While crime has always been a threat to self-storage owners and managers, it seems the number of robberies, arsons and break-ins has been on the rise over the past year as people struggle for simple survival in today’s economy.
Don’t get me wrong, there have always been plenty of baddies lurking in the shadows looking to make an easy score. But it does seem that people are more willing to dabble in crime today than in the past.
Just in the past few months, ISS has reported on guns stolen from a unit, break-ins, an arson fire to cover up a break-in, robbery at gunpoint and even a police shooting after a facility robbery. It’s a mad, mad world!
Yesterday, I asked Self-Storage Talk forum members if they’re concerned about the increase in self-storage crime and if they’re taking any new precautions. And they most definitely are. Senior member tnsd shared worry over an upcoming auction sale in which at least one customer could be a problem. Another senior member, MusicCity Gal, said eight security cameras have been recently added to her facility.
There are a number of security measures you can take to keep criminals at bay: video surveillance and monitors, digital video recorders, motion-detector lighting, perimeter fencing and security gates, and onsite managers.
But beyond the physical security attributes of a facility, there are also steps managers can take to ensure they won’t become the victim of a crime. Mel Holsinger, president of Professional Self Storage Management, offers up some sound advice in Creating the ‘Illusion’ of Self-Storage Security. Mel tells managers to walk their property every day. Be vigilant. Check locks. Ask tenants questions. Knock on that unit door when it’s only open a foot or so. You’re not being nosy. You’re doing your job—keeping yourself, your customers and their goods safe.
Consider making friends with your local police department. Offer them a unit to store their tactical equipment and let them train at your facility after-hours. Give officers a discount to store their personal items. These guys and gals are trained to spot crime. And let’s not forget, good old-fashioned intuition. If something or someone seems off, it probably is!
Share your thoughts about self-storage crime and the security measures you’re taking by posting a comment below, or join the discussion at Self-Storage Talk.