April 22, 2011

Storage Burglars (followed by their arrests) on the Rise

You may have caught me (no pun intended) on WOWT's Burglaries & Break-ins on the 14th regarding the break-ins at a Dino's Storage at the end of March. The story is called, "A couple who steals together is arrested together". A man rented a storage unit under a stolen identity and instead of moving his items in that evening, he moved someone else's out. The occurrence of break-ins has increased dramatically over the last two years in the storage industry. Facilities that never had the problem, suddenly were being hit as well. There are several things storage companies and customers can do to prevent the crimes and reduce the damage when the crime does occur.

  1. The customer needs to protect their unit with a cylinder disc lock, not a pad lock. Cylinder disc locks are virtually impossible to break off with bolt cutters. Disc locks require grinders and are too time-consuming for thieves to hassle with. The price difference is minimal: $4 at our sites.
  2. The renter should make sure their homeowners or renter’s insurance covers items off-premise of their residence. If it does not, or they do not have insurance, purchase storage insurance from the facility they rent their storage unit from. If the facility does not offer storage insurance, they should not entrust their items at that location. No storage company is going to cover loss or damages to the stored items.
  3. Once you have rented a storage unit, visit it often to make sure the items are still there, untouched, and in their normal condition.
  4. The self-storage company should have cameras around the facility, especially at all exits and entrances. We focus our cameras on these places instead of on units.
  5. Limit who enters the property and find out who is entering the property by having coded access. Each customer has their own five digit code. The software will tell us what code, whose code, the date and time, and what door or gate was used with that code.
  6. The manager should pay attention to who is visiting and when.
  7. The property manager should walk their property daily to spot problems immediately.
  8. Businesses should encourage the police to drive through their property frequently, train the drug detection dogs there, and have drug dogs investigate near suspicious areas.
  9. Require a government issued ID at the time of signing. No ID, no lease.
  10. Don't give your code out to anyone you wouldn't give your SSN to.

The three most recent set of break-ins (3 different Dino's facilities) have all been captured on video and all perpetrators and their co-conspirators have been arrested. This can't be a coincidence. Sonny Joynes and Tamara Kulm, the thieves featured on TV last week, had broken into at least two other NON Dino's storage facilities prior to setting foot on our property and were not caught. I can't speak for the other facilities and I can't tell you what kind of gates, fences, cameras, etc, they have. However, what I can say is that Dino's has upped their game and thieves should take note and learn from those who came before them. As a customer, you can protect your items when you aren't there by carefully choosing where you rent from, keeping your code a secret, and putting a disc lock on your door. If we all do our part, there won't be opportunity for the bad guys.

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