Stor365 implements remote monitoring solution to enhance security

Stor365 has stopped crime at its rural facility in Lima, OH with INSOMNIAC® SmartEye after a string of 75 break-ins in 3 months. Now, they’ve rebuilt tenant trust and raised rates with the most secure property in the region.

Self storage facility with live video surveillance

About Stor365

Stor365 is an emerging operator with big growth goals. With two facilities in OH and a third in MI, the company has built their operation on the backbone of technology that lets their properties be managed remotely. The company is leveraging this strategy to keep costs down and grow their portfolio to become a top 100 self storage operator.

  • Founded: 2021
  • Portfolio Size: 3 stores
  • Based: Toledo, OH
  • Interviewed:
    Victor Diaz, Co-Founder/Co-Owner


Use Case: INSOMNIAC SmartEye

After one rural property in Lima, OH experienced 75 break-ins over 3 months, owners and Co-Founders Victor Diaz and Mandy Monson knew they needed to invest in a smarter security solution to save their operation valuable costs from ongoing repairs, lost rent and a damaged reputation. OpenTech Alliance, the PropTech leader in self storage, has helped growing operator Stor365 automate and improve its onsite security monitoring capabilities to create a more secure tenant experience. 

Stor365 Turns to SmartEye After 75 Security Incidents in 3 Months

Stor365 acquired its first facility in October 2021, and quickly grew to add a location in Toledo, OH, and recently opened its third facility in Grande Ledge, MI. The company is building its portfolio on the backbone of technology that lets their properties largely be managed remotely.

“Technology is a huge advantage for our operation,” said Victor Diaz, Co-Owner and Co-Founder of Stor365. “In self storage, your two biggest expenses are property taxes and labor. With remote operations, you can try to cut down on one of them. A big thing for the success of this model was security — and visibility into who’s on our property.”

After a string of costly break-ins revealed major weaknesses in Stor365’s approach to security, they turned to OpenTech for a proactive solution that would help them identify, intercept, and stop intrusions before the damage was done.

INSOMNIAC SmartEye Enhances Remote Monitoring Capabilities for Stor365

When security breaches occur at self storage facilities, they compromise both physical property and tenant trust. Stor365 felt the impact of this breach firsthand when its rural Lima facility became a consistent target for local burglars. In one three-month span, the location experienced 75 individual break-ins, with some tenants hit more than four times. One incident resulted in over 30 units being burgled at once.

Though the location was secured by a fence, access control and security cameras, the thieves found a strategic way around the physical barriers. Taking advantage of the property’s expansive, 15-acre remote location, they cut holes throughout the fence line to force entry as well as provide a place to route the stolen goods off the property.

In response, managers sought to install an alarm system connected to infrared lasers throughout the facility. However, this solution was quickly deemed ineffective due to the number of animals that would roam the property at night and inadvertently trigger the alarm. Stor365 also installed trail cameras to thwart potential thieves. They gave access to their live camera feeds to local authorities and attempted to monitor alarms themselves, but would miss or sleep through activity. Their DIY solutions failed to deter intrusions time and again.

As incidents and associated costs grew, Stor365 owners and tenants became desperate for a solution. And they knew they weren’t alone — eight other properties in the immediate area were being hit just as hard. “We were spending between $700 and $900 a month on fence repairs,” explains Diaz. “We knew we had to figure something out to save us money. That’s where SmartEye came into play.”

Self Storage Operator Upgrades Camera System with AI Security Monitoring

INSOMNIAC® SmartEye is an intelligent self storage security monitoring system that integrates into a facility’s existing CCTV camera systems. It detects and records activity as it happens, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to stream incidents and flag suspicious behavior in real-time.

A Virtual Security Team (VST) manages the system, viewing and assessing each event and communicating via loudspeaker to whomever is onsite, and contacting local authorities as necessary. Stor365 felt the added layer of protection SmartEye offered was just what it needed to keep its Ohio properties secure – and they were able to get the service installed quickly.

“I didn’t think the SmartEye installation process was going to go that easily, but it did,” Diaz shares. “In a day, it was done. The AI was live and running in less than 24 hours, recording the property. From the day we decided to add SmartEye to our existing camera system, it took 6 days total to upgrade our property security.”

Diaz noted SmartEye’s after-hours service, which allows Stor365 to keep an eye on the property during times when it’s closed to tenants, which was historically a peak break-in period. “Right now, we run the system from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.,” he notes. “Nobody should be on site during that time, because we don’t allow 24-hour access at that location. I can’t even go there after 10:00 p.m. unless I call into the command center.” Eventually, the facility may adjust those hours if need changes or new challenges occur.

“Holiday weekends are prime targets. They cut a hole in the rear fence and were onsite for about five minutes. They broke into a dummy unit we had set up and were rifling through it for about 10 or 20 seconds. Then, the live monitoring kicked in and someone on the PA said, ‘Hey, you’re not supposed to be in here. The police have been dispatched.’ That door whipped open, and they sprinted out. They’re not coming back now.”

Play Video about Stor365 stops crime with SmartEye security monitoring

SmartEye Stops Break-In Over Holiday Weekend

Over one such peak period, the latest Thanksgiving holiday, SmartEye’s live monitoring and quick response times helped stop a would-be break-in in action. Even after promoting its new security installation on the news and the Stor365 website, the facility was hit by a group of local thieves.

“Holiday weekends are prime targets,” reflects Diaz. “They cut a hole in the rear fence and were onsite for about five minutes. They broke into a dummy unit we had set up. They were rifling through it for about 10 or 20 seconds. Then, the live monitoring kicked in and someone on the PA said, ‘Hey, you’re not supposed to be in here. The police have been dispatched.’ That door whipped open, and they sprinted out. They’re not coming back now. The chief of police is happy about it because it’s one less property in the area they have to worry about.”

While theft deterrent is an obvious result of more proactive, robust onsite security, Diaz is quick to point out that the benefits also include cost savings and improved tenant trust.

“When these break-ins happened,” shared Diaz, “the tenants looked at us and asked, ‘What are you going to do for me?’ Every time it happened, we started giving out a month free of rent.
You don’t have to do it, but you can only stand there and stare the tenant in the eye so many times before you need to do something to help them out.”

SmartEye Ensures Property is Secure, Helps Stor365 Raise Rental Rates

Those ongoing costs, as well as the cost of the fence repairs which totaled nearly $6,000 in all, were eliminated with SmartEye. At the same time, Stor365 saw improvements in tenant satisfaction and brand confidence.

Diaz claims SmartEye has proven a competitive differentiator so great it’s allowed them to charge rates 50-60% higher than the surrounding market. “When potential customers call in and ask, ‘Why are your rates so high?’, we can share we have live monitoring, we have cameras. SmartEye has helped ingrain in the community that we’re secure. Dry, clean and secure — those are the three major aspects of self storage. Our facility is now indefinitely secure.”

Diaz has recommended SmartEye to multiple self storage properties in and outside his immediate region, and continues to be impressed by the AI that powers the service. With aggressive acquisition goals to grow their portfolio to a top 100 operator, Stor365 has committed to operating largely remote properties to keep labor costs down. They were excited to find a technology solution that helps them achieve that goal and keep their property secure when they’re not there.

“We have the most secure facility in the county, if not a larger region,” says Diaz. “We’re happy with that. Our tenants are thrilled.”

To learn more about these products, or any of the benefits mentioned above, please contact OpenTech to speak to a self storage pro today.