Officials urging citizens to take extra precautions with stored items.

Over the last six weeks, Richland police have seen a definite uptick in the number of burglaries and thefts reported from self-storage facilities, and other fenced-in storage areas.

Officers say the burglaries are occurring in people's storage units, often with locks being cut off the doors. They've also seen more thefts taking place from fenced in compounds.

They have issued a list of precautions and questions to ask when considering using storage facilities away from their homes.  They include:

• Does the business demand people provide photo ID when accessing their storage unit?

• Are empty storage units also locked or secured? Police say burglars have often entered an empty unit that's not locked, then cut a hole in the wall to access the next occupied unit.

• Does the business have 24-hour access, or are access hours limited.

• Does the business use security tape on the locks to help prevent tampering?

• Do employees of the business conduct regular patrols of the facilities?

• Does the compound have enough lighting to illuminate the entire storage area?

• Does the business have security fencing that would deter a burglar?

• Are units under video surveillance?

Officials say these tips can often deter burglars from stealing your valuables.  Thieves are far less likely to try to enter a storage compound that has, for example, barbed wire around the top of the security fencing,  if the entire facility is brightly lit up, and if there are numerous posted signs saying the entire facility is under video surveillance.