Crime Prevention Strategies for Self Storage Operators

As diligently as you work to deter crime, there are no guarantees that you can keep criminals away from your facilities. You certainly don’t have to make it easy for them.

Actually, much of the criminal activity can be traced back to the tenants themselves. Due to the unstable economy brought on by the pandemic, there has been a large spike in break-ins, theft, and vandalism. This increase in the crime rate has compelled operators to refine and readjust their security measures. Here at Pinnacle Storage Properties, we’re proactive in the prevention of any criminal or illegal activity at our facilities.

To discourage crime and illegal activities, you should take a common-sense approach to everything from enhanced technology to updating your everyday operations. Being proactive with your security as well as your business policies can ensure a safe experience for tenants, guests, and employees.

Crime Prevention Strategy Tips 

To protect your facility as much as possible against criminal and illegal activity, we’ve outlined a few steps that you can take now to keep your customers and their belongings safe later.

Perimeter Fencing

Installing a strong fence is a fundamental step toward protecting your facility from criminal activity. The fence you choose will depend on whether you have only conventional units or feature outdoor parking for RVs, boats, and other vehicles. Uncovered vehicles need robust protection because they are more likely to attract theft. Your fence should be attractive, but strong enough to deter crime. There are lots of great options that are both practical and appealing. Check fencing in person and talk to other owners to get their recommendations.

Bright Lighting and Motion Sensors

Bright lighting and motion sensors will make criminals easy to spot on your property. They will be cautious of brightly lit parking and driveway areas where they can be easily seen. Floodlights, area lights, and canopy lights are effective options for your parking lot, driveways, and entry/exit points. There are plenty of lighting options available; but, to save on energy costs and maintenance, use LED bulbs. They may be a bit more expensive, but the savings in both time and money are worth the extra expense.

Security Cameras and Video Monitoring

Cameras remind your tenants that you’re committed to protecting their stored items from criminal activity. They also come in handy when you have a “he-said,” “she-said” battle. You’ll have video to back up your claims in the event of criminal or illegal activity. Homelessness has become a formidable problem across the country; and, unfortunately, storage units attract this population. In the case of the homeless moving into your units, video footage is critical to working with the police to apprehend these people. In any case, managers can review video footage regularly to catch any undesirable activity before it gets out of control. 

Crime Prevention for Self Storage Operators

Electronic Gates

A gate system limits unwanted access and allows for a timestamp on who is entering and exiting your business. There are many types of gates available, from the most basic swing gate to those that can be accessed using Bluetooth technology. In this case, your choice depends on your target market. If you’re located in an affluent area, you may want to invest in a high-tech gate that provides tenants with digital access. If you’re in a more modest market, you can probably make do with a basic gate with an access control keypad. 

Vigilant Staff

It’s important for onsite managers and staff to be vigilant. They should get to know the tenants and greet them at move-in. It’s important to walk the property regularly looking for signs of intrusion or questionable items left outside units. It’s a good idea to check on unusual lights and/or sounds coming from a unit and to monitor surveillance footage on a regular basis. 

Property Maintenance

A clean, well-maintained facility doesn’t attract people of questionable character. Repair driveways and fences, keep the property well-lit at night, and be sure that landscaping and the facade are neat and attractive. A reputable-looking property will make the right impression and should discourage criminal activity.

Advanced Technology

Advanced technology plays an important role in today’s controlled access security options. Storage units with a Bluetooth electronic lock system allow customers to easily access the facility and their unit from any mobile device. Some of these systems allow mobile key sharing where tenants can grant temporary access to their unit, which can be revoked at any time.  An activity log keeps records of when the unit was accessed. The electronic lock systems work with unit alarms that are deactiviated when a renter enters the facility. When the tenant enters his code to leave the site, the unit is re-armed.


Self storage security has come a long way, but so have criminal activities. If you’re building or renovating a facility, you’ll want to be sure that your investment, your tenants, and your employees are protected from theft, vandalism, and any other criminal or illegal exploits. Include state-of-the-art security features in your budget to keep your property running smoothly and free from mishaps.