by Public Information Officer David Tilley from The Plano Police Department
It only takes a few seconds to commit a burglary from a garage that is left open and unattended. Here is some information I wanted to share with you.
Garage doors are a common weak point when looking at security in a whole-home approach and an easy target for thieves. Garage door are not only a weakness, but provide criminals a shelter once inside. To the casual passerby an open garage with a work truck pulled up to it doesn’t look out of place or scream break-in.
Securing your garage door doesn’t just mean the roll-up door; as you’ll read in the article below, you have to look at every entrance point as a vulnerability. Not that any loss to your family isn’t devastating, but one that occurs through a preventable measure just shouldn’t happen.
Automatic Garage Door Openers
Let’s briefly talk about the history of these devices so you can get an idea what we’re talking about later in the article. When the first generation of automatic openers came out they all featured the same code. You can imagine the security risk by having one of these openers. Thieves could just drive a neighborhood pushing their purchased transmitter and if you had the same brand as they did; jackpot!
The second generation of openers increased their security by featuring dip switches that could be set by the owner to a unique combination. While this did increase security, most owners would leave the default setting on and guess what? Jackpot! Another security risk of the second-gen openers is that a code grabber could be utilized to gain access to your system. A code grabber device works by locking onto your signal and memorizing it. Then, all a thief would have to do is re-transmit the code and they were in.
Modern automatic garage door openers now feature rolling-code technology, where your remote will transmit a brand new security code each time you press your remote. There are over 100 billion codes, so the likelihood of a code grabber working are very slim. Be sure that your opener features this rolling-code technology!
Top 10 safety tips for garage door security:
1.) Don’t leave the garage door remote in your vehicle – If a thief breaks in to your car and steal the remote he has a way into your home.
2.) Invest in a key chain remote opener – Stop using that remote you clip to your visor and get a key chain remote opener that you can leave on your keys.
3.) Secure your garage door emergency release – contact our Crime Prevention Unit to learn how easy it is throw some zip-ties on your emergency release and still retain its intended function.
4.) Keep it locked – Put a deadbolt on the door between your house and garage; is it really that much of an inconvenience to have to use a key each time you come home?
5.) Make sure the door from your garage into your house is as secure as your front door – Ensure you have a strong, sturdy door made out of solid-core wood or reinforced steel and install an Anti-Kick device like the Door Devil on it!
6.) Don’t leave your garage door open – It amazes me how many people in my neighborhood just leave their garage door open all the time. It’s just inviting someone to pop their heads in and grab something. Listen up America! I don’t care how safe you think your neighborhood is, good neighborhoods are the first place criminals like to drive through to case houses.
7.) Install a wide-angle peephole in the door between your house and your garage – You’ll at least be able to see what’s going on if you hear a strange noise; rather than opening the door to find out.
8.) Frost or cover your garage windows – Don’t do thieves any favors by enabling them to see when your vehicle is gone, a better idea would be to replace the door with one that lacks windows.
9.) Padlock the throw latch on your garage door when you’re out of town – If you don’t have a manual lock on your garage door, you can use a c-clamp tightened down on each side of the door track to effectively “lock” down the door. It’s similar to those small window track locks you can buy for your home interior windows.
10.) Don’t neglect maintenance on the mechanical parts of your roll-up garage door and keep an eye out for corrosion. Don’t forget the door from your garage to your house; check the frame, locks, hinges and any replaceable items.