Thwart thieves this holiday season...and beyond

Thieves are an opportunistic bunch. From recent stories about self-storage facilities being targeted by existing tenants to repeat break-ins, there is no doubt that wrongdoers are looking for vulnerable pickings.

Help your tenants and yourself by beefing up security so that thieves will go elsewhere to do their dirty work.

1. Change perception. First and foremost, thieves hit targets they perceive are easy marks. Because there are many self-storage complexes out there, they typically will move on if they believe your facility is too well-protected.

2. Reinforce individual unit/facility-wide efforts as appropriate where high-value items, such as precious metals, are stored, to further deter thieves from their "quest for the gold." Do everything reasonable to: a) make sure they have put into place adequate security measures; b) counsel about ways they can improve security even more.

3. Stay current on the latest security technologies, and plan for their deployment either as a facility-funded addition or strongly promote their purchase and use by tenants. Options are proliferating quickly. Depending on the sophistication needed and budget available, higher-end wireless door alarms can be installed en masse through a security firm such as QuikStor, which has been in the industry since 1987.

According to the QuikStor website, "Wireless Door Alarm Features...Protecting a vacant or occupied storage unit is fast and simple, about five minutes per door. Our patented wireless door security installs on the outside of each storage unit. Why outside? Because it provides a highly visible crime deterrent, impressive area coverage and makes servicing a breeze...Our compact wireless door sensors are not affected by hurricane rains, abusive environments or corrosive coastal air. 20-year batteries are pre-installed and guaranteed to last for at least 10 years, even when located on the busy front door of your management office...QuikStor wireless door sensors incorporate advanced tamper systems to detect attempts to either open or remove the sensor."

4. Offer lower-cost alternatives to complement security offerings. Suggest that tenants get creative in addition to the entry-way, with a few add-ons inside the unit that create protection redundancy. For example, anyone can purchase inexpensive keypad alarms with multiple protection points at big box stores-generally for about $20-$30.

Tenants can place the keypad inside near the entryway and program it for "away" arming-providing ample time to turn off upon entry. In addition to the primary sensor, which will trigger when the door is opened, place individual wireless sensors at any secondary access points. A would-be thief, even if able somehow to disarm the outside entry unit, will be very unlikely to expect a secondary alarm inside. The decibels of the alarm sounding will hopefully send the thief running the other way quickly.

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