Garages are an easy target for burglars. Many times they are left wide open, and the thief can simply walk in and walk out quickly and undetected. Even when a garage door is closed and secured, a thief has options. An unlocked car in the driveway can provide easy access to a remote, and tripping the safety release mechanism often requires nothing more than a coat hanger.
How Thieves Break In
Most garage thefts do not involve a break-in. The garage is already open, the door is unsecured or the burglar gets access to the remote. In cases where a break-in does occur, it usually happens by exploiting the emergency latch. Brute force break-ins happen as well, and it may surprise you how easy that is. After all, most garage doors are not built solid or secured with deadbolts or similar hardware.
Prepping the Primary Door
Automated garage doors are more secure, not less. If your roll-up is not yet automated, upgrade it as soon as possible, but disable the emergency system or opt for one that is not easily exploited. It is also a great idea to invest in a reinforcement kit, which makes the garage door mounting much more solid and thus much harder to open with brute force. Take care with the remote. Put it on your keychain perhaps, and never leave it in the vehicle unattended.
Prepping All Other Access Points
Do not overlook the side garage door or garage windows because burglars can easily use these access points as well. Treat these doors and windows just as you would all of your home’s first story doors and windows. Doors should have deadbolts and both doors and windows should have high-security locks. It is also a great idea to integrate the garage fully into your home security alarm system.
Home Security Integration
There should be access alarms on the windows and all doors, including the door that provides access to the home from the garage. The garage should also have motion sensors and, ideally, a security camera. Having a wireless security system will make including the garage a lot easier. In the event of a garage burglary, having a security camera will provide invaluable evidence to police and make it much easier to file insurance claims.
Deterring Would-Be Thieves
There should be motion sensors at the home’s exterior as well, and those sensors should trigger big bright lights. It’s also a great idea to have signage near the garage that announces it is protected by a monitored security system. Keep in mind that garage thefts are generally just crimes of opportunities, and these simple deterrents are often all that are needed to make that opportunity much less appealing.
Making Good Habits
The residents of the home play a big part in keeping a garage secure and an unappealing target. If they have good security habits, the garage is an unlikely target, but if they have bad ones, such as leaving the garage open and valuables in plain view, they can compromise all of your best efforts.