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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O ne of the most important aspects of operating a self-storage facility is keeping people and property safe. Self-storage can be a target for criminal activity. Properties that fall prey to break-ins, vandalism and other incidents will lose credibility, customers and revenue. So, to ward off crime, facility operators employ a wide range of security measures. Let's examine today's must-have components, the latest technology available, how to maintain your system and when to upgrade. The Must-Haves When it comes to safeguarding a storage property, there's no across-the-board approach. "A facility's needs are largely based on size, the area's crime rate, desired rent rate and how tech-savvy your customers are," says John Wollam, owner of Stor-Guard LLC, a provider of self-storage access-control and security products. "A boat-storage facility in a retirement community isn't going to warrant the latest in technology, while a facility in the heart of Seattle will probably want the latest and greatest. Your customers have expectations!" Though every site is different, there are some common components each should have. The first is a solid perimeter. "A good fence that's not easy to climb, along with a gate, is the beginning of security for your facility. Without that, there's nothing to stop criminals from walking onto the site," says Paula Swanson, an inside sales representative for Stor-Guard. She also recommends a motorized gate. "This will remove the need to manually open and close the gate at the beginning and end of every day. The motorized gate allows the facility to be secured between customers, using an access-control system." A staple in the self-storage industry, access control with keypads placed strategically at the entrance and exit allows you to control who's on the property at all times. Keypads come in a variety of styles and prices. Some require users to punch in a code while others use a card or proximity reader. Higher-end models will grant access through a fingerprint or mobile app. "Every self-storage facility needs to control ingress and egress. Access-control systems give you the ability to let the good guys in and keep the bad guys out," says Chadwick Macferran, director of marketing for PTI Security Systems, which provides self-storage security components. Another common device is a self-contained surveillance system. This usually comprises several cameras, a digital video recorder (DVR) or network video recorder (NVR), and display monitors. Cameras have come a long way in recent years and now offer higher resolution and definition, even in low-light conditions. On some systems, you can download an app and review the camera footage in real time via any Internet-connected device. A camera system should be designed specifically for each property's needs and be able to track movement. "Camera coverage is critical to how safe a customer feels about storing his belongings in your facility. If you have an office, it's highly recommended you have monitors showing the surveillance. This will give your customers confidence," Wollam says. "It's also important to have a lengthy recording as problems are not always reported quickly. We recommend a 30-day motion recording." Don't underestimate the importance of lighting in security. Criminals prefer to do their work in the dark. When you light up your site inside and out, you send a clear message that it's off-limits. "Lighting is a great deterrent and helps your tenants feel comfortable when visiting their storage space," says David Essman, director of marketing for Sentinel Security Corp., a provider of self-storage security and software products. Security monitors at Red Way Self-Storage in Redmond, Wash. (Photo courtesy of Stor-Guard LLC) Arming your properties with modern security systems By Amy Campbell 28 ISS I May 2019 www.insideselfstorage.com

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