know when it could make a real difference.

To learn more about self-storage security, attend the Technology Marketplace at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo in New Orleans, Sept. 29-Oct. 1. Talk to security experts and view the latest in self-storage security technology. View the complete agenda and register here.

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