November 30, 2018

Clever Ways to Prevent Garage Break-Ins

Prevent Garage Break-Ins

It may seem horrifying to believe, but statistics show that there is a residential burglary every 90 seconds in Canada and every 18 seconds in the US. And even more shocking is that the majority happen in broad daylight!

One of the preferred points of entry by burglars is the garage. This is for a few reasons. The first is that most of us keep valuable items there including bikes and sports gear. The second is that we often forget to lock the door between the house and the garage. Just as thieves know to look at bicycle racks outside of schools and malls, as well as testing doors in parking lots, they know to attempt to enter a home through the garage because we forget to use the locks.

In fact, carelessness and forgetfulness may expose us to both car and house burglary because many thieves swipe the garage door opener AND look at your car’s registration information at the same time. This gives them direct access into the home!

Though you might be reading this and thinking, “No, that won’t happen to me or my family”, it is a good idea to prepare just in case it does. Here are a few tips to help you avoid the risks.

Tips for Eliminating Risk

  • Know the age of your garage door opener
    • If unsure, look at the label on the door opener’s motor housing. This is usually found by lifting up the plastic cover over the lightbulb that is part of the equipment.
    • If the date is before 1993, you need to get a new system. This is because any pre‑1993 systems use “dip switch” technologies. This enables would‑be thieves to scan the code used by the opener, capture it and then return at another time to gain entry.
  • Always conceal the remote door opener somewhere in the car, and never leave it in plain sight.
    • Consider a mini remote control (375UT) that can be clipped on your keyring. Just be sure to get into the habit of hanging up the gadget rather than leaving it in coat pockets or handbags as this can cause it to be triggered accidentally, opening the door without your realizing it has happened. Instead, get in the habit of leaving your keys on a table near the door.
    • You might also want to invest in a system that makes it possible to operate your garage door from your smartphone using Chamberlain / LiftMaster’s MyQ technology.
    Mini remote control
    • This means it should not be on the visor.
    • It should be somewhere that would‑be thieves won’t think to look. If there is no place that meets that description, always bring it with you as you exit the car.

Tips if You Are Going Away

If it is more than just day to day use, consider following these tips:

  • Disconnect the motor from the electrical supply, making it impossible for any sort of remote control to function, and even for someone tampering with the exterior keypad to gain entry.
  • Use the lock button on the control panel near the main entry to the home. Ensure you have firmly pressed the buttons and triggered the indicator light, so you know it is engaged.
  • Consider a side lock installed on the inside of the door. These feature steel rods that affect the vertical rail of the door itself. This can even be secured with a padlock, but you must remember to remove it before you attempt to open the door with the remote control!
  • Consider installing the LiftMaster automatic lock (841LM) which is activated from a smartphone. It requires that the door opener is Wi‑Fi compatible, but it can make it almost impossible for someone to break into the home through the garage door.
Automatic lock - 841LM

What to Do About Windows Along the Top of the Door?

Without any real effort, a would‑be burglar can use windows to see what’s inside the garage, and they can get inside easily using a few simple steps, including the use of a wire clothes hanger to pop the manual release latch on the track of the door opener.

What can you do? There are a few simple options:

  • Cover clear glass windows with a curtain or have a professional apply opaque or reflective privacy film.
  • Update or change the garage door, and choose windows with tinted or frosted glass.

Consider the Strength and Quality of the Door

Something as simple as a more rigid garage door is also a good method of deterring crooks. This is particularly true if you have a non‑insulated garage door or one that only has a single panel of polystyrene insulation. You can overcome the risks by upgrading to a sandwich‑style garage door, one with both sides covered in steel sheeting. Be sure to choose a door injected with 1 ¾‑inch (45‑mm) thick polyurethane, for optimal strength. These are fundamentally stronger doors, able to withstand sharp blows such as those from steel bars, but they can even hold up to an electric saw!

Use Some Common Sense Tips, Too

  • Make a habit of double checking the garage door is closed – day or night. Make a routine or habit of “rounds” before bed, before you leave for the day and even if you are at home. Check all access doors to ensure they are locked. If you use a door with LiftMaster’s MyQ technology, you can use the monitor (829LM) that will tell you if your door is firmly closed.
Monitor - 829LM
  • Add exterior lighting around the home and garage. Even more effective is lighting combined with motion detectors that activate the moment any movement occurs. You will want to purchase lights with security camera features, connecting them to your Wi‑Fi system for added protection.
  • Consider an alarm system connected to your garage door system.
  • Of course, another common sense tactic is to just leave a talk radio station playing at all times as this is tricky and ensures a voice is heard most of the time.
Security camera

If You Want Optimal Security

Clearly, there are many steps to take and you can get started on optimal security when you contact us. We know garage doors inside and out and can advise you, explaining the best choices for your specific needs, particularly your home security. With total respect for your budget, we can send you a quotation by email.

You can also pop into our showroom and see what some new doors might do for both the looks and security of your property. Our Design Centre can help you choose the style of door that suits your home, and if you need some design inspiration, our image gallery has lots of examples.

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