The 4 Ds of Self Storage Security

It is no secret that self storage facilities are a prime target for burglars and other criminal activity.

These break-ins are more than just a nuisance – they can easily cost facilities thousands of dollars in repairs, not to mention tenant trust. Do you experience frequent break-ins, vandalism, trespassing and other unauthorized uses of your property? Even a single incident can be detrimental to your operation — do you have a security plan in place? Here are four of our best security tips and tricks to prevent trespassers from damaging your property and reputation.  

Want to skip straight to the tips? Download the infographic to get these four tricks plus a bonus tip on how to secure your storage facility!


Most thieves only strike when the opportunity arises: opportunities like an unattended bag left in public or a package sitting out on a front porch. A self storage facility without any visible security measures in place is a much more attractive target than the ones that do. That’s why visual deterrents such as gates, cameras and surveillance signs can be so effective at reducing theft.

However, while it is essential to outfit your facility with surveillance equipment, the hardware alone is often not enough to stop burglaries completely.

SmartEye leverages your existing self storage security monitoring hardware to detect and deter thieves.

The Top 5 States by Average Burglary Claims per Facility

According to Xercor Insurance Services, these five states experienced the most burglaries on average in 2022. Do you have facilities in these states? If so, let’s chat about how we can help secure your facility.

Claim Count State Unique Facilities Average Claim Per State

*Data courtesy of Xercor Insurance Services

Watch On-Demand: 2023 Crime Hot Spots and Next-Gen Security Solutions for Self Storage

Listen in as Xercor shares its claims data, including the communities with the highest property crime, proven strategies to prevent theft, and more. Then, hear from three operators as they discuss how they significantly reduced their claims with AI-powered security monitoring.

Graphics Webinar SmartEye GuardiansofBelongings1 May2024 Blogpost PowerPoint Image


You can’t stop what you can’t see. If trespassers get past your first line of defense, you must always have eyes on them while they’re onsite.

SmartEye Cameras Catch Trespasser
SmartEye Catches Trespasser in Action

You know your facility inside and out: The blind spots, access points, pathways, low walls, and so on. Think of where your facility is most vulnerable, then place your surveillance equipment to cover all the nooks and crannies where unauthorized traffic can enter.

When setting your hardware up, evaluate which camera position will give you the best, clearest views. Thieves will often obscure their faces with masks, hats, hoods, and sunglasses, rendering overhead cameras ineffective. To get a better look at who is entering your property, place your cameras in an area that is out of reach but can still capture your visitors’ faces.

Once your security equipment is set up, consider how you plan to review the footage. If you don’t have a dedicated surveillance team to monitor your cameras, see if your system supports event-based monitoring to notify you when the cameras pick up movement. This can help you respond to incidents more quickly, especially if you have a system that can tell the difference between real human shapes versus a wild/stray animal or spiderweb.

“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.”

—Victor Diaz, Stor365, Co-Owner and Founder

Play Video about Stor365 stops crime with SmartEye security monitoring


Access control systems are a no-brainer for most self storage facilities and an easy way to keep suspicious people and vehicles off your property. But do you regularly audit who has access to your facility within its software?

It is important to revoke facility access from all former tenants, contractors and employees as soon as they have moved out or on the day of their termination. Otherwise, these parties have the means to pull off a successful heist or freely roam your property: A code to get in and familiarity with your site’s layout.

To prevent this, consider the following recommendations:

  1. Never give out a universal code to your employees or contractors; if you do, make sure to change it often.
  2. Put a system in place to void delinquent or former tenants’ access codes as soon as they leave.

If your access control system does not automatically revoke access to former tenants, it might be time to update. Consider moving to a cloud-based system like INSOMNIAC® CIA, which integrates with your property management software (PMS) to update the tenant’s status in real-time and manage their access for you.

Watch On-Demand: Mitigating Risks in Self Storage

Listen in as Universal Insurance Programs’ President Jenny Bortman discusses proven strategies to minimize risks and how security measures impact property insurance premiums. Plus, learn how to safeguard your self storage business during a self storage insurance Q&A section.


If all else fails to deter unauthorized use of your facility, you need to act fast to protect it, your tenants’ property and your employees. A virtual security team or other trained security services can intervene and contact the police.

SmartEye's Virtual Security Team waits for the program to pick up human-like motion and will speak over a microphone to suspicious individuals and tell them to get off your self storage property.According to an SSA 2023 Demand Study, half of self storage consumers want security guards at their facility – and 28% are willing to pay more for it. While effective, security guards aren’t always the most affordable option, especially for smaller operators.

Another effective strategy you can use is a virtual security monitoring service, like INSOMNIAC® SmartEye. SmartEye combines AI with a remote security team to detect and prevent crime at self storage facilities. SmartEye’s machine-learning technology is an enhancement to your current surveillance system designed to alert a virtual security team (VST) when it detects human shapes and vehicles.

Upon detection, the VST will then inform the suspicious party over 120-decibel speakers that they are on camera and that the police will be notified if they do not leave the premises.

SmartEye Incident Summary - 2023

# of Times Audio Alerted Visitors to Unauthorized Facility Use
# of Successful Incident Interventions
# Times Authorities Dispatched to Facility

*Data includes 324 self storage sites monitored through INSOMNIAC® SmartEye between January 1 and December 31, 2023.


Security is paramount in your self storage operations. We hope you feel better equipped to thwart burglaries and stop trespassers in their tracks with these tips and tricks. However, if these strategies prove ineffective for your location, let’s chat about how SmartEye can help you put an end to burglaries once and for all. Contact us to learn more.