There are the big things to look for such as;
- Someone living on premises to keep an eye on things even, at times, after hours.
- Gates that work based on requiring a keycode to get in, get out, and recording exactly how long each tenant stays onsite.
- Fortress style construction which creates a perimeter around the whole site with Block walls and security fencing (not chain-link)
- Individual door alarms for every unit so if a door is opened without a code, staff is alerted and knows to check things out.
Then, there are the little things such as:
- Is each individual building panel screwed to the studs in such a manner that the panels cannot be unscrewed, removed, and access gained to an adjacent unit. Look at the screwheads in the unit you intend to rent (no matter the facility). Do some of the screw heads seem to be covered with Epoxy to make them impossible to unscrew? This subtle tidbit of security takes time and costs money. But if you see this detail, you know that ALL other aspects of the facility likely reflect this level of security conscious detail. Additionally, from a safety perspective, are the self-tapping screws covered with screw-caps so that their sharp points will not injure your hands when you brush against them as you move boxes?
- Some facilities place “burglar bars” (thin metal straps, really) 7 or 8 feet above ground level, in order to save a few dollars instead of solid panels up close to the roof. (Panels cannot be run all the way to the roof because some air needs to circulate particularly in climate controlled units). Why do some facilities make it easy for people to peek inside units from the hallway or from neighboring units? It is cheaper for them but it show a of caring about your belongings and your privacy. If you do not see paneling running up near the ceiling, you are not at a facility where the ownership has your best interest at heart.
The SUBTLE details of security matter in self-storage. Look for those details when you shop because if an owner is concentrating on the little things, it is because they have already focused on, and taken care of, the big ones.
No storage is impenetrable, but like the two guys in the woods running from a bear; the one who achieves safety is the one who outruns the other. Look for clues that you are placing your precious belongings with the fastest runner.