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Get on the Crime Watch Circuit

We're just a week away from the best holiday of the year. (Really. I looked it up. It's a scientific fact!) Unfortunately, Halloween also tends to incite mischief in troublemakers of all ages. Last year, on the day after the event, my husband and I awoke to discover some vandals had disassembled our decorative skull fencing in the middle of the night and used it to create a gigantic Swastika on our front lawn. THAT was entertaining.

Storage facilities are frequently the victims of pranks and what-notat any time of year. This is one of the drawbacks of a business that involves low traffic, low activity, low manpower and a lot of privacy. In the upcoming week, I caution storage operators to be extra vigilant. You're not likely to escape every smashed pumpkin or can of Silly String, but with a little extra effort, you should be able to avoid serious damage such as collapsed fences and shrubbery, spray-can art andworsedented doors, cut locks and break-ins.

I'm not trying to be alarmist, just pragmatic. People do strange things when they get in the holiday spirit. (Yes, the pun was intended.) So keep an extra eye on your property if you can. A few extra heads and fingers can be useful too! Heh, heh.

If you do suffer a bit of misfortune in all the frightful frenzy, I hope you live in an area like Chattanooga, Tenn., where crime is not taken lightly. In the past week, I've seen two news releases regarding the community's "Crime Stoppers" program, which is currently making efforts to assist a local storage facility.

On Oct. 1, several units were burlgarized at Mini Max Budget Self Storage. The culprit as well as the make and color of his vehicle were caught on surveillance tape. Now the local news outlets are announcing the information, hoping to get residents involved in the search. It's like neighborhood Crime Watch but on a larger, more organized scale. They're even offering a cash reward. I really applaud the city for its support of small business and its fight on crime. For an industry like self-storage, this kind of grassroots is key.

Can I hear from some storage operators who are making special crime-prevention effortsin general and for next week's holiday? What types of things are you doing to keep the hooligans at bay?

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