The Weakest Link: Garage Security and Protection

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It’s common to think about securing your home and family, but neglect to remember the garage and its contents must also be secured. It is necessary when deciding on a home security system to consider the “whole-home approach” since garage doors are generally the weakest and most readily accessible entry for a criminal.

Regardless of whether the garage is attached or detached to the home, you want to keep the contents safe and further access to adjacent areas off limits. Sometimes the best way to secure you and your belongings is to think like a thief. Where do you see weak points? Garage windows, an outdated door opener, or external remote keypad may invite a break-in.

• Purchase a solid garage door without windows. If you prefer windows in the door, have them installed in the top section and frost them. Light comes in but any view is obstructed.

• Many homes have garage windows on the side of the building. Frost those windows as well and secure them with several, close-set, vertical rods locked into place, which may be removed and replaced from the inside when desired by the homeowner.

• Pre-1999 garage door openers having old technology should be upgraded. “Code Grabbers” can open the door too easily. Newer garage door openers have rolling-code technology in which the remote transmits a new security code each time it’s used.

• External keypads should be tested to determine if the garage door can be opened by manipulating the remote when the keypad’s batteries are removed.

• Install a sturdy solid core door between your home and attached garage. Deadbolt the door between your garage and home and lock it when you leave, as you would your front door. That way, even if things are stolen out of your garage, access to your home has been secured.

• Outside people doors on detached garages should be solid, windowless, and equipped with a deadbolt as well.

• Installing a garage security system and outdoor motion detector lights help deter thieves.

Human error also contributes to reduced garage security. Basic everyday activities can encourage theft. Keep in mind the following actions you may or may not be taking that could threaten your garage security.

• Avoid leaving the remote for your garage door opener in the vehicle. Take the remote with you when you exit your vehicle. There are new remotes today small enough to program and put on a keychain.

• Close and secure your garage door when you leave – regardless of how long you anticipate being gone. Thieves drive through “safe neighborhoods” looking for easy grabs. An open garage door with activity going on, or a truck being loaded, inside does not generally signal an emergency to a passerby. An open, unattended garage advertises what’s inside and can tempt even the most honest neighbor or restless kids.

• A garage door opener timer that automatically closes the door after a period of time may be helpful. They typically have manual control overrides so the door can be programmed to remain open as well.

• When leaving on vacation, have a checklist. Remember to lock the garage door, set the lock switch on the garage door opener station, unplug the garage door opener, padlock the manual throw latch and/or place and tighten c-clamps on either side of the door track to prevent the rollers from moving the door open.

And the final aspect of garage security is preemptive. Periodically check and maintain the door parts. Rollers, hinges, and tracks can rust and show signs of corrosion over time and door frames can splinter.

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