3 Ways Security Cameras Benefit Your Self-Storage Facility

One self-storage facility owner in Oklahoma experienced over $50K worth of equipment stolen in a matter of five months, according to KOCO news. The worst part is that the thieves executed their plans in broad daylight, despite locks on the gates.

Until he installed multiple security cameras, this Oklahoma businessman was bleeding green dollar bills in the form of ladders, trailers, and even a dump truck. However, his proactive stance seemed to “declare war” on the criminals. Not only did the footage put local authorities hot on the criminals’ trail, but it also safeguarded the self-storage facility for future business.

This particular Oklahoma headline drives home how vulnerable self-storage facilities are without preventive security measures. But here’s how security cameras can change all of that.

1. Deters Thieves

Few criminals are 100 percent fearless, which is good for you. When locks, signs, or even the revealing sunlight doesn’t cut it, it’s time to turn technical. No matter which way you look at it, getting caught doing something wrong is an innate fear inside of most individuals—including thieves. 

By installing security cameras, you trigger that natural fear in what is known as the deterrence effect. Plenty of criminals are terrified of having their guilty mug caught on camera, or at least have enough sense to move on to a target that doesn’t have cameras. This feeling is so intense that most individuals will avoid getting caught rather than going through with the theft.

2. Alerts Authorities

Although the Oklahoma businessman notified local authorities, the police were mostly powerless to locate any thieves with only a missing items report. However, security cameras put a new twist on the situation by offering time, strategy, and the physical demeanor of the criminals. Armed with this information, ending the string of robberies was well within grasp. 

3. Appeals to Customers

Remember, what appeals to customers doesn’t always seem as alluring to criminals. For example, a self-storage facility that markets itself as “equipped with security cameras” won’t look as charming to someone who wants to break into it. 

But for honest customers looking for a safe place to stash their goods, video cameras are an amenity that will make them more likely to rent a storage unit from you. Promoting the fact that you have security cameras installed is a great way to market your facility to security conscious consumers.

Preventing Fires at Self-Storage Facilities

A fire broke out this week at an Aurora, MO self-storage facility resulting in losses for several tenants.

According to KYTV, one tenant reported that they had belongings in a unit for 16 years. Among their possessions was their marriage license, pictures of their daughter and supplies for a home remodel.

While a cause has not official been determined, it is suspected that someone may have been living inside of a unit illegally.

Meanwhile in West Virginia, a woman is suing a self-storage facility after her possessions were destroyed by water used to put out a fire that erupted on the roof.

As these cases demonstrate, fires are a risk that self-storage owners and managers must be vigilant against at all times.

Here are a few ways that you can help prevent fires at your self-storage facility:

1. Watch Out For Squatters

One of the biggest causes of fires at self-storage facilities is from people illegally living in units. Homeless individuals squatting in self-storage units may use candles, propane or kerosene to keep warm, and these of course can easily cause a fire.

Routinely inspect units and check security camera footage to identify any potential stowaways.

2. Prohibit Smoking

Cigarettes are another common cause of fires. Eliminate this risk, and encourage healthy habits, by banning smoking on your premises.

3. Check Smoke Detectors

Be sure to regularly check and test smoke detectors, and replace backup batteries as needed.

4. Install and Maintain Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers should be available throughout your facility in the event that a fire starts. Make sure that fire extinguishers are charged and not expired.

5. Perform a Routine Inspection Everyday

Your management staff should include checking for potential fire hazards among their end of day duties. For example, make sure the trash area is tidy and free of dangerous items like oily rags.

With proper prevention you can greatly reduce the risk of fires at your facility.

6 Ways to Prevent Break-Ins At Your Self-Storage Facility

Break-ins are an unfortunate fact of life, and self-storage facilities are no exception. 

In fact, some thieves operate under the notion that storage units are packed with valuables. More often than not, storage units contain household items of little value. However, it is extremely important that self-storage operators take every reasonable step they can to prevent the facilities they run from being targeted by burglars. 

It is also the responsibility of operators and managers to clearly explain to tenants that the facility is not liable for stolen items. Tenants should be required to obtain insurance coverage to protect the contents of their self-storage unit. 

Even with insurance, dealing with break-ins is never a pleasant experience. Such incidents can harm the reputation of a facility in a local community. Every storage facility should perform an annual security audit to ensure that they are doing everything they can to deter theft.

Here are several things you can do to make your facility a less desirable score for would-be thieves:

1. Install Security Cameras

Security cameras are a strong deterrent that makes thieves think twice about breaking into a facility. Often times self-storage thefts are a crime of opportunity, occasionally perpetrated by tenants themselves. Knowing they are under surveillance greatly reduces the temptation to steal someone else’s property.

Make sure your cameras are placed to cover entry and exit points. Check to make sure that your surveillance cameras are recording and backing up footage in the event of an incident. It may be a few weeks or more before a tenant realizes they have been burgled.

2. Require Disc Locks

Disc locks are the most secure choice for self-storage units. Due to the design, they cannot easily be cut with a pair of bolt cutters like regular padlocks can. While some customers might insist on using their own lock, making everyone comply makes everyone safer overall. 

3. Create a Gated Entry

A gated entry is a must-have for any self-storage facility. Entry is typically controlled by a keypad. Older systems may operate with a single key code, which can quickly be shared. For the best security, you will want to choose a more up to date set up that assigns individual codes to each customer. These will eventually expire when the customer moves, which help keep your facility more secure.

4. Request Patrols

Contact your local police department and request that officers check in on your facility from time to time while out on patrol.  An increased police presence is a surefire way to discourage scofflaws. 

5. Illuminate the Night

A well-lit facility is often the first line of defense. A dark facility creates an opportunity for burglars that can be easily avoided with proper exterior security lighting. Make sure that none of your lights are burned out, and that you have bright lights strategically placed around your facility.

6. Upgrade Your Security Systems

If you are looking to go above and beyond when it comes to self-storage security, there are a number of facility upgrades that you should consider. Everything from individual doors alarms to internal electronic locks that can be opened with a smartphone can be used to prevent storage unit break-ins from occurring. The industry is always innovating to create new security products, so it is a smart idea to see what new tech is available every now and then.