Self-storage facilities are often the target of theft because criminals know that behind those unit doors could be items of value. Thankfully, the industry has many tried-and-true ways to keep sites secure, from controlled access and alarms to perimeter fencing and security cameras.
These physical measures are a must, but ultimately, security is about people. From the owners who set the property infrastructure to facility employees who follow best practices, everyone has a role to play. Even your tenants need to participate. It’s a true team effort!
Following is a guide to the responsibilities of each stakeholder when it comes to keeping threats at bay. Working together, they can minimize the chances of a storage facility falling victim to crime.
The responsibility for keeping a self-storage facility secure first rests in the hands of ownership. They must understand and assess potential threats, invest in the best security, keep staff trained and informed, and keep the property well-maintained. Investment in the latest technology is really a critical aspect. Fortunately, there’s are lots of tools available, including lighting, cut-resistant fending, motion sensors, modern surveillance cameras, unit alarms, electronic door locks and more.
Owners should bear in mind that employees and tenants themselves could present a security threat. Either could use their position to steal from the property. In the case of renters, they could be storing hazardous, prohibited items or even living in their unit. This is why it’s important that all staff and tenants be properly screened. There are many companies available to perform background checks, which should uncover indicators of criminal or other poor behavior. Of course, everyone’s personal information should always be protected!
It’s critical that self-storage employees follow facility protocols and always remain vigilant. They should check entrances and exits regularly, monitor customer and visitor behavior on surveillance cameras, and engage with tenants.
It’s also important that they adopt a true customer-service ethic. Everything they do should be designed to create the best possible experience for renters. That means building a relationship with them to create a bond of trust. This ensures everyone is looking out for each other, and customers feel comfortable reporting incidents and potential threats to staff.
Self-storage security is a joint endeavor, and even your customers must play their part. They need to be sensible, follow best practices and abide by site rules. It’s vital that they contribute to keeping their belongings safe, working with staff and owners so nothing slips through the net. For instance:
- Under no circumstances should they give out their keys or access codes, even to a trusted confidant. There’s no guarantee that even a close friend or family member won’t accidentally let a passcode slip within earshot of an opportunistic criminal.
- It’s important for customers to keep an accurate inventory of their items, so they know when something goes missing. They should also avoid storing anything that isn’t covered by their tenant-insurance or tenant-protection plan.
- Finally, tenants should know when and to whom to report suspicious behavior in and around the facility.
When it comes to keeping storage facilities safe, it really is a team effort. Owners, employees and tenants all need to know their roles. More important, they need to trust one another. In this case, first impressions are key. If new customers see a facility is well-maintained, they’ll implicitly believe it to be safe. Plus, if they follow the rules, facility operators will have one less thing to worry about!
Olaf Jensen is the copywriter for IFSEC Global, an annual trade fair and conference for the global security industry. A graduate of the University of York, he has been writing blogs, articles and editorials on security issues for two years.