Better Safe Than Sorry
We keep some of our most expensive stuff in our garages: cars, bikes, tools, boats and other things too big or too dirty for the home. If you have an attached garage, it also has a door leading straight into your house. Stopping people from getting into your garage is pretty important, but most people don’t give garage security too much thought.
Modern garage door openers have quite a few nifty security features, but they too can be defeated, just have a look at my article on garage opener hacking.
This article is about the other ways you can secure your garage against unwanted entry so that your security doesn’t just rely on a single security point.
The Alarm Bell
If you have a home security system, make sure that it extends to your garage, not just the connecting door. If the alarm is armed and someone enters the garage, you should know about it.
Bolt of Lighting
If your garage door opener or door does not come with a bolt-type lock such as the Chamberlain/Liftmaster Posilock system, then I’d highly recommend that you fit one to your door. Just make sure that the aftermarket lock you fit is compatible with your opener. When in doubt, phone customer care and find out the recommended way to add a bolt-type lock to your door.
Most garage doors come with a cylinder-type lock that thieves can defeat in seconds these days, so don’t fool yourself on that count.
If you have a garage door that won’t be used for long periods of time or if you’re going on a long holiday, you may want to consider a door defender. This consists of a metal plate bolted into concrete with a huge metal and rubber stopper that will prevent the door from opening. They also make for a great visual deterrent, since they are a pain in the behind to get around and take more time to break through than the typical thief will have.
Lots of people don’t bother to put any coverings on their garage windows. Curtains may not be appropriate, but some nice industrial looking blinds will. Before a prospective thief goes through the risk and trouble of breaking into your garage, they want to know that there’s something in there that’s worth stealing. Don’t make life too easy for them.
Few people have a reason to open their garage windows, so you may want to consider permanently welding them shut, putting burglar bars up (on the inside!) and attaching a window break alarm.
If your opener doesn’t have motion detector lights, consider installing them as an add-on. Thieves prefer to work in the dark and you may be lucky enough to fool the dumber ones into thinking someone’s around and they’ve been detected.
If you have wi-fi Internet access on the premises, you may want to invest in an IP security camera for your garage. Some smart garage door openers actually support this as an upgrade, but as long as you are in range of your router, you can use any camera.
IP cameras come in all shapes, sizes and prices. You can use many of them remotely from your smartphone and get an immediate alert if anything moves into view. If you see a burglar on the camera, even if you’re far away, you can immediately alert your security company or the police.
Some more expensive models even let you talk through a speaker and move the camera around on a motorized base.
The Other Door
Don’t forget the other door going from your garage to your home! This door should be as well secured as the front door to your house. A swift kick should not be enough to bring it down. Alarm sensor, door chime, deadbolts, the works. Do it. Now.
Thieves see opportunities where we wouldn’t think of them. Never leave your remote visibly in your car. Someone may break into the car, steal the remote and target your home. This is one of the reasons I dislike visor-mounted remotes and prefer key-chain ones. If your car and opener are HomeLink compatible (a long shot usually) then that’s preferable, since the remote is built into the car itself.
Don’t leave your garage door open. Really, it sucks that this even has to be said. At the very least make use of the time-to-close function on your garage opener if it has this feature.
If you have a keyless entry pad, make sure no one is watching you enter the code. Cover the pad with your hand. Don’t write the code down. Don’t tell people you can’t trust. In fact, it may be better not to have the pad at all and use something like GoGogate to give select people access via their smartphones.
Be Safe, People
There’s no such thing as total security, but by taking a few simple precautions you can make it much less likely that you’ll suffer a loss from a break-in. It’s worth the time and money to do right; you shouldn’t procrastinate on this one.