A garage door is an inviting target for thieves to enter your home. On the outside, a closed garage door looks secure, but it can be anything but. Thieves like to try garage doors because too many people leave them unlocked to make it easy to get in and out.
Garrett Waldrop, founder of National Garage Doors of Atlanta, says “Garage doors can be secured, but many homeowners don’t take the time to secure their garage doors. Forgetting to lock the door is common, and some people even leave it open all the time. This is an invitation for thieves.”
Securing your garage is easier than you might think. The fundamental step in any home protection plan is to start thinking like a burglar. If you wanted to rob your own garage, what would make it easier or harder to do so? Here are some suggestions to improve your garage security.
Always Use a Physical Lock
Let’s start with the obvious. Lock your garage door and the inner door into your home every time you go to bed or leave the house. Inner doors should use a deadbolt with a reinforced frame. Garage doors often come with a physical deadbolt lock that bolts the door to the frame. However, the slot can become misaligned over time due to wear and tear on the rails. If you can’t bolt your door shut then it needs to be replaced.
Commercial garage doors have locking mechanisms that make doors much harder to open from the outside. Barring ramming the door with a vehicle, these are an excellent deterrent for thieves. However, commercial solutions can make it impossible to use an automatic garage door opener.
Secure Automatic Openers
Physical locks have a major downside. If you park your car in your garage, you’ll have to manually open the door from the inside to park. Automatic openers are risky because it is possible to spoof a garage door opener. Worse, many people leave their automatic openers inside of their vehicles. If a burglar can access your vehicle, then your garage door is easy pickings.
If you must use an automatic opener, use one that requires a code input rather than a single button. That way it won’t help a burglar if they do manage to get the opener from your car if you leave it outside of the garage. Better yet, just use a physical lock or use a remote keypad on the side of your home to punch in the code.
No burglar wants to work in the light where anyone can see. A simple motion detection flood light that covers the front of the garage will make it much more likely that a burglar will get noticed. Even in a remote rural area, a burglar won’t want to work under a spotlight.
Even installing a fake camera that points to your garage door can serve as an excellent deterrent. There are no lights on home security cameras these days to let a burglar know if it’s on or not. It just has to look like it’s connected.
Avoid Garage Door Windows
Any window into a garage is an entry point, but windows in your garage door are a great target for thieves. Not only do they allow an outsider to look into your garage and see if it’s worth robbing, but they also provide an access point. Deadbolts can’t keep this kind of door secure. It’s easier than you might think to pop the windows out.
Use Steel Doors
In an extreme situation, a burglar could ram your garage door to break into it while you’re away. A frame deadbolt helps, but installing a steel garage door will make it much less likely that a robber like this will have a working vehicle afterward. They’re expensive, but worth considering if you keep a lot of expensive equipment in your garage.
The most important rule for garage door security is to lock your garage door every time. Fancy security doesn’t work if you don’t use it! Make it part of your evening routine to check the garage door and your risk of a garage robbery will go down significantly.