Dozens of break-ins at Public Storage in Independence leave customers feeling insecure

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Public Storage may be the largest self-storage company in the world, but customers say its Independence location is the last place you should store your belongings.

Tina Hall said she learned that the hard way this past April. That's when she opened her storage unit off Noland Avenue and discovered most of her belongings were missing, including a lawn mower, washer and dryer and freezer chest.

"I always thought that if you put your things in something like that you are trusting those people to have security and watch over your stuff," Hall said. "They just don't."

Independence police told FOX 4 Problem Solvers that what happened to Hall is happening all the time. Police spokesman John Syme said there have been more than 50 break ins at the Independence location since last October.

"When we see something like this it's obviously alarming," Syme said.

Syme said police have increased patrols in the area, but he said there is only so much they can do without becoming private security for Public Storage.

"It's in a secluded back area, and just like a home a business it needs to take the responsibility of increasing security to reduce these crimes," Syme said.

Police say they've warned the company to improve its lighting, security cameras and even hire private security. But Hall said she hadn't noticed any changes during the year she's rented a unit.

FOX 4 Problem Solvers called Public Storage's corporate headquarters to find out what's being done to protect customers, but our calls were never returned.

As FOX 4 Problem Solvers reported three years ago, Public Storage also has a poor history of letting potential customers know about break ins.

Posing as a customer, we visited multiple Public Storage locations that had a history of burglaries, but each time we asked about security we were told crime was not a problem.

So what can you do to protect yourself ?

The Independence Police Department puts all crime data online. If you go to the website and type in an address, it will show you how many and what type of crimes have been reported at a location.

It's information Tina Hall wishes she had known before ever doing business with Public Storage.