Garage Security

 A crude, but effective means of locking the garage in the event the automatic door opener turns up missing.

A crude, but effective means of locking the garage in the event the automatic door opener turns up missing.

Today we’re going to talk about four weaknesses inherent to garages.  By knowing these failings, you can tailor your garage door to circumvent them and derail a burglar’s attempts to exploit them as a means of entry to your home. Since many garages are now attached to the house, this is a serious security matter. 

Garage windows

Do you remember the duck game at the carnival? The one where you could win a prize if you caught the loop in just the right way? 

Opening your garage door using a wire coat hanger through the emergency release handle is a lot like playing that game, and garage burglars can become very adept at doing exactly that. It’s their job. All they need to do it is a window in the garage door through which to slip the wire. A zip tie through the lever hole will still let you use it as an emergency release, but his fishing game won’t work.

 If a homeowner doesn't have a deadbolt on hand, anything which will secure the garage door will work.

If a homeowner doesn't have a deadbolt on hand, anything which will secure the garage door will work.

Of course, if the windows are big enough, he can break it and crawl right through.  Metal bars across those large windows will prevent that.

Whether your windows are large or small, make sure to cover them so a thief can’t look into your garage unless he breaks a window. 

The door to the house

 Even this simple bolt will thwart a garage door opener from operating.

Even this simple bolt will thwart a garage door opener from operating.

Invariably, homeowners leave the door between the house and garage open, to make getting into the house easier once they get home. “After all,” they think, “I’ve closed my garage door! Isn’t that enough?” Well, no. It isn’t. They feel the garage is safe and therefore the house is safe enough that they don’t need to go through a double-lock situation to get into their home. Except--it’s not. The door from the garage to the house needs a deadbolt, especially if the thief found a means of gaining entrance to the garage, for example, if you leave it open for any period. Once you go to work, if he’s in the garage, he has all day, and all the tools in your garage, to help him gain entry through the garage-to-house door. The destruction is all done in the privacy of your garage, away from the curious eyes of the neighbors.  So make sure the entry into the house is secure.

The door to the backyard

Many newer homes have a garage that features a door which will take the homeowner to the backyard of the house. The problem is, this door, also hidden from the prying eyes of the neighbors, is often a cheap, hollow core door with a single doorknob lock. This entry should be deadbolted, reinforced or replaced, and have an alarm.

 Once it's found, you can unlock the garage door 

Once it's found, you can unlock the garage door 

The automatic door opener

A garage door opener, by itself, is not a security threat. The security threat is that people forget to close the garage door once they get all the groceries in the house. You could put the garage door on a timer, so it automatically shuts after a specified period. The risk is having it close when you want it to remain open. There are alarms which will alert a homeowner if the garage door is left open. 

An automatic opener controls the garage door. There are very few things we’re less careful with than a garage door opener. Anyone who has one often keeps it in their car. The problem is that the car registration has your home address, and the home address will be the one for the clicker. A cunning thief steals the garage door opener and makes a note of the address. 

Most people, if their garage door opener gets stolen (and nothing else) will think they lost it. They’ll grab the spare, or use the front door, and never believe their opener has been stolen. This misguided thinking gives the thief ample opportunity to marshall up the resources to hit your house hard when he does hit it. The solution is to lock the opener in the glove box when you leave the vehicle and keep your car locked. If your opener turns up missing, unplug the garage door opener until you find it. Keep your garage door closed even when you’re home.

This concludes our summary of garage door weaknesses.  Careful garage door installation and care of the opener will circumvent these issues. We want you to enjoy your garage door for years to come without security issues. 

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