Wanted to find out from all of you your take on a security system. Sometimes it's my belief that I could close a rental faster if my facility had security cameras. We are a high visibility location with 2 main roads in an L-shape around the property...but that doesn't necessarily mean we don't need security cameras. I am an off-site manager, we're closed on Sundays....& have less than 300 units.
What do some of you think re: at least having video surveillance?
you could close a sale faster and you could do it with the help of a 'silent salesman' - a monitor behind the front desk where a prospect can see the cameras at work. It won't necessarily matter how many you; it is their presence that tells the prospect that your site values security.
The key value of cameras is as a deterrent. The number that you deploy is less important but key areas usually targeted as good locations are: facility entry/exit, major driveways, doorways of climate-controlled storage (preferably shooting from teh door down the hall), and some folks like a fixed position that captures license plates as vehicles leave. One other spot is a pinhole camera on the entry keypad for a clear shot of each person's face as he/she comes onto the property.
Camera systems are also scalable, meaning you can start with X and, if necessary, add coverage. The typical facility has between 8 and 16, though some have more and some have fewer. A map of your site would be helpful in making a reasonable recommendation as to number and placement.
From a business perspective, any security item really is an investment as opposed to an expense because repeated studies have shown that people will pay more in order to rent at a facility with security as opposed to one without. The key question is how much is enough.
Cameras (and other security measures) work in other ways too,
As a habit when I take perspective customers on a tour I always point out our security. I show them the cameras and the laser alarm system telling them that we live on site and keep a very close eye on everything.
While doing this one day showing two younger gentlemen I could see the expression on their faces change as they were looking back and forth at each other.
After we looked at the first unit they were done and couldn't get back to the office fast enough to get out of there!
We had a good laugh as they sped out of the parking lot!
I wonder which of our competitors rented to them and is now having theft problems?
All arguments can be resolved ... with high explosives and Humor!!!
I know you don't have cameras yet, but this is just a gentle reminder to be careful how you promote your camera systems. Surveillance implies that the camera views are monitored constantly for problems. This can be a trap in the case of an assault on your property, the victim can claim that they stored with your business because you offered security surveillance and you should have been aware of the problem and called police.
I think it is best to stay away from implied monitoring of the cameras. We just state that we have video cameras on the property and let the customers make their own assumptions.
I agree with Storman, but I do show them that the monitor is in the office in direct view of the main desk and tell them that "while we do not watch 24/7 we do keep a close eye on what is going on around the lot"
I also joke with them that sometimes it's pretty good TV as tenants do some funny stuff and we record it all!
All arguments can be resolved ... with high explosives and Humor!!!
Storman hit it on the head. Be careful not to imply "surveillance" as that typically means some guy staring at the monitor all day (and night).
We have about 30 cameras (installed by yours truly) on site. We also have a access control system. The cameras all feed into dvrs and are on display on monitors in the office, along with the site graphics on a large plasma display.
We've had several security guards and police officers admire the security at our facility. I definitely think the cameras are worth it, just like someone said, "silent salesman".
Start out with at least one that covers your entry driveway/gate. This at least becomes your data point for who is coming and going, and how many per day.
After that, areas that aren't visible from the office are prime locations. That way when I walk into my office, I can see that there is a vehicle behind the other building...no issue with discovering someone back there after you're in your gated area and out of sight of passing traffic.
If you're handy with low-voltage cable, it can be a DIY project, at least for the short cable runs. Get a digital recorder, don't bother with a time-lapse VCR (I have one, it's a backup only for the rare occasion every couple years when my DVR needs maintenance and I want to keep recording while I do that).
As others have mentioned, and I think Jeff G. has posted multiple articles on it, any marketing language implying greater security brings with it greater potential liability. I know some well-known lock companies also sell dummy cameras, and there's no way I would ever mount a dummy camera for the same reason...too many people (and their attorneys) out there ready and willing to say "I believed I was protected because I saw that camera mounted up there"
I've always wondered if some of the burglaries around here weren't caused by some tenant's.........they can see my coming and going routine too..........
no need to wonder, a good many problems on facilities ARE caused by tenants. Usually, they are polite, pay on time, and give no bad vibe, sort of like the killer of whom neighbors say afterwards "he was such a quiet guy, seemed very nice".
Not only do tenants learn your routine, over time they get a feel for what units might be worth breaking into and which ones are not. Yes, there are certainly random break-ins and those stories can be found almost daily, but a good many problems are inside jobs.
Are your units individually alarmed? I would prefer individual alarms with a computerized access system LONG before I'd worry about cameras.
We have both, and the individual alarm feature is more of a deterrent than cameras. They know if they open any unit but their own it gets VERY loud, VERY quickly around here. As an offsite manager I would think that would serve you better than a camera system that tells you what happened (maybe) after the fact.
One other thing about cameras--your resolution is not going to be that great with an affordable system. It will not be like you're watching hi-def tv. You'll see people and the color of their clothing for the most part, but don't have the impression that you'll be able to play it back and see faces clearly and identify people. In some cases you might if they're near the camera, but long shots to access gates and such will only tell you a limited amount.