How to Protect Your Storage Items From Theft

By Molly Hammond,

When storing items of monetary or sentimental value in a self storage unit—such as a car or motorcycle, electronic devices, or family heirlooms—you want to know these items are safe from theft. Although theft isn’t extremely common at storage facilities, it’s always a possibility, one that you don’t want to ignore.

Rather than fretting over the possibility of theft, though, seek out a storage facility that offers additional storage security beyond a simple lock on your unit’s door. All facility operators work hard to ensure their tenants feel confident about leaving their items behind, but facilities that implement more advanced security go the extra mile.

Understanding What’s Offered

If security is a top priority for you, don’t settle for a facility that offers a simple padlock. There are a number of security measures that can protect your items. Here are some of the most common features storage facilities advertise:

  • On-Site or Resident Manager: Most storage facilities will have management on the premises during business hours to oversee who’s coming and going. But some facilities will provide even more security by having a manager around 24 hours; sometimes, that manager may even live on the facility grounds. If you’re looking for more security, a self storage facility with on-site management (also called “on-duty management”) or a resident manager is worth checking out.
  • Access Codes and Restricted Access: With gated access, there’s only one way in and one way out at a storage facility. Usually, this requires a keycard or code to get in. It’s a great feature to have if you’re worried about theft since it means only storage tenants can access the grounds. However, some facilities take it a step farther with restricted access. This means tenants only have access to the floor or wing where their unit is located. If you’re concerned about other storage tenants around your unit, restricted access should give you more peace of mind.
  • Video Surveillance: A typical facility will have cameras near entrances and exits, but if cameras are a deterrent you’re particularly fond of, seeking out a facility that has video surveillance around the whole facility (including on individual units) should make you more comfortable. Most thieves are spooked by the mere presence of cameras, and if the surveillance is good, anything that does go wrong will certainly be captured.
  • Alarmed Units: If a padlock or combination lock doesn’t completely quiet your fears, an alarmed unit should do the trick. With an alarmed unit, should anyone try to break in and steal items, an alarm will sound that will alert the facility manager. Though you’ll likely have to pay a bit more for this kind of unit, it’s certainly an effective security measure.

Be Sure to Ask Questions

You should feel comfortable about the place you choose to store your belongings. Feel free to ask facility managers how their security systems have fared in the past, whether or not they have a relationship with the local police department, and their history of incidents. This kind of research should leave you feeling great about a facility. If it doesn’t, keep looking! Find a storage facility where your items will be just as safe as they would be at home.