While most homeowners will invest in strong locks and advanced security for the exterior doors of their home, it won’t occur to them to provide the same protection for their overhead garage door. Yet, most burglars will simply target the easiest entry point—and for many homes, that’s the garage.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to consider beefing up your garage door security. Here are some steps you can take to better protect that area.
Steps to Increase Garage Door Security
Step 1: Remove temptations
Don’t give thieves a chance to scope out the contents of your garage. Chances are they aren’t looking to invade your home—they just want to grab the most expensive items they can access, and that’s often the tools or sports equipment you’re keeping in your garage.
A pricey compound miter saw or fancy mountain bike is much easier to snatch than the jewelry or electronics in your home. Make sure the garage windows are covered with curtains or blinds, frost the panes on the door with a privacy film, and never leave the garage door open, even if you’re around.
Also, make it a point to secure your remote garage door opener—keep it out of your car, or at least out of sight. Many people clip their opener to their car’s sun visor or throw it in a cup holder, but this can be as tempting to a robber as a wallet or purse left in the front seat. Instead, carry your remote with you, or at least stash it in your glove box.
Step 2: Add deterrents
There are many ways to dissuade people who are thinking about entering your garage from actually doing it. Install a floodlight over the garage door and turn it on at night to keep the area illuminated. If you’d rather not have a bright light on all night, put in motion sensors that will automatically activate the floodlight if movement is detected.
Mounting a security camera in a visible area by the garage door can have the same effect of making would-be intruders think twice.
If you have an automatic system for your garage door, adding a “smart” opener can offer great security. In addition to giving you the capability of opening or closing your door from an app or assistant, these smart devices can alert you when the door is opened unexpectedly. This is a particularly helpful function to set up for when you’re on vacation.
Most automatic garage doors feature an emergency release cord, meant to provide a way to open the door when the power is out. Unfortunately, the cord also provides burglars with an easy way to open your garage door from the outside—all they need is a clothing hanger to fish out the cord through the top of the door. Consider shortening the cord by cutting or knotting it, or installing a garage shield to block access to the cord.
Step 3: Install effective garage door security locks
Most homeowners will reinforce their front door with a combination of deadbolts, chain locks, barrel bolts, and other effective barriers, but leave the connecting door between the garage and the house completely unprotected. Secure this entry point by installing at least one powerful lock and making it a habit to actually lock it.
Many homes also feature an exterior door that leads into the garage, called a service door. Give this door the same treatment as you would the front door—make sure it’s guarded by a combination of effective locks. A home is only as secure as its weakest point, and for many houses, that’s going to be an exterior door that’s not the front door.
Finally, if your garage door features a handle for manual opening, think about replacing that handle with one that has a lock. You can also mount hardware on the inside of your garage for locking the garage door itself. With this type of lock, there’s a bar that you slide into a locking position to secure the door.