Your garage can hold a lot of precious things. Whether it is family heirlooms or expensive power tools, there is always a thief willing to take it all. The best thing that you can do is increase the security of your garage.
1. Protect Your Emergency Release
If your garage uses a motorized track to open and close remotely, then it most likely has an emergency release cord. This cord is almost always a red string with a plastic aglet on the end. When this device is pulled, it will release a latch on the garage door assembly, which will disengage the electronic nature of the door and allow it to open as if it were a standard garage door. On almost every garage this emergency cord can be accessed from the outside. Criminals will slip a wire through the top of the doorway and defeat the security easily.
The two ways around this are to use a medium size zip tie to secure the latch that the cord will disengage, or to install a secondary barrier to your garage. With the zip tie, all you need to do is run it through the latch so that light pulling of the emergency release cord does not open your garage door. However, this method will allow you to pull very harshly and directly down, breaking the zip tie and allowing the door to move freely. This type of force cannot be applied by criminals on the outside of the structure. The barrier you create can be metal or wood, but must line the top opening of the garage door’s interior. This will simply prevent a wire from being able to grab the cord. Make sure that you install your barrier so that the door’s opening and closing is not impeded.
2. Do Not Leave Your Door Open
Leaving your garage door open does two things. The most obvious is that it allows anyone to enter the structure. This puts all the valuable items inside the garage at risk, and in the case of an attached garage, it may also endanger the property itself. Once someone is in the garage they have free rein over the area. They can steal things, break things, store illegal items, etc. Once you give someone this amount of access, you must be prepared for the worst. If your garage door is open, you should be home and watching the structure closely.
The second thing that you need to worry about is the advertisement that this sends to any criminals. The more regularly your garage is open, the higher your chances of garnering the attention of a thief. When a garage door is open, anyone that can see the garage can see what you have inside. Hide what you have, and only open your door when it is necessary and/or when you are on the property.
3. Install Perimeter Locks
More often than not there is at least one other way into the garage beside the main garage door. Often there is a perimeter door. For an unattached garage (a structure separated from the house) you should install locks and use them as frequently as possible. Just like your lock up your house at night and when you leave for the day, you should also be locking your garage. Locks for attached garages are much trickier as you must decide if you want to keep anyone entering the garage from entering the home, or if you want anyone entering the home from getting into the garage. This can be solved by determining where the most valuable items are stored and what the chances are of a criminal entering from the house vs the garage.
4. Use Interior Cameras
Cameras inside your garage are a great idea. It is a small room with an open floor plan. This allows one camera to see everything. Installing just a single camera can be enough to get a very clear picture of not only the burglars but also their method of entry. Knowing who overwhelmed your security, and how, will allow you to not only receive justice but also to improve your security and keep the same thing from happening again. These cameras should always be turned on and recording. A dummy camera will do little to help once someone is already inside your property. They are sure to try their luck stealing what they can, and chances are they will even harm the camera. For this reason, interior garage cameras should be hidden so that a criminal would not see it. Also, face the camera at the most likely entrance point or on the most valuable item. This will increase the chance of getting a clear shot of their face(s).
Any one of these methods is sure to increase the security of your garage, but do not feel limited to just one. All of the methods listed above can be used in conjunction with one another to create a framework of security. Do not feel limited by this list. Part of security is creativity. Allow your ideas and individual circumstance to inform your protections.
Ralph Goodman is a professional writer and the resident expert on locks and security over at the Lock Blog. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about keys, locks and safety. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.