Thieves target storage facilities in St George

ST. GEORGE — The total number of storage shed burglary calls received by the St. George 911 Communication Center nearly doubled from seven reports to 13 reports from October to December.

The trend hasn’t slowed so far in 2014 after 12 reports of storage shed burglaries and two possible storage burglaries were reported in the first nine days of January.

Despite the increase in reports, Southern Utah police officials agree that storage shed burglaries are “nothing new” to the area.

The St. George 911 Communication Center received reports of 11 storage shed burglaries and two “suspicious circumstances” just before 2 a.m. Thursday at the Dixie Self Storage Center, 982 N. Dixie Downs Road.

“Several storage sheds were broken into, and items were taken,” St. George Police Sgt. Sam Despain said Thursday about that day’s burglaries. “We respond to them often, but to be honest, I don’t think we’ve seen a dramatic increase. A lot of times storage units can be easy targets because they’re in secluded, dark areas.”

Ed Kantor, Washington City Police Department public information officer, said Washington City experiences storage burglaries “periodically.”

“What we’ve seen typically is one or two sheds get hit,” Kantor said. “It just depends on how secure the (criminal) feels. If they feel they won’t be seen, or (the facility) is not well lit, they might stay there for a period of time and pick on units that don’t have good locks.”

Dixie Self Storage Center co-owner Wade Ovard said it’s “hard to say” what may or may not be a good facility to store property.

“If you’re looking for something guaranteed to be safe, you’ll probably never find it,” Ovard said. “Most people go to whatever is closest to home.”

When choosing a facility, Hurricane Police Sgt. Brandon Buell suggested looking at the property of the facility to see how secure it may be.

“How well is it guarded from somebody who wants to break into the facility?” Buell asked. “Look at the security, and look at how easy it is to get into the area from the outside.”

Police officials agreed that no matter how secure the facility is, if a burglar is determined to take items from a unit, he or she will do anything he or she can do to break into units.

Ovard said choosing a storage facility is not as important as spending extra money on a lock for the unit.

“Spend extra money on a disc lock because they tend to be the hardest to get into,” Ovard said.

Disc locks range from $12.50 to $25 at local hardware stores.

“As far as putting stuff in (the unit), one thing we notice is when you’re loading it up, don’t put anything valuable up front. Most of our people put valuables from the middle to the back of the unit, and they hide the items,” Ovard said.


Storage Unit Safety Tips

Quick tips from area law enforcement officers for protecting your storage unit:

  • Choose a facility that is well lit.
  • Spend extra money on a disc lock for the storage unit.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and people who may be watching you unload items into the unit.
  • Store items in the back of the unit where they are easily hidden.
  • Check the facility’s security methods to determine how guarded the property is.