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Consumers consistently rank security as a top priority when choosing a place to store their belongings, so as a self-storage operator, it’s important to demonstrate your commitment to protecting their goods and physical well-being. There are many aspects to site security, but here are three critical areas on which to focus.

Bill Herzog

August 16, 2023

4 Min Read
Customer Expectations and Self-Storage Site Security

Having the right security measures in place is essential to the success of any self-storage operation. After all, your main purpose is to provide tenants with a safe place to keep their belongings. Customers rank security as a top priority when seeking a place to store, and they’ll pass you buy if they don’t trust that your site will protect their goods.

Fortunately, there are several ways to demonstrate that your facility deters criminal activity while keeping people and units free from harm. There are many aspects to site security, but following are three critical areas on which to focus.

Security Guards

Few strategies illustrate a stronger commitment to the protection of self-storage goods than a strong human presence. Most facilities use physical measures like fencing, door locks and alarms, but nothing deters criminals like having an onsite security guard. A prospective thief or vandal won’t want to risk entering a facility that’s patrolled by a professional. If they do, a security firm can prevent a break-in in real time.

When hiring, make sure the company you choose trains its guards to use de-escalation techniques. The last thing you want is for security personnel to instigate a fight with a potential criminal. Instead, look for providers whose guards will confront suspicious people, keep them calm and not allow them to leave until the police arrive.

Your firm should also be properly licensed in your state. A failing in this regard is a major liability you want to avoid.

Video Cameras

Many self-storage facilities still use outdated CCTV (closed-circuit television) security systems. These simply can’t keep up with the high-tech components on the market today. Installing modern cameras is an easy way to update your security, capture better quality video, and leverage enhanced recording tools to monitor who’s visiting and leaving your property.

High-definition cameras can capture the visual evidence necessary in cases of theft or vandalism, plus they serve as a deterrent for prospective trespassers. Every self-storage property should have a modern camera system in place. Some can even track license plates and facial recognition.

“A smart security-camera system can recognize if the people visiting your property are tenants or not,” says Jason Fischbeck, owner of Automated Environments, an Arizona-based security-system provider. “A camera with license-plate-recording technology is going to make it much easier for you or your managers to know if a person is supposed to be on the premises or not.”

When installing security cameras, avoid those that are only activated by motion, as these will activate in the presence of any movement, for example, a cat jumps the fence or wind moves tree branches. These incidents will be recorded and take up digital storage space on your server. On the other hand, cameras with night-vision capabilities are a must, as that’s when most criminal activity occurs.

Also, install hardwired cameras rather than those that rely on a WiFi signal. You don’t want to lose coverage due to a spotty internet connection or outage.

Cameras should be installed in high-traffic areas like doorways and walkways. In addition, place them so they’re looking at storage-unit doors as well as all entrances and any dark areas. Tenant privacy is important, though, so never install cameras inside a unit or looking directly into one.

Data Protection

All businesses, including self-storage operations, have sensitive documents they must protect, for example tenant rental agreements, employee records, and tax data. If stolen, this information could put your customers, staff and business at risk. You must have strategies in place to keep this data safe and secure.

One solution is to store any physical paperwork in a high-security area, according to Jerry Dilk, senior consultant for Data Storage Centers, an Arizona-based document-storage provider. “You never want to put sensitive information in a storage unit,” says Dilk. “You always want to keep documents of this nature in a secure room with proper monitoring. That means you create a system allowing you to see who and when someone enters and leaves the room, as well as what information they looked at.”

Create a process to determine which documents should be stored, when and how, as well as how they get removed. Keep a list that clearly states how long each document must be kept in storage and when it’s legal for it to be destroyed. When it comes time for disposal, use a professional document-destruction or shredding company.

A Holistic Approach

Your self-storage tenants’ property and information is only as safe as the security you provide. Take the time to create a plan that integrates a licensed security guard with modern camera technology and data protection. Shoring up these areas of your business will show customers you take security seriously and make them feel safe when using your facility to store their goods.

Bill Herzog is CEO of LionHeart Security Services, a Tempe, Arizona-based provider of security solutions for commercial and residential properties. He has more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement and the commercial-security industry. For more information, call 480.405.3101.

About the Author(s)

Bill Herzog

CEO, LionHeart Security Services

Bill Herzog is CEO of LionHeart Security Services, a Tempe, Arizona-based provider of security solutions for commercial and residential properties. He has more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement and the commercial-security industry. For more information, call 480.405.3101.

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