Falling victim to theft or property damage is always devastating. But having your valuables stolen from a self-storage unit can completely affect your peace of mind.
People use self-storage in Toronto for a wide range of reasons. Some want the space to keep their possessions when relocating; others want a convenient place to keep their business inventory; and some simply want the space to declutter their house when downsizing. Whatever your reason, the security and safety of your belongings is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a storage facility.
In the same way that you invest in home security systems and participate in neighbourhood watch programs to keep burglars away, you should also be proactive about theft prevention at your self-storage unit.
Choose a Facility with Multiple Layers of Protection
To safeguard any possessions that you put in storage, reduce the potential cost of replacing damaged or stolen items, and have peace of mind, you should always check and verify the security and safety features provided by your preferred storage facility. Before booking the facility, visit the site and review the indicated security features. Common important security features include video surveillance, electronic key codes for each unit, fence and access control, 24/7 security guards, individual door alarms, and so on.
Access control system
Individual door alarms
Wireless alarm technologies
Proper indoor and outdoor lighting
Quality on-site management
Invest in a strong lock
Keep valuables in hard to reach areas
Established relationship with local police department
Video cameras provide a great way to deter potential burglars who spot them. And even if thieves manage to get past the video surveillance system in place, the facility managers would have the opportunity to either identify the intruders so they can be tracked and arrested, or at least reveal gaps in the security system that need to be addressed.
A good access control system should require each renter to use a unique code, individual security card, or remote to access the facility. This technology offers multiple benefits. It not only gives the facility managers a record of all the people who have accessed the property and the time of entry and exit, but also serves as a deterrent for many potential burglars.
Choosing a unit that comes with a fitted alarm system is one of the best ways to protect your possessions from robbery or theft. The mere presence of the alarm system is likely to deter most prospective robbers from breaking into your unit. Some storage facilities even give renters remote access to their unit’s alarm system via mobile apps, so the user can view the status of the unit and alarm in real-time, anytime, and from anywhere.
Individual door alarms provide an extra layer of security by immediately alerting on-site security personnel or facility managers of an unauthorized attempt to access a specific unit, even if the individual made it past the access control system at the entrance to the facility. This makes individual door alarms a great way to protect against existing customers attempting to steal from other customers’ units.
These come in the form of locks that allow renters and facility managers to prevent access, set access, and discourage tailgating, as well as real-time communication across the storage facility for added security and privacy when accessing your unit. They also constrict the path to your unit to avoid any suspicious activity from other renters roaming around the units. In addition, they ensure that the facility has a high-quality control software and hardware system that is up 24/7 to actively monitor and protect the property.
A quality, well-maintained fence is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep intruders and thieves outside the storage facility. Ideally, the facility should have only one entry and exit point that is well-guarded and/or monitored at all times. Check for features such as vertical pivot gates, swing gates, and slide gates at the entrance, and a quality fence enclosing the entire property.
High quality indoor and outdoor lighting is an important consideration when choosing a facility. Bright lights are important if you need to access your unit at night. They are also a great deterrent for burglars,who prefer to operate in darkness. It’s important that you visit a prospective storage facility at night to check out the kind of security and lighting options available. The indoor and outdoor areas of the facility should be well-lit
While the features and policies for a prospective storage facility may be appealing, there needs to be a good management team in place to implement them strictly. Choose a facility that has a round-the-clock manager to ensure that there’s always someone who’s accountable on the property at any given time. You can also call them to make any inquiries you may have while testing their responsiveness and readiness to assist their clients. Also, make sure to review the rules and policies so you ask the right questions to ensure that all your possessions in storage are safeguarded.
Many facilities allow renters to choose their own unit locks. Circular locks are quite popular, but you should take the time to find a strong lock that can withstand bolt cutters. Avoid buying any locks with a long shackle (the loop that goes through the lock hardware). Cylinder or disc locks are more challenging to cut.
If the items that you put in storage are not of equal value, consider placing the high-value ones in the back of your unit, where they’re more difficult to find and access unless you know exactly where they are. This is a good way to protect your valuables from “crash and grab” type of theft, whereby burglars break into several units and quickly take the most valuable items they can easily reach.
Ask the facility manager about their relationship with the local law enforcement, and how often the police patrol that area. Alternatively, the facility should have their own security guards monitoring movement through the gates and around the facility.
The final step in ensuring the safety and security of your belongings within a self-storage unit is to educate yourself on insurance. Find out the insurance companies that provide coverage for items kept in storage, and check out their policy for things like theft, damage, fires, and other kinds of losses. When seeking compensation, it’s important to have proof of the items in storage, so make sure that all the contents in the unit are well documented with photos. This will also make it easier to keep track of any losses, damage, or intrusion.