Leaving your garage door open is like an invitation to burglars, and they know it. They can easily grab valuable tools, electronics and sports gear.
Standard garage doors have remained unchanged for decades, giving criminals plenty of time to develop entry techniques. However, there are easy security solutions you can employ to make your garage more secure.
Install a Security System
A security system is the best way to keep your garage and all its contents secure. In fact, homes without a home security system are 300% more likely to be burglarized. Whether you choose an alarm-only or one that also has access control, these systems can help you safeguard your garage and all its contents.
A key feature that many homeowners don’t realize is that these systems can also monitor the garage doors. This gives you the option to lock your garage door from a distance, especially if you’re going on vacation and don’t want to have to worry about someone breaking into your car or stealing your stuff from inside of it.
Another great feature is mobile alerts. These will ping your smart device if you leave the garage door open or ajar (it happens). If you have a bulky garage opener remote in your vehicle, get rid of it and replace it with a sleeker key-fob version. Leaving your clicker in the car gives a burglar almost unlimited access to your garage, and maybe even your home.
Motion detectors are another excellent addition to your security system. These sensors will turn on a light when someone steps near them, which helps deter burglars who would rather not be seen working in the dark. Some of these motion sensors have adjustable settings, so you can customize how close it needs to be to trigger the lights.
Lastly, a deadbolt lock will help protect your garage and everything in it. It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many people forget to close the garage door and end up leaving it unlocked all day. It only takes a few minutes for a thief to break into your garage, and you don’t want them seeing all the valuables you store in there.
No matter how much you enhance your thief deterrents, your garage is still vulnerable if it’s far away or out of sight from your house. Installing a security camera in the garage allows you to see who’s there, and this can go a long way to deter burglars from targeting your property.
Install a Deadbolt Lock
A deadbolt lock is the most basic and effective way to secure your garage. It is easy to install and affordable. In addition, it provides a strong deterrent to potential burglars who may be thinking of breaking into your home through your garage.
Regardless of whether or not you have an automatic garage door opener, a lock can make your door practically impenetrable and keep out would-be thieves. The only drawback is that it requires you to have a key to open the lock, so it can not be used if you’re out of town or in the event that your car battery dies.
The good news is that there are smart locks on the market that can allow you to unlock your garage door using your smartphone, even if you don’t have your keys. You simply need to download the free mobile app, connect it to your home Wi-Fi network and you’re set to go. The smart lock can also be used to lock and unlock your door from anywhere.
Another option is to add a reinforced strike plate, which helps prevent break-ins by spreading the impact of the forced entry over a larger area and by tying the strike plate to the 2×4 frame, rather than just the jamb. The strike plate is typically sold with the bolt, and can be purchased at most hardware stores for a low price.
If you want to get even more security from your door, consider adding a deadbolt that is keyless. This can be operated with a code or biometric technology, and can offer the same level of protection as a traditional locked deadbolt.
Before you start, be sure that you are familiar with working with power tools and understand how to drill a hole into the door frame. If you aren’t confident in your ability to do this yourself, it might be best to call a professional. Also, remember to have all the necessary tools lined up before you start–you’ll save time and frustration. Depending on your door, you may need to remove the old deadbolt or bore a hole into the door for the new one.
Keep Your Garage Door Closed
When it comes to securing your home, you must treat the garage door just like any other entry point into the house. It is a common way that burglars enter homes, and you can use simple steps to prevent them from stealing your valuables.
While it might seem like a minor detail, keeping your garage door closed is one of the most important ways to secure it. Burglars can access a wealth of items in your garage, from valuable tools to that new mountain bike you just put in the driveway. Leaving the door open invites them into your home, and once they’re inside, they can take anything they want.
A garage door that’s left partially open is also a major security risk for your pets and children. It allows outdoor debris, such as twigs and leaves, to blow into your home and make rooms feel drafty. It also allows snow to build up and potentially rust your car or other metal items in your garage.
Many homeowners are accustomed to closing their garage door as they leave the house, but that’s often not enough. If you’re in a hurry or distracted, you might forget to close the door all the way. This can be a problem, as some garage doors are easier to break into than others.
Another issue with leaving your garage door open is that it can attract wildlife. Rodents such as raccoons, squirrels, and mice love to invade homes, and your garage can be the perfect place for them to make themselves at home. They might be in search of food or shelter, or they could simply be looking for an easy entrance into your home.
The best way to keep your family safe and to deter thieves from entering your home is by layering security products. Invest in a strong garage door and arm it with a lock. Then, add a home security system that can deter thieves and notify you of any activity in your yard. Make sure your back and side doors into the home are solidly constructed with a lock, and consider installing motion-activated lights that can alert you when someone is in your garage.
Keep Your Garage Clean
The garage isn’t usually a place where you hang out – it’s more of a place to store your cars and tools. As such, it can easily become cluttered with a variety of items that can be a temptation to thieves. Keep your tools and toys tucked away in the corners of your garage and out of sight. Keeping your garage clean also helps reduce the number of pests that can invade the space. If you notice cockroaches or other insects, treat the area with glue traps and ant baits to discourage them from making their way inside your home.
Many people focus their outdoor lighting on their homes and windows but forget to illuminate the areas surrounding their garages. This can make it easy for burglars to hide around a garage door or walk-through entryway without being spotted by neighbors and passersby. If possible, trim back bushes or install motion-activated lights near your garage to keep crooks from lurking in the shadows.
Most homeowners know that they should close their garage doors when they’re not in the vehicle or working in the yard. However, many of them don’t take the time to close the service door (the one that enters into the garage from outside) and may leave it open for extended periods of time. This can be a major security weak point as a thief could enter the garage and see any valuable items in plain view.
Luckily, this is fairly simple to fix. Add a deadbolt to the service door to provide another layer of security against thieves and a strike plate that will help to deter kick-ins from a crowbar or screwdriver. This is an inexpensive upgrade to your garage that will give you peace of mind knowing your belongings are protected from intruders.
If you have clear windows in your garage, consider tinting or frosted windows for privacy and additional security. It’s easy for criminals to scout out what valuables are in a garage with a visible window, and this can be the motivation they need to break into your home.