November 30, 2018

Simple Tactics to Prevent Garage Break-Ins

Prevent Garage Break-Ins

A residential burglary happens every minute and a half in Canada and evert 18 seconds in the United States. Roughly 60 to 80 percent of them occur in broad daylight.

One of the most common points of egress into a home is the garage, and burglars take advantage of this. Not only are connecting doors often unlocked but garages themselves are full of valuable items ranging from power tools and bicycles to motorcycles and more. Even more disturbing, though, is the fact that many burglars use the garage to break in because we are careless when away from home.

Here’s what we mean: You park the car at the mall, grocery store, or somewhere else and forget to lock it. Would‑be burglars know that people commonly make such a mistake. They look to see what cars have garage door “clickers” clipped to visors or anywhere else. They then swipe it, look at your registration for your address, and can easily enter your home. In less than one or two minutes they gained full access and will often take advantage of that, heading to the home within a short time and emptying it of valuables.

Think this cannot happen to you? Maybe not, but in case you are at risk, here’s how to avoid the scenario:

Consider the Age of the Opener

How old is the garage door opener? If you are unsure, look at the label on the motor housing. Just remove the plastic cover that protects the lightbulb and scan the label for manufacturing dates. If it is before 1993, you need to get a new opener for security’s sake.

Why? Before 1993, openers used dip switches to communicate with the “clicker” or remote. This fixed it into a specific setting and burglars could easily use illegal scanners to grab the code from the air and then return at a later time to break in easily. So, an update is overdue!

Hide the Remote

Do you leave the “clicker” clipped to the sun visor? If so, make a change in routine and put it somewhere it cannot be seen easily or discovered in a few minutes. Even better, just bring it with you whenever you are out and about.

You can also consider the use of a mini remote control (375UT) that can be clipped on your keyring. Keep in mind that this can cause you to accidentally trigger the opener if you leave it in a pocket and sit on it or press it. If you do go this route, hang a key ring by the door to ensure you don’t open the garage without realizing it.

Mini remote control

You can also invest in a smart system. Since the summer of 2017, owners have had methods of controlling a garage door from a smartphone using Chamberlain / LiftMaster’s MyQ technology.

Longer Term Tactics

If you are going away on holiday or a long weekend, you might want to take some additional steps to secure the home. One ideal way to prevent the use of the garage door is to just disconnect the motor from the electrical outlet. Now it is impossible to use a remote control or use the exterior keypad to open the garage door.

If your system has a lock button on the control panel near the access door to the home, press it as you leave, and double check by waiting to see the indicator light is blinking to know it is engaged.

If you are handy, you can install a side lock inside the door. This uses a steel rod that slips into vertical rail. Just remember to unlock it when you return and before attempting to open the garage door with the remote.

LiftMaster has also innovated an automatic lock (841LM) that can be triggered using a smartphone and an opener that can interact with a Wi‑Fi system.

Automatic lock - 841LM

Tips for Doors with Windows

Of course, some doors are vulnerable at all times because of glass windows. After all, without much effort, burglars can quickly observe what you have stored in your garage and even break a window to gain access. If have a tool as simple as a wire clothes hanger, they can even pop the manual release latch on the track of the door opener.

To eliminate some of these risks, particularly if the windows use clear glass, take steps to obscure the view with curtains or reflective privacy film. If you are updating the garage door, you can also opt for windows with tinted or frosted glass.

Consider Door Strength

With or without windows, a non‑insulated garage door (or a door with only a single panel of polystyrene insulation) is weak. To overcome this vulnerability, consider updating to a sandwich‑style garage door. This is one in which both sides feature steel sheeting. Designed to be much stronger, this door does not give in to strong blows or even electric saws. You can boost the strength further by selecting a style injected with 1 ¾‑inch (45‑mm) thick polyurethane

Day and Night Protection Boosters

You can also give yourself a bit more security and peace of mind around the clock with these tips:

  • Always check the garage door, ensuring it is closed at all times. Even begin to make AM and PM rounds of access doors to guarantee they are properly secured before bed, before leaving and at any other time.
  • Consider a monitor (829LM) that will indicate when doors are closed. Those equipped with LiftMaster’s MyQ technology, can indicate security from a smartphone!
Monitor - 829LM
  • Consider adding exterior lighting around your garage and home, including lights with motion sensors at vulnerable spots.
  • Consider the use of a security camera with Wi‑Fi connectivity for added protection. And add an alarm system connected to your garage door system, as well.
  • Get tricky and go old school by leaving a radio playing at all times in the garage. Tune it to talk radio to create the illusion that someone’s inside.
Security camera

Security is Essential

Because burglary is such an issue and the garage so vulnerable, feel free to contact us. We can advise you and explain the best choices for your security needs and all in line with your budget. We are happy to send a quotation by email, and encourage you to visit our showroom

Another option is to come and meet us at our showroom. If changing your garage door is in the plans, a useful tool is to try out our Design Centre that can help you choose the style of door that suits you best. Need inspiration? Then peruse our image gallery for lots of examples.

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