by Joel Blain, guest contributor
In today’s tech-savvy world, the primary technologies used for self-storage security are CTV cameras and various forms of door alarms. Most modern storage facilities cannot forgo these types of controls, yet in reality, they have little real impact other than as a deterrent to would-be criminals.
Most storage facilities, including my Toronto location, secure units with a variety of padlocks. The customer is offered a selection of various locks at the counter, and some provide their own locks. The majority of units have contents that are low in value, as anyone who has been in this business for any length of time is aware. Units are typically filled with old couches, beds and personal effects that have little value to anyone but the owner. Because of this, tenants usually opt for the least expensive padlock available.
This creates a problem for the storage operator. In some cases, thieves come on to the property with bolt cutters at night. They easily cut the locks and pull unit contents out onto the driveway, looking for something of value. Although little is actually stolen in the end, the unsettling disruption to tenants and the store management time involved is considerable. Much of the contents left out in the driveway get mixed up, so all of the tenants affected must be notified.
The solution is simple but effective: Change your policy from selling locks to giving a free cladded disc lock to each new tenant. Make it mandatory that every tenant use these to secure their units. Bury the cost of the lock in your setup fee. These locks are not susceptible to bolt cutters, but due to their nominally higher cost, customers rarely purchase them.
One word of caution when choosing your facility-wide disc lock of choice— look for a lock with a five-pin tumbler, as the three-pin variety will have keys that can open more than one lock at your facility. Also, if your facility is located in a colder climate area, look for a drain along the bottom of the lock, which will prevent water from accumulating and freezing inside the lock.
This strategy should keep your self-storage business incident-free. Consider it an alternative to the numerous versions of electronic security systems and CTV equipment and recording devices that are a great expense and offer little consistency.
This is a guest blog post by Joel Blain with Storage Toronto. If you’d like to contribute to this blog, send your article topic idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.