Increasingly, city governments and neighborhood associations restrict parking RVs and boats. Consumers often turn to the nearest self-storage facility for help during these in-between times.
Light the Way
Lighting is a key component of security. Criminals are more likely to target a facility with insufficient lighting. Although the monthly energy costs for better lighting will be higher, it is worth it to help cameras capture nighttime views. Plus, effective lighting reduces the chance of vandalism.
Access-control devices help manage the property and give you several customer-friendly options. An adequate system that automates the authorization and entry process will significantly reduce crime. Security needs to be included early in the planning stage of a new facility, but upgrades can easily be added to older facilities.
A system with keypad or customer-card entry assures only authorized people can enter the property. Devices should be mounted on a high-low stand at a convenient level for large motor homes and longer-based towing vehicles. Radio frequency transmitters and long-range reading proximity tag readers are an added bonus for frequent customers and make entry and exit easy and convenient.
Let Your Gate Regulate
Unauthorized visitors can try to tailgate a legitimate customer through the entry. Anti-tailgating measures are readily available on the gate operator by including a “quick-close” option. Infrared beams set in pairs at two different heights will deter fence jumpers. The intrusion alert can either make noise that scares intruders away, or can be connected to an alarm company.
Individual Unit Alarms
For facilities with enclosed drive-in units or associated self-storage units, an individual unit door alarm—either hard-wired or wireless—increases the customer’s sense of security. The wireless version can be a relatively easy retrofit for most existing facilities.
When used in conjunction with an access-control system, individual unit alarms will only disarm when the proper code is entered on the gate keypad. Unit alarms will then re-arm when the tenant leaves the property. Any other attempted entry will cause an alarm. Similar to the infrared intrusion devices, an alarm can simply be local to the property, or it can be connected to a service for external monitoring.
The Camera Sees All
In large outdoor storage areas, high-mounted cameras provide a bird’s-eye view of the entire site and, with proper lighting, can record almost all movement on the property 24 hours a day. Cameras should be visible to tenants and passers-by, including potential criminals.
Use enough cameras to blanket your property. And be sure you have adequate coverage around gates, which are often problem sites.
Some cameras are set to capture vehicle licenses when entering or exiting the property. Though not the primary reason for a closed-circuit TV (CCTV) surveillance system, license-plate recording is an excellent side benefit. Drive lanes are often the site of accidents, and cameras give facility owners data in the event of a damage claim.
With sufficient CCTV cameras in strategic places, you can offer a service on your website that allows your customers to view their property.
The heart of any system with security cameras is the recording device. Digital video recorders (DVRs) offer high-quality recording and ample image storage on your computer. What you pay for is the quality in the image processing and the amount of storage. Better processing can cost more, but pays off when you need images for an insurance claim or evidence of a crime. Many DVRs will easily store up to 60 days of images.
DVRs make reviewing the stored images quick and easy. Some even offer the convenience of searching with an integrated system. The access-control system information is matched in a searchable database with captured images. For example, a code number entered at the entry gate is automatically associated with the image of the vehicle captured by the gate camera. A review can be selected based on the time and date, unit number, code number or other pieces of the access-control system information.
Security features give storage owners more peace of mind, and tenants a feeling their property is protected. It’s a valuable marketing tool that makes customers feel good about storing their toys during those in-between times.
Steve Cooper is part of the marketing team for Chamberlain Access Solutions, the recent amalgamation of PTI Integrated Systems, Digitech International and Chamberlain Telephone Entry Systems. The company provides access-control and security solutions worldwide. For more information, call 800.523.9504; visit www.digitech-intl.com.