Thefts seem to be a part of life that is not going to go away. As economic times get harder, the number of the thefts will naturally go up.
The easiest place to steal high value items is in the garage in most cases. Not only can you usually find high valued tools, equipment, or bicycles that can easily be sold, but people tend not to lock the door to their home from inside the garage.
It is surprisingly easy to break into a garage door if you know what you’re doing. For this reason, we have compiled a list of some of the ways to help you protect your belongings by securing your garage door.
This step might seem like the obvious one, but this is the step that most people ignore.
If your garage has windows, it might be a good idea to put up blinds or covering to deter people from checking out the contents of your garage.
Don’t put your garage door opener in plain sight. If you are away from home, but one of your vehicles is sitting in the driveway still; it might be a good idea to remove the garage door opener from your visor as it is as tempting as a purse or wallet to a thief.
When it comes to garage doors, fishing attempts are a common way to break into a garage that is closed with an automatic garage door opener.
Along the top of your garage door there is a rubber weather strip. That weather strip is soft, pliable, and a great place to slip a tool inside.
A thief will use a small metal wire with a hook on the end much like a bent coat hanger. The thief will then reach the tool inside your garage to “fish” for your release cord on the garage door opener. Once the cord is hooked, the thief will just yank the wire to disconnect the door from the automatic opener. This is much easier if there are windows to check their work.
Once the release cord has been engaged, the thief just needs to slide open the garage door as there is no longer anything holding it shut. You should already know how this works as your garage door most likely has a sticker that suggests you double check this release monthly.
There are several ways to prevent the release on your garage door from being engaged or to prevent a wire from grabbing the release.
You can create a little shield out of plywood that will sit between the cord and the garage preventing the cord from being grabbed. This is complicated and requires a fair bit of work, measuring, tools, and know-how. You can also purchase a “garage shield” that will do the same thing without the DIY spirit.
The two easiest ways are:
- Shorten the cord to make it more difficult to grab.
- Add a zip tie. This is by far the easiest method. There is usually two small holes where the spring on the release is clipped. Add a small zip tie between the two holes and the release cannot be engaged unless the zip tie is cut from the inside.
Thieves are usually not big fans of motion sensor lighting and cameras. Motion sensor lighting is a great deterrent to thieves as it will make them more visible to everyone around.
Put up cameras where they are visible as you want the thief to notice the camera and not attempt the theft as opposed to being able to watch them steal your stuff after the fact.
Most people will not lock the door to their home that is in the garage. Make a habit of locking or installing a lock on that door when you’re going away or going to bed.
If you have a manually opening garage door, replace the handle with one that has a lock.
If you’re going on vacation, this is a great option. On your automatic garage door opener there is most likely an option to lock the door. This will prevent it from opening unless you push a button combination on the inside. This is a great option for easy locking (if you prevented fishing above).
Another option is to simply place a padlock on the track of the door. Right above one of the wheels that follow the track there is usually a hole drilled through the track. Just place a padlock there and no one can open that door. Not the automatic opener (best to disengage) and not a person. If there isn’t a hole in the track, you can take the DIY approach and drill one.
That’s right, you can get an automatic garage door closer. Most garage thefts happen because the garage door wasn’t closed, and the owner left. This can happen because we forget to close it, thought we did close it, something was in the way of the door closing, or even the sunlight causing the door to think something is in the way preventing it from shutting.
These little devices are smart devices. It will notify you when the door is open, and you can close it with your phone. You might be able to find one of these little devices that connects to your existing opener. You can also install a smart garage door opener, but that will also open other security issues past the depth of this article.
As mentioned above, having your garage door opener on your visor or in your car is making it simple for thieves. They could break into your vehicle while you’re at work, grab your opener, look at your ownership for your address, and then go on a little shopping spree at your house. There is a great chance they can access the whole house through your garage.
Switching your opener to your key chain is a great way to remove that vulnerability.
Doing what you can to prevent being the victim of theft is ideal. No one wants that vulnerable feeling of being a victim of theft and no one wants to put in an insurance claim for something that is preventable.
There are many ways to help prevent theft and hopefully this article has helped you make some decisions on what garage door security options are best for you and your family.