Inside Self-Storage

MAY 2019

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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Page 21 of 47

"Police seek three people accused of burglarizing 12 storage units last month." "Storage crime spree reveals weaknesses in property storage security." "Police find locks removed from five self-storage units." T hese are the types of headlines with which you never want your storage business to be associated. Because once the news gets out that your property isn't secure, customers won't trust you to store their belongings anymore. To stave off incidents like these, you must institute extensive, systematic crime prevention. Unfortunately, our industry can be a target for many offenders. Incidents include burglary, vandalism, the storage and manufacture of drugs, the storage of stolen or illegal merchandise, identity theft, and others—even crimes as lurid as kidnapping and prostitution. They're committed by a wide range of individuals, from professional thieves to customers and the people with whom they've shared access. It's up to you, the facility operator, to establish security measures that prevent and minimize criminal activity. Security Assessment The first step is to do an assessment of the security you already have in place. Consider: • Fencing: Walk around your property and examine the fence. Is it in good shape or are there bent poles, compromised mesh or rust? Any damage should be f xed. • Lighting: Do your lights cover all areas of the property or are there dark spots where criminals can gain access without being noticed? If so, consider additional lighting. • Locks: Do you use cylinder locks on your units? If not, consider them, as they're much more secure than padlocks or disc locks. • Keypads: If your property has basic, low-tech keypad entry, it may be time to upgrade to a more integrated access system that can communicate with your management software. • Video cameras: Consider upgrading to a digital-surveillance system that's high- def nition or Internet-protocol-based. This will give you higher image resolution and allow for cloud storage. Your Role in Reducing Crime You may have heard of the "broken- windows theory." It's the idea that criminals are more likely to target a business that displays signs of disorder or disregard. Things like trash, graffiti, bent fencing, broken lights are signals that the property isn't being properly cared for or watched. This is why it's imperative to do frequent, consistent walk-throughs of your entire property. This can be done while performing lock checks. Look for anything that's out of place. Trash and tenant debris should be discarded. Access points should be checked to ensure proper function. Vandalism needs to be cleaned or repaired as soon as possible. You can also prevent crime by communicating with new and existing customers. When giving a prospect a tour, point out the security you have in place and mention how active you are in patrolling the property. If you have a relationship with local law enforcement, bring it up. If the customer is renting the unit to gain access to the facility and commit a crime, you may have given him reason to think twice. Measures to avoid being a target By Derek Hines A Crime-Prevention Plan • Arson • Burglary or robbery • Vandalism • Assault • Abduction • Suicide What Could Happen on a Storage Property? • Drug manufacture or use • People living in units • Fraud • Cyberattack • Storage of stolen/illegal goods • Storage of hazardous waste 20 ISS I May 2019

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