Burglary is a frightening prospect, but it is becoming a reality for more and more people. Every 90 seconds, a Canadian homeowner is the victim of a residential burglary. In the US, a home break-in occurs every 18 seconds. And did you know that most of those break-ins occur during daylight hours? 80% of Canadian burglaries and 60% of US break-ins occur during daylight.
While burglars can use any number of weaknesses to gain entry to your home, the garage is often a prime entry point. Not only is it likely that your garage door is the weak point in your home’s defense, but your garage itself likely holds some of the more valuable items you own, and a thief will target these first – motorcycles, expensive mountain bikes, high-end golf clubs, unused electronics, etc.
Often, the homeowner’s own negligence makes them more likely to experience a break-in. Simple things like locking the car door at a shopping center or mall can make you a target. Think of this: You fail to lock your car’s door. A thief opens the door, finds your garage door opener attached to the sun visor, and then writes down your address from your car’s registration in the glove box. They now have full access to the garage and know exactly where you live.
So, common sense should be the rule. Lock your doors (home and car). Keep your garage door opener out of sight. However, there are a few other tips that can help to make you less likely to be burglarized.
1. Know the Age of Your Electric Garage Door Opener
Not sure how old your garage door opener is? Check the motor housing – there should be a label there. It’s usually under the plastic cover over the light.
If your garage door opener was made before 1993, it should be replaced. Openers at this time were made using a series of dip switches with positions such as +, 0, and -. Thieves can scan these systems and duplicate the code, gaining access to your home.
2. Keep the Remote Out of Sight
It’s also important that you keep your garage door remote out of sight. Yes, there’s that handy clip on it so you can attach it to your sun visor, but that’s all the temptation a thief might need to break your car’s window and steal the opener.
Keep your garage door opener in the car but somewhere that a thief won’t immediately look for it. That means the glove box is out – think about putting it under the seat, instead.
You might also consider using a mini remote control (375UT). These can be clipped to your keyring and carried with you, eliminating the need to hide a bulky remote in your car. Of course, you’ll need to make sure that you don’t lean on the remote while at home. It takes very little pressure to activate the button and then raise your garage door. Keep your keys on a table in a key dish.
You may also want to invest in a new garage door opener. As of 2017, you can raise and lower Chamberlain and LiftMaster units using MyQ technology on your smartphone.
3. Prep before Leaving Home for a Long Period
Are you going on vacation? Heading out for a holiday visit to the in-laws’? If so, you need to take the right precautions. First, make sure that you disconnect your garage door opener motor from the power source – you can just pull the plug. This ensures that no one can use it to get inside.
You may also want to press the lock button on your exterior keypad. Make sure that you see the indicator light flashing. This shows that the lock is engaged. A side lock can be installed inside the door, and you can even add a padlock to it if you like. Of course, you will need to remember to unlock it when you return.
As a final note, LiftMaster now offers an automatic lock (841LM) that allows you to activate and deactivate it using your smartphone. However, this does require that your garage door opener be connected to your home’s Wi-Fi.
4. Consider Your Garage Door Windows
Do you have a row of windows near the top of your garage door? Realize that these allow a thief to easily scan the contents of your garage and decide if your home is worth further attention. A simple coat hanger can be enough to allow a burglar to pop the manual release catch on the door opener system.
Consider covering your garage door windows with a curtain. You can also apply a thin film coating that makes the windows opaque without blocking the light you want.
If you’re thinking about refreshing your garage door, you can install new windows. Many options today use tinted or frosted glass to make it more difficult for thieves to get a look in the garage.
5. Consider the Strength of the Garage Door
In some instances, your garage door itself might be part of the issue. If you have a non-insulated garage door, or one with just a single panel of polystyrene insulation, it can be easily damaged.
You would be better served by a sandwich-style garage door that offers a core insulation panel between two layers of steel. This type of door can stand up to being hit with a steel bar, or even being attacked with a saw. You could even go with a door injected with 1.75-inch thick polyurethane for greater protection.
6. Additional Tips
In addition to the tips that we covered above, there are a few others that can help keep you safe and sound at home.
- Close It Up: Always double-check that your garage door is closed and locked before heading to bed at night. Make this part of your nightly rounds – the LiftMaster door monitor (829LM) can actually tell you if the door is closed and secured. You can also access it via the MyQ technology we mentioned earlier.
- Install spot lights with motion sensors outside your home. This will prevent thieves from creeping up on the doors at night.
- security camera can add even more protection to your home, particularly if they are connected to your Wi-Fi system.
- Think about connecting your garage to your home’s security system. If you don’t have a security system, now is the time to install one.
- Keep a radio tuned to your local talk radio channel on in the garage so that thieves will always hear voices speaking.
We Can Help
Ready to take the next step in garage door security? Contact us. We can provide advice and guidance on safety and security, and can even offer an email quote if you like. If you’re interested in upgrading your door, check out our Design Centre or our image gallery for inspiration.