Did you know, a home burglary happens about every 19 seconds in the US. That’s approximately 4,800 incidences each day. Burglary is one of the most prevalent crimes in any part of the country.
If you’re unaware, the garage is often the most chosen point of entry by the thieves. You may ask why the garage because it’s often easy to break in through the unprotected garage door and windows.
Is Your Garage a Weak Link?
As one of the most vulnerable and lucrative parts of your home, your garage is a prime target for theft. Most homes with attached garages offer access to the main building with regular wooden doors. Once a thief breaks into the garage, it’s pretty easy to pick the lock on your regular wooden door.
Most break-ins through the garage door are due to homeowner negligence. They worry about the expensive stuff they have inside their house but forget to secure the garage. Most homeowners leave their garage door open after they’ve taken out the lawnmower or leaf blower. The thieves often wait for a time like this to take a peek inside your garage to find easy access.
Older automatic openers feature the same code, which poses a security threat. It’s easy for thieves to access old garage door openers using the usual codes previously set by the homeowner.
Another possible way to break into the garage is by accessing the emergency release from outside. Also called “fishing,” it allows the thieves to access emergency release to disconnect the opener’s door frame. Although a difficult task, seasoned thieves often bring out tricks to access and pull the release cord.
A security system employee explained,
“Go to your garage door, and press firmly towards the top, does it open enough to see up into it? Then they can break in. With a coat hanger, they can grab the red string, and up goes the door. So cut your garage string/rope.”
Thieves are looking for the most significant potential reward likely to target homes that show obvious signs of wealth. An open garage door often provides them easy access to the inside.
10 Tips to Secure Your Garage Door
Here are ten handy tips to secure your garage door from thieves.
1. Think like a thief
As the saying goes, “You should think like a criminal,” you should start thinking like the thieves who want to break into your garage.
Unlike the widespread belief that burglary only occurs at night, thieves are more likely to target routinely vacant homes during the day. Robbing a house while someone is inside increases a robber’s chance of getting caught. They will inspect your home for a few days to confirm that your home remains vacant during the day.
Take a walk around the exterior and interior of your garage to find anything unusual that might attract the burglar. Cracks, a small opening at the top of the door panel, an old wall-mounted keypad, garage windows without any barrier, the backdoor, etc., are a few of the tell-tale signs of the unsecured garage door.
You can take advice from home security firms to beef up your garage security.
2. Lock Your Garage Door
Seasoned thieves can easily pick garage doors by accessing the emergency cord, breaking the strike plate, or using a code grabber. The best idea to ensure maximum security is by reinforcing your garage door with a sensor and lock-reinforce.
You can add the sensor to the garage door and place the monitor in a discreet spot. It’ll tell if your overhead door is opened or closed. When someone tries to access your garage door without permission, you’ll immediately get a notification.
Add an automatic door closer since it closes the door whether you’re home or not. You need not worry if you’ve left your door unattended; the automatic system will immediately close the door.
Adding a lock-reinforce prevents doors from splitting. A good-quality deadbolt with ANSI Grade 1 can provide additional security to your door. You can also replace the strike plate with a reinforced one with a minimum of 3-inch screws to secure it.
Consider unplugging your garage door opener when you go on a vacation. Use a padlock to close the latch. This will prevent a thief from coming in through the overhead door.
3. Rethink your Remote
Never leave your garage remote in your car, and never keep your remote clipped to the visors. It’s easy for a thief to grab the remote from your car when it’s parked outside. You can avoid this by using a keychain remote that you can carry around with you at all times.
If your garage opener remote is old, the thieves can use a code grabber device to intercept and copy the signal. They’ll easily open the door by sending the intercepted signal to your garage door. It’s best to use a remote that incorporates rolling code making code grabbers ineffective.
4. Cover Garage Windows
The unenforced garage windows can often become an easy gateway for thieves. It’s easy to look inside and inspect the garage door and service door through the glass window.
Consider covering the window to prevent thieves from “casing the joint.” You can do this by simply adding curtains, blinds, and shades inside. For a practical solution, apply a translucent film to the glass that obscures vision from outside. You can get translucent plastic films from any home center or Amazon.
To reinforce your garage window, consider adding a metal mesh or reinforced metal bars that prevents breakage. You can easily find ready-made metal bars (1/2-in).
5. Install Chamberlain MyQ opener
Consider installing a Chamberlain MyQ Opener with a built-in monitor, automatic close, lighting control, and a smartphone connection.
The monitor signals to notify whether the door is open or closed. The built-in sensor will automatically close the open. As an option, you can adjust the open time or override the self-closing feature whenever you need the garage door to remain open.
The built-in lighting control turns the two light bulbs on when the opener operates. With a smartphone connection, you can monitor your garage door from any place.
6. Zip-tie your Emergency Door Release
This is one of the cheapest garage security tips. Automatic door openers come with an emergency release lever. You can access the lever to manually open the garage door, such as during a power outage. A resourceful thief can exploit this feature and access the release lever from the outside using a wire hook. They’ll insert the hook from the small opening at the top and access the release lever to pull it down.
You can secure the release lever with a zip-tie. Zip-tie prevents tampering of the garage release lever. If you need to access the release lever, you can cut off the zip-tie and then replace it when the power comes back.
7. Upgrade Your Outdated Garage Door Opener
Most of the garage break-ins happen with the outdated garage door opener because of the outdated fail-safe system. Most thieves are aware of many techniques to break into the old garage door opener.
Start using a smart garage door opener with MyQ technology to use rolling code for more secured access. You can use custom codes for each entry. Even if you forget to update the code, the system will roll a new code for you. The smart garage door opener also notifies you when someone tries to break in. They are also far quieter and more energy-efficient than old models saving you a lot of money in the future.
8. Install Security Lights
Installing security lights can help prevent burglary at night. Most security light system installed in your garden and garage comes with a motion-detection feature that quickly detects the tiniest of the motion immediately.
Motion-activated exterior lighting is the popular choice among many homeowners. Ensure the lighting is strategically placed around your garage and home perimeter so a burglar can’t deactivate it. Ensure to place motion light above or at least pointing towards doors, so a thief gets noticed easily by you and neighbors. Consider adding a surveillance cam above the garage door to capture the thief’s identity for future purposes.
If you live in a cold place, opt out of using compact fluorescent bulbs in the motion lights because they take a long time to heat up.
9. Arm the Entry points
The alarming system doesn’t arm the door, which is vital at the time of breakage. Ensure to install glass-break protection for an added level of security. Replace the exterior door from wood to steel. The wooden doors are easy to break in. Steel entry door with quality steel hinges prevents breakage. Consider using an alarm system equipped with armed entry points, heavy-duty hinges, and a deadbolt lock system for an added security.
10. Ensure your garage door is in a good condition
Check whether the garage door opener needs repair or replacement. Old garage doors that are warped can be an easy point to break in. To prevent garage door warping, consider cleaning the door from snow debris, salt, and rainwater.
Consider replacing your garage door with a new unit that comes with intelligent features. Steel garage doors are a good choice because of their durability. If you own an old garage door with an outdated automatic opener, it’s time to switch to the modern garage door with an added security.
Along with these safety tips, ensure never to stock valuable goods in your garage. The garage door offers the most accessible access to thieves; hence, it’s a bad idea to keep valuable stuff inside your garage. And, install custom garage cabinetry with locks to keep your equipment and tools in a secured compartment.
There’s no worse feeling than finding out that a thief used your garage to break into your house. You can easily prevent burglary by adopting necessary safety measures. Never make it easy for thieves to get into your house by installing proper alarm and security with an integrated home security system that keeps you informed at all times.