After taking the time to choose a great self storage unit facility and move all of your things, the last thing you probably want to deal with is a burglary. Unfortunately, storage theft does happen—even at the best facilities. For example, thieves cut the locks off of a staggering 37 storage units at a Pennsylvania storage facility in October of 2015—stealing contents and leaving the owners reeling. Fortunately, you might be able to keep your things safe without spending a lot of money. Here are two cost effective ways to protect your storage unit:
1: Be Choosy About Your Storage Unit Location
If you are like most people, you might feel like the search is over as soon as you find a nice storage facility. Unfortunately, finding a great business is only one facet of protecting your stored goods. Instead of simply moving your things into the first unit the front desk manager suggests, it is smart to carefully consider the location of the available units. As you check out different storage units, pay attention to these things:
- Lighting: When you shop for a storage unit, try to go at night when the facility lighting will be on. Look for a unit in a well-lit area, preferably directly under a streetlamp. In addition to making theft more visible, a well-lit unit might make it easier to see your hasp, lock, and unit contents if you have to visit your space at night.
- Foot and Vehicle Traffic: If you have time, stand in front of potential spaces for awhile to monitor the foot and vehicle traffic in the area. Although it might seem inconvenient to rent a space near a main roadway or sidewalk, those passing cars and pedestrians might scare off criminals.
- View Of The Office: Storage managers are constantly monitoring facilities for security risks, which is why a view of the front office is ideal. To figure out which units are visible, try to choose a unit based on your view out of the office window. That way, storage managers might keep an eye on your space while you are away.
If your storage facility doesn't have a unit available with an ideal location, ask managers if existing tenants are moving out soon. Some places require tenants to fill out vacating paperwork so that managers have an idea of future availability. Some facilities even have waiting lists for particular units, which makes it possible to select your unit completely based off of location—as long as you are willing to wait.
2: Buy The Right Lock
Forget about rummaging around your junk drawer for a storage unit lock. Believe it or not, storage locks are not created equally, and some versions are far superior to others. For example, lightweight padlocks with long, exposed shackles are easy to cut off with bolt-cutters, and using one might make your storage locker a target.
Instead, opt for a heavy-duty, industrial-grade lock made specifically for storage lockers. If the storage facility allows you to alter the door, consider installing a cylindrical lock, which are mounted inside of the door, much like your home deadbolt. These locks contain complicated pin-tumbler mechanisms, which make them difficult to pick. Also, since they don't contain exterior hardware, they can't be cut off like traditional padlocks.
If you don't have the time to install a cylinder lock, consider buying a disc lock. Don't let the sleek look of these locks deceive you—they are incredibly sturdy. The smooth, exterior shell is designed to be difficult to grip with bolt cutters, and the shackle is almost completely hidden—making it nearly impossible to remove without a professional grinder. To top it off, disc locks typically cost under $50, which is a small price to pay for a heavy dose of storage unit security.
By taking storage security seriously, you might be able to fend off thefts and extra expenses.