Recently, self storage has been in the New York local news in Onondaga and Oswego Counties regarding the arrest of a group of criminals who lead a string of robberies in nearly 100 storage units in 2009.
Police departments from several cities worked together to bring the ban of 3 burglars to justice. The criminals will now face serious charges in the many cities where robberies occurred, including Syracuse, NY.
The news of robberies in the self storage industry is few and far between, but never reassuring for current or would be renters. If you are currently renting storage or think you may need storage there are several steps you can take to protect your belongings and ward off theft.
First, you should select a self storage property with the utmost discernment. Price is usually the first thing to pop into a person’s mind when they begin to consider renting storage, but they will quickly realize that no space is worth their money if it is not secure.
For this reason, you should compare the security features at self storage facilities in your local area. If you are storing valuable or sentimental items, then it is worth a few extra dollars each month to place your items in a well monitored and secure location.
Here are some of the features you should look for to find a safe storage facility.
Fencing – The property should be completely fenced with a quality, high end security fence. The exception to this rule may be storage facilities in the city that offer all indoor units. If there are no exterior units, then the building itself will serve as a barrier to outsiders gaining access to the property.
Access Controlled Gate – This ties in to the fencing mentioned above. Once a property is secured by a fence, the entrance needs to be secured and limited so that only tenants can enter the property. In the storage industry, this is referred to as an ‘access controlled gate’. Again, if the property has all interior units, a gate may not be necessary. In this case, access to the building should be restricted by the office manager so that only tenants can enter. In either case, tenants should be given a PIN number unique to their account in order to gain access to the property.
By assigning individual PINs, the property manager will be able to review a log of who entered the property at what time, should there ever be a need to narrow down this information.
Video Surveillance – When you speak to the property manager, ask them if they use cameras to record activity on the property. You must be careful here to discern between inadequate and adequate surveillance. If the only camera is at the entrance of the property, this may not serve well enough in the event of accident or theft on the property.
The most secure storage facilities will use a combination of visible and hidden cameras. The visible surveillance will act as a deterrent for would be criminals and the hidden cameras will capture any suspicious activity.
Beyond finding the right facility to keep your items safe, there is another way to protect yourself against monetary loss. Many self storage companies offer supplemental insurance policies or premium lease options that will safeguard the loss of your items against negligence or theft.
Before you take out an extra insurance policy, be sure to read the fine print and see if there are any restrictions on what items may be covered or limits to the amount of coverage. If you are storing items of higher value, there are typically extended policies you can take out to cover the value of your items.
Fine print in the lease agreement may also restrict the items you can store so be sure to follow the guidelines of the lease. It may seem like a hassle, reading the fine print, but knowing the rules will prevent denied claims, should you have the need to make one.
Following all these steps is the best way to prevent any loss but really the self storage industry is a very safe and dependable place to store your keepsakes. Once you choose a storage facility that applies these security features you can rest assured your items will be safe.
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