Don’t Be a Victim of Storage Unit Theft
Are you one of the 11 million Americans renting a storage unit?
While storage units are a useful way to declutter your home and store items while you move, they are becoming a popular target for theft.
Thieves often target storage facilities because they provide them easy access to hundreds of items in one location.
Plus, many of these facilities are not adequately secured, allowing thieves to easily slip in and out unnoticed.
Here are six tips to protect your valuables!
1. Choose the Right Facility
The storage facility down the street may be convenient, but is it secure?
Look closely at a facility’s security features before you rent. Take a tour and prepare questions in advance to ask the owner.
Qualities of a secure facility include:
- Restricted access to the facility. Some facilities use access control features such as coded keypads to allow only authorized individuals to enter. At the bare minimum, a facility should have a fence around it.
- 24-hour video surveillance.
- Alarm system to alert the authorities to break-ins
- Well-maintained grounds and buildings. The units should be free of critters and temperature controlled to ensure your items are protected.
2. Create an Inventory
What’s going inside your unit? You may have a hard time determining if thieves took your valuables if you don’t know what you had in storage in the first place!
If you’re in the middle of a move, it may seem too time-consuming to inventory every item.
But inventorying your items doesn’t have to be complicated and overwhelming. Simply take a picture of each item as you pack it.
3. Know the Facility’s Policies
Make sure you understand the facility’s policies regarding losses before renting a unit.
How will they handle fire, theft, or damage to items? To be on the safe side, make sure to insure your valuables.
4. Think About Item Location
Place your most valuable items in the back of the unit to protect them from “crash and grab” thefts, where thieves break into several units and grab anything that looks valuable.
5. Choose a Secure Lock
Most facilities allow you to choose your unit’s lock.
Lock suggestions include:
- Purchase a disc lock or a cylinder-type lock without an exposed hasp.
- Avoid locks with long shackles that thieves can cut with a tool.
- Make sure no one has access to the key. Keys can be lost or duplicated easily.
6. Think About Your Personal Documents
You may lose valuables if thieves break into your unit, but you may also run the risk of having your identity stolen.
Be careful when storing documents that contain personal information such as your social security number, address, birthdate, and details regarding financial accounts.
Consider storing some of these documents in a safe deposit box at a bank, or shredding those that are no longer needed.