If you're like many Americans, you may find that you tend to use your home's attached garage more for the storage of tools, lawn equipment, and sports accessories than for the storage of vehicles. Despite the large array of valuable items kept in your garage, you may not put much more thought into security than making sure you lock your exterior door when leaving the house. But because the garage door is the second most common entry point for potential burglars, it's important to ensure that this part of your home is as secure as possible. Read on to learn more about some of the ways a burglar could potentially gain access to your garage, as well as what you can do to easily and inexpensively reinforce your garage's security.
- Automatic garage door opener
One of the simplest ways for a would-be thief to gain access to your garage is simply to steal the automatic door opener from inside your car. If you don't regularly use this door opener, you may not notice that it's missing for a few days (or even weeks) -- and during this time, a thief could be casing your home and identifying valuables. If you normally clip your automatic door opener to your sun visor, you may want to instead keep this door opener inside your purse or in a more hidden area of your car. If this door opener isn't easily within eyesight in your vehicle, it's likely that would-be burglars will move on to an easier target.
- Garage door code
A much more frightening way for a would-be burglar to gain access to your garage is the use of a hacked children's toy to disable the code mechanism, triggering the automatic garage door to open in about 10 seconds -- without ever needing the original remote. If your garage door was manufactured before 1996 or so, it's likely that it uses a fixed code, rather than a rolling code, and is therefore vulnerable to this type of attack. Fixed code openers never change the series of wireless signals they send to open your garage door, so are much more easily hacked than rolling code openers, which use a random unique code each time they operate. You'll want to check with your garage door manufacturer to confirm the type of code used by your door so that you can decide whether you'll need to replace your opener.
- Garage door windows
A garage door with small windows can be a great way to let light into a gloomy garage or allow you to see approaching visitors or vehicles while working inside -- but these windows, when broken, can also allow a thief to easily reach inside and use the emergency release lever suspended from the ceiling to open the garage door. If you don't want to replace your entire door, you may instead be able to replace the more fragile glass panes with tempered glass that is very hard to break (and does so in a very loud manner). However, if your current garage door is already showing signs of age or wear and tear, it may be a more safety-conscious decision to do a garage door replacement.
What else can you do to protect your garage?
Depending upon the monetary value of the tools and other items kept in your garage, it may be worthwhile to invest in a video camera that will allow you to capture video and still photos and access a live feed from anywhere you have a wireless connection. In the unlikely event your garage is targeted by burglars, you'll want to be instantly alerted that this is happening and have the resources available to identify and track the burglars. By using a motion-activated camera, you'll be able to minimize any additional electricity costs, and the sight of a camera swiveling to catch a glimpse is often enough to scare off all but the most determined burglars.