Is Your Garage Door Inviting Thieves?

by Editor on June 14, 2013

The Old Shop, 83 and 83a High Street, Henley-in-Arden - garage doors

As surprising as it may be, a thief can use a wire hanger to get a garage door’s release latch to open within seconds.  Yes, seconds, not minutes.  Your garage can be a goldmine for thieves; and as concerning as that might sound, there is some good news—there are things you can do to prevent thieves from entering your garage and, possibly, entering your home.  With something as simple as plastic ties or wire mesh, one can cover the latch and thwart burglary attempts and give unscrupulous individuals a run for their money.

The ‘Bypass’ Technique:

Automatic garage door openers can be easily bypassed by seasoned burglars; and the danger lies in the fact that all automatic garage door openers legally require a safety release mechanism that is controlled by a grab handle.  The grab handle is a safety feature to manually move the garage door in case of an emergency or power outage.  Here’s where a simple wire hanger makes its debut—a thief will use a wire hanger to trip the safety release mechanism from outside the garage door.   Once the safety release is disengaged, the thief can lift the door and gain access.   This break-in method can be performed by ‘feel’, alone; and thieves are well aware of the garage’s mid-point where the release cord would be located.

What You Can Do:

1:  Use Zip-Ties:

Use one or several zip-ties to lock the disengaging arm on the automatic opener.  This will thoroughly frustrate a would-be burglar and prevent a break-in.  If one needed to use the safety pull handle, one could yank hard enough to break the zip-ties.

2:  Remove the Remote:

Never leave the remote in your vehicle.  If your remote is stolen, your house is a sitting duck.  Instead of using your visor to hold the remote, take that extra step and purchase a keychain remote opener that clips with your keys.  These little gems are compatible with multi-code receivers and transmitters and cost about 15 bucks—well worth it!

3:  Deadbolt It:

Definitely install a deadbolt on the door between your house and the garage.  Strangely, many of these doors do not have deadbolts; and having to use a key to enter your home is certainly worth the extra protection!  These doors should challenge a burglar from getting into your home as much as your front door does, which means the door should be constructed of solid-core wood or reinforced steel.  Almost 70% of burglars enter a home by kicking or breaking a home’s door.

4:  Quit Being So Trusting:

So many of us are guilty of leaving our garage doors open at any given time throughout the day.  Perhaps it’s to allow our tethered pet to go in and out of the garage, or maybe a delivery person is scheduled to arrive while you’re at work—not a good idea!  An open or slightly open door invites nothing but trouble and thieves will take full advantage of trusting homeowners.

5:  Cover Garage Door Windows:

Thieves are brazen and wouldn’t think twice to peek through your garage windows to scan the inventory and/or see if a vehicle is parked to indicate someone probably being home.  By frosting or using window coverings, thieves are more likely to locate a home that offers more of an ‘invitation’.  Contacting a professional garage door company such as TXOHD is a simple place to start.

One more thing:  change your factory-set garage door opener code.  Thieves drive through neighborhoods with common openers and look for doors that respond.  Your garage needs to be a hard target, not a soft one!

About the Author

Nebraskan retirement from teaching has become quite the haven for Karen’s writing and “grandmothering.”  Her authoring is laced with diversity, from ice ball makers to loading dock equipment.

photo by: ell brown

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