Owning a self-storage unit can be a lucrative business. One of every three Americans rents at least one of these units. More than 1.6 billion square feet is devoted to self-storage space across the U.S. Each year these numbers increase.
Self-storage security is the biggest responsibility these business owners face. If you’re in this business, theft and vandalism are a fact of life. Storage units are full of valuable property. If you fail to protect it, your reputation and business could suffer. It’s a huge problem because these units often experience high traffic. They’re vulnerable to anyone with a lock cutter.
Most self-storage owners and managers have security cameras for their units. However, as crime increases all around the country in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s reasonable to want to improve security. The question is—are “dumb” video surveillance cameras that record the criminal behavior enough? Here’s how self-storage security systems have evolved to help make your units safer.
Storage Unit Theft: A Nationwide Problem
Old school padlocks, tall fencing, and self-storage security camera systems that simply record activity aren’t enough anymore. A quick Google search shows that criminals spend hours ripping your customers (and you) off. Why? Because static, passive recording cameras don’t stop crime:
- Bucks County, Pennsylvania, February 2022—A self-storage security system caught a robber targeting dozens of units, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars of goods over an eight-hour spree.
- Columbus, Ohio, December 2021—Two subjects robbed a storage unit, walking away with some heavy work equipment and car parts. The police are still searching.
- Los Angeles, California, August 2021—At least $100,000 of prized sports memorabilia, collectible comic books, and at least 120 shoes were stolen from a couple’s storage unit. Not only did the thieves target the unit once that day, but they also came back and hit it a second time. The couple viewed security footage “from nearby businesses.” No suspects have been identified.
- Hollywood, Florida, September 2021—Three men were captured who targeted 109 storage units for theft and vandalism.
- Los Angeles, California, March 2021—Even famous people aren’t exempt from storage unit theft. More than $1 million in items were stolen from singer Beyonce not once, but twice in March. The crime is still under investigation.
These incidents do more than illustrate how often self-storage security theft occurs. Criminals take their time on these jobs. Why? It’s because the self-storage security systems fail to do anything more than recording their bad behavior. Property crimes are often shunted to the back of an overworked police department’s blotter. So, while recording the criminal act may give us a nice full-color picture of the thief, the chances of apprehending them are slim. What’s the answer?
How to (Really) Stop Criminal Activity at Self-Storage Units
Self-storage security is evolving along with video surveillance technology. The old days of recording-only self-storage security systems are over. Today, modern storage unit video surveillance cameras leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to work smarter. They can connect to the internet wirelessly and ping your smartphone if a particular activity is detected. Plus, self-storage security camera systems can make use of remote monitoring with virtual security guards.
If you have basic CCTV cameras as your self-storage security solutions, they do one thing well: Record criminal activity. But by then the damage is done. We want you to imagine a different scenario that looks something like this:
The criminal slips through or climbs over your perimeter fence. Instead of simply recording the trespasser, your storage unit security camera triggers a loud alarm and flashing lights. The criminal is startled and runs. However, the camera still records their face for the police.
The criminal makes it into your unit, walking up and down the aisles, looking for an easy lock to cut. They don’t realize a virtual security guard is monitoring from a remote bank of video screens. As they reach for their lock cutter or pry bar, the security guard calls 911 for an immediate response.
A truck with an undocumented/unrecognized license plate drives into your 24-hour facility in the early morning hours. Sophisticated AI algorithms detect the intrusion and smart software pings a team member’s cellphone to check things out. They go online to a web portal, pull up the camera view, and see criminal activity. A quick call to 911 and you’ve got the bad guy.
Night vision security cameras clearly detect fence line activity at a dark corner of your property. However, AI algorithms detect that it’s just a stray cat slipping through the fence bars. All the while, you sleep comfortably, knowing that if it were something more serious, your team would be alerted to a problem.
All of these scenarios are possible with today’s self-storage security camera systems. These scenarios are made possible with the following technologies found in an upgraded self-storage security solution:
These are just a few of today’s upgraded technologies for self-storage security. How do these tools benefit your business beyond just catching the bad guy?
Business Benefits of an Upgraded Self-Storage Security Solution
If you upgrade your security cameras for your storage units, you will attract more business. Your customers are savvy enough now that they know to screen for security before selecting a self-storage provider. For business owners of self-storage units, an upgraded video surveillance footprint becomes the sales pitch you need to attract more customers. Today’s self-storage security systems can deliver on that marketing promise. Better security may also pay for itself. If your competitors don’t offer a real-time response to criminal activity, it differentiates your business. An upgrade in self-storage security means higher rental rates per unit and increased revenue per square foot. This, of course, is in addition to the satisfaction that comes from actually catching a criminal before the crime happens.
Are you ready to talk about upgrading the security cameras for your storage unit? Chat with Pro-Vigil today to find out how we can help