Student Safety Considerations
People who rent a self storage space need to have confidence that, not only will their belongings be safe, but also that they will be secure while at the facility. Perhaps the time has come to send your daughter off to college. She has loaded her car with far more than will fit into the tiny dorm room she will share with her new college roommate. The two of you have come to an agreement. She can bring her stuffed animal collection and the stack of books and high school notes that she insists will help her in college, but she must rent a small self storage unit so that her stuff does not spill into her dorm partner's side of the room and cause tension between the girls. How do you find a self storage unit that will, not only protect her belongings, but also will be safe for her to visit, even if she decides she has to make a midnight run to get that dictionary she forgot in the bottom of a box?
- As you narrow down your list of potential storage sites, learn about the neighborhood. If possible, make a visit before renting. Check out crime statistics in the neighborhood, possibly online. You could also call the local police department to see if that area has many assaults or thefts and if that facility has had more problems than it should.
- Check for adequate lighting inside the facility and externally. Ask management if lights are on whenever it is dark or if they are motion sensitive and if hall lights must be turned on when entering the facility. Try visiting at dusk to see for yourself if the unit you are looking into renting will be adequately lit. Will you have to walk down dark alleys or around shadowy corners? Is your unit against a wall that could be scaled by a thief?
- See if the facility is protected by a fence. Make sure it is in good shape, sturdy and tall enough to discourage intruders. Look for trees on the exterior of the fence that someone could climb and use as a means of entry. Look out for plants that could attract vermin or small animals, or hedges where an assailant could hide.
- Find out how the company limits access after hours. Often facilities will have a gated entry that requires the use of key card or code.
- Find out if the company utilizes security cameras. Ask how many cameras are used and where they are at. Find out how they are protected from disruption or breakage. Are the cameras monitored constantly or are they only reviewed after someone has a problem? Make sure the tapes or digital recordings are saved in case your unit is robbed between visits.
- Know what hours the facility is open to the public and what hours access is limited. Find out if management stays onsite only during office hours or at all times.
- Ask if the company employs security guards, how they are trained and if the company does background checks. Do guards or management seem active when you visit, or are they asleep or busy talking to friends without keeping their eyes on what is happening around them? Does security make rounds, guard only doors or escort guests to their units after hours? Will they walk your daughter to her car?
- Try to choose a centrally located storage unit on a main floor that sets in a well lit area near parking.
- Once your child has chosen a self storage unit, insist that she visit it with a friend.
- Teach her to let someone responsible, like one of her dorm's resident assistants, know where she is going when she visits the unit, especially at night, and when she should be back.
- Ask that she keep her cell phone with her, charged. It may even be a good idea to talk to someone on that phone as she rummages through her belongings and walks to and from the car. This may discourage potential threats or allow her to alert someone immediately if she has a problem. Even while talking on the phone, she should keep her eyes open and avoid strangers and darkened areas.
- In addition to a cell phone, she may want to bring mace and a flashlight to illuminate dark corners. A sturdy steel flashlight could double as a weapon.
- Standard precautions should not be forgotten whether the unit belongs to your daughter or to you. Park in a well lit area. Keep car doors locked. Check seats before getting in to make sure no one is hiding inside. Keep keys out and ready so that you can get in the car as quickly as possible. Once inside, lock the doors immediately.
The advice on this website is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only. "Storage Tips" are offered as-is and no warranty is expressed or implied. For more information, see StorageFront's Terms and Conditions.