The self-storage industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States, and its sustained success has garnered increased attention. Unfortunately, not all of it has been positive. Criminals are increasingly targeting self-storage units with a variety of attacks, from arson to vandalism to theft. Not only do these types of incidents take a toll on your bottom line, they can negatively impact your reputation and your ability to attract and retain customers.
Today’s criminals are more sophisticated than ever. In many cases, basic deterrents such as analog CCTV systems and record-and-store video cameras are no longer effective in keeping your self-storage facility and customers’ property safe. Let’s look at five common challenges operators face around the use of video cameras and how to overcome them.
A camera is only as good as its picture quality. The images captured by even the most advanced analog CCTV monitors are blurry and grainy at best. Moreover, if the object is moving quickly or the environment is dark, you might not depict anything clearly. The reason is the underlying technology is outdated and distorts the captured images. Ultimately, you’ll have a hard time identifying the details that would help solve a crime such as license-plate numbers, a criminal’s identifying characteristics, etc.
IP (Internet Protocol) cameras have a much better picture quality than analog CCTV. They capture high-definition, digital images that are crisp, clear and conclusive, even if the subject is moving. The standard for the last year is 1080p resolution, which is a major improvement over CCTV. This year, we expect many video-surveillance systems to move to 4K resolution, which will provide even clearer, larger images for more accurate crime detection. These cameras also cover a larger area, which means fewer are needed.
Unsecure Surveillance Data
Most CCTV and record-and-store video systems store captured recordings on-premises. This is problematic because if a criminal breaks into your self-storage facility, he can also find your video system and tamper with or delete footage to erase any evidence that would implicate him in the misconduct.
IP cameras are Internet-enabled, so they can record and store data on the cloud. They digitize your videos and use a WiFi or hard-wired web connection to transmit them online, enabling you to view them in a browser. This means you can always access the footage you need, from anywhere. Plus, you never need to worry about running out of storage space.
With older video-surveillance systems, there’s no easy way to monitor camera health. You may not even notice if there’s a connection issue or video-feed malfunction until there’s an incident and you try to access the footage. At that point, it’s too late.
Digital security systems with IP cameras include health-monitoring capabilities, which actively check the status of your equipment to ensure everything is always functioning properly. If a system goes offline or another issue arises, it’ll alert you, so you can remediate the problem as quickly as possible.
Zero Prevention Capability
Companies using CCTV and record-and-store cameras follow a reactive security model. You analyze video footage after a crime has been committed to see what evidence you can gather. In other words, it does nothing to prevent the crime from happening in the first place.
A remote video-monitoring service combines digital video-surveillance systems powered by artificial intelligence (AI) with trained security professionals who can identify suspicious activity. This means crime can be detected and stopped as it’s happening, making your security proactive rather than reactions. This year, we expect AI to help us take security one step further to predictive deterrence—stopping a crime before it happens—using a pre-defined set of criteria.
Lack of Deterrents
We just discussed the fact that record-and-store camera systems only help you solve a crime after an incident has occurred. They don’t do much to prevent a crime. A big reason for this is they lack a deterrent, so there’s no way to scare off criminals.
Digital video-surveillance systems come equipped with audiovisual deterrents, such as strobe lights, sirens and pre-recorded messages, which are triggered when the system identifies a threat. Most of the time, these are all it takes to scare off intruders and prevent crime.
There’s no time like the present to make a change and take a proactive security posture. Remember, you aren’t only storing property for your customers, you’re responsible for protecting it. There’s no better way to do that than by upgrading from an outdated, reactive camera system to a modern, digital system that can deter crime and better protect your business and customers. Being able to promote 24/7 active security monitoring and deterrence can be a competitive advantage in a growing self-storage market.
Jeremy White founded Pro-Vigil in 2006 and helped pioneer the remote-video-monitoring industry. His entrepreneurial spirit and leadership style has been key in the success of the company and the industry as a whole. For more information, call 877.538.5566; email [email protected].