Am I secure?
If you’ve read our post about medieval murder holes, then you know that the big gate was the most vulnerable spot on a medieval castle, but they needed it to get horses and deliveries in and out, so they couldn’t do away with it. Eventually, they fortified the big gate and their troubles were no more.
The same goes for your garage. You need a garage so you have somewhere to keep your car and your yard tools safe from the elements, but if you’re not careful your garage is an easy target for criminals and thieves.
Luckily, there are a lot of easy methods to fortify your garage (without having to resort to medieval murder holes). Read on for our top eleven!
You know that big red pull string that hangs down in your garage? The one that your kids jump up and grab, leaving you to reconnect the motor to the door so you don’t have to open it manually?
It turns out your kids aren’t the only ones trying to grab that pull string. Thieves can bend the top of your garage door just a little and then use a coat hanger to pull the string, making it so that they can open your garage door manually and break in!
You can prevent this by adding a simple zip tie— definitely a worthwhile investment. (Unfortunately, the zip tie won’t stop your kids, since they are pulling straight down rather than at an angle).
Older garage door openers transmit the same code every time they open the garage, making it easy for thieves to pick up your code and then use it to open your garage. Newer openers make up a new code each time so that thieves can’t grab it.
You don’t want your garage door remotes to assist a criminal in breaking in to your home, so update those openers!
Imagine you’re a thief for a second. You’re walking up to a garage door, about to start trying that coat hanger method we mentioned above, and a very bright light comes on. What do you do? You run away, right?
Right. That’s why you should install a motion sensor flood light over your garage. Sudden bright lighting deters thieves because they’re a lot more likely to get caught if they’re visible. While you’re at it, consider installing a Cove motion detector that feeds back into your system and tells you what’s going on.
Your mom probably told you as a kid to shove your electronics under your seat if you were going to leave them in the car. Or maybe you tell your own kids that now.
The same goes for garage windows: thieves are much more likely to try to steal things if they can see that there are things worth stealing— i.e. if you don’t have garage windows, or if your garage windows are frosted, or even if you just keep everything valuable out of the line of sight of your garage windows, thieves are less likely to try to break into your garage.
There are expensive things that by definition belong in your garage. Like your car, for instance. Or your lawn mower. Or maybe even your brand new bicycle.
There are other things that might be safer stored elsewhere. Like the new drill you got for Christmas or the electronic level that’s been saving you from trying to decide if that little bubble is closer to the left line or the right line. Of course, a lot of people keep these things in their garage and there is nothing necessarily wrong with it— it can be very convenient— but you’ll be glad to have kept them in a cabinet inside the house if you ever have a garage break-in.
This one goes without saying in a parking lot or on the side of the street. Obviously you would never leave your keys in your car— a thief could take the car!
Why should that be any different in your garage? If a thief breaks into the garage you really don’t want to make it easy for them to access your home and steal your car, do you? Just bring those keys inside and put them on a hook or in a key tray so you’ll know where they are when it’s time to leave.
A lot of people don’t lock this door. It’s easier not to. The garage door is closed anyway. Locking this door won’t make any difference.
Well, if a thief gets through your main garage door, locking this door could make all the difference. Worth considering for sure.
When I was a kid, a group of eight year olds waltzed in through our unlocked garage service door and stole my brother’s bicycle. Eight year olds. Imagine what a seasoned thief could do!
It’s not that hard to make sure you lock that door, and it will prevent you from having eight year olds riding your bicycles around the neighborhood and from having potential thieves using it as an entrance to your home.
In general, you don’t tell your garage code to anyone. Except that neighbor kid that you paid twenty bucks to feed your son’s goldfish when you were out of town. And that friend of a friend who left her coat at your house when she tagged along to dinner and remembered that she needed it when you weren’t home. And your daughter’s friend’s mom after you dropped your daughter off at their house to go swimming while you went to an appointment, but forget to send her swimsuit.
The point is, there are likely quite a few people who have known your garage code at some point and maybe still do, and even if you’ve never given out that information, your kids could have. Change your code every few months, and you definitely decrease your chances of that information falling into the wrong hands.
Simple, but not as simple as it sounds. People often forget, or figure they’re just running down the street and they’ll be right back. It’s not that inconvenient to open the garage door again when you get home, and it keeps your entire home a lot safer.
It doesn’t matter what measures you’ve taken against a break in if your kids are counteracting them. Make sure your kids understand that they shouldn’t be sharing your garage code with their friends. Explain to your teenagers that keeping that garage service door unlocked can have consequences beyond them sneaking in when they’ve been out late. If your whole family is on the same page, security gets a whole lot easier!
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