Never Do This With Your Storage Locker, Police Say in New Warning
Officials want you to take extra precautions to keep your belongings safe.
Whether you're in the process of relocating or just need more space at home, chances are you've used a storage locker at some point. According to a March analysis from StorageCafe, people in the U.S. are renting self storage more often now than ever before, with nearly 40 percent of Americans using a storage locker in 2021. The most commonly stored item is furniture, which can be worth a pretty penny, but there could be plenty of big-ticket items stashed away. With that in mind, it's no surprise thieves might be looking to gain access to your storage items, and now, authorities have issued a new warning about keeping your belongings safe. Read on to find out what police say you should never do with your storage locker.
Police have issued a number of warnings about rising theft.
Thieves are always looking for new ways in—which is why police across the country have issued warnings to Americans numerous times already this year.
Back in March, several police departments from Washington to Georgia sounded the alarm on rising gas theft tied to the record-breaking increase in gas prices. Then in July, police in both Texas and Florida issued a warning to the public about a rise in car thefts amid a TikTok trend that showed an easy way to steal certain vehicles. And just this month, authorities urged residents to "be extra cautious" when placing checks in their mailboxes because of an increase in mail theft.
These warnings are designed to help you keep your property safe—but what about the stuff you have stashed away in a storage locker?
Authorities say they're seeing more storage locker thefts.
On Aug. 1, law enforcement with the police department in Ennis, Montana, took to Facebook to warn residents that they have seen an "uptick in theft" in the area—and particularly theft involving storage lockers. They're not the first to report the trend either. In May, the Littleton Police Department in Colorado identified the same issue, local Fox-affiliate KDVR reported at the time.
"We have seen an increase in thefts from storage units," Littleton police spokesperson Sheera Poelman told the news outlet. According to local NBC-affiliate 9News, Littleton Police officers responded to a total of 150 calls concerning storage locker thefts in their area between 2020 and 2022.
"We're just seeing exorbitant numbers," Poelman told 9News. "We pulled all of the crime stats, and there was one particular [storage facility] that had about 90 calls over 2020 to 2022. That was just kind of staggering."
Police urge taking extra precautions.
With the overall rise in storage locker thefts, it's important to know how you might be making yourself more vulnerable. According to the authorities in Ennis, one of the most straightforward rules to follow is never giving your storage key or combination to anyone else. At the same time, they say you should make sure your lock is secure and high quality, as well as check on your unit regularly.
The Littleton Police Department also recommends keeping an updated inventory of items that you have in storage, not storing any items that insurance will not cover if damaged or stolen, and choosing an indoor storage unit if possible, KDVR reported.
You should also be cautious about who you're giving your business.
Individual safety only goes so far when you're storing your belongings in an unsafe storage facility. "Each company chooses different security measures in different ways," Poelman explained to KDVR. According to the Littleton Police spokesperson, officers recommend that customers ask certain questions before choose a storage center to give their business to.
"Ask, do you have video cameras," Poelman suggested. "Do you have folks who walk around to make sure that all the locks are on every single day?"
Other information you should inquire about is whether there are password-protected codes for customers and employees to access gates and doors, sufficient and well-maintained lighting in all areas of the facility, and regular maintenance for structural issues, Littleton Police recommended. "We want to encourage everybody to also, you know, prevent themselves from being a victim, if that's possible," Poelman said.