One of our national clients, StorageMart, experienced a break-in at one of their Kansas City self-storage facilities on Dec. 11. Locks were cut on several storage units that evening. The property manager moved quickly when he discovered the theft the next morning, and brought the police in to collect evidence and security footage.

Perhaps the mystery of what’s behind those rows of self-storage unit doors is too great for some, or maybe the hype around TV shows like Storage Wars motivates thieves to go on a storage treasure hunt.

“Typical break-ins occur when someone is looking for something very specific, such as electronics or valuables that are easy to spot,” StorageMart CMO Tron Jordheim explained. “More often than not, the thief knows of a specific tenant and is looking for that unit, as in an estranged spouse or employer.”

So how can storage tenants protect themselves from theft?

  • Invest in a high-end lock. Disc locks and other quality locks require special tools to cut, plus they create a lot of noise and take longer to cut.
  • Store at a facility with video surveillance. It’s irrefutable evidence when it comes to prosecuting criminals.
  • Make sure the property is secure. Select a storage facility with fencing around the entire perimeter of the property with PIN pad access controls. Quality fencing should be roughly eight feet high.
  • Don’t share your access codes. Your personal PIN code give you access to the storage facility, and storage companies keep a record of PIN code activity for security purposes. If you have shared your code with others or think it may be compromised, contact the property manager and he or she can issue you a new code.
  • Keep it a mystery— don’t announce what antiques or treasures you keep in your storage unit.
  • Valuable items should be hidden from plain sight upon opening your storage unit door, so keep them at the back of the unit or in cardboard moving boxes. Position less exciting items, like file boxes and clothes, near the front, which will discourage thieves from going through all your stuff.