Securing Your Home Against Break-Ins through the Garage

Most people live with a lot of assumptions about home burglaries. One of those is that they only happen at night. Another is that they’re only committed by strangers. The truth is vastly different, though. Those assumptions can leave you open to a wide range of threats. In this article, we’ll set the story straight.

Home Alone Movie, two most infamous burglars.

Sadly, most burglars are not as amusing as these two from Home Alone.

The Truth Is in the Numbers: What Homeowners Should Know about Burglaries

Let’s step out of the myth and into reality, shall we? Check out these statistics surrounding home burglaries:

Note that all states come from Aeon Matrix

10 am and 3 pm are the golden hours for home burglaries.

● The average burglary takes under 10 minutes.

65% of burglars know their victims. There’s a chance that you’re on good terms with the folks who’ll rob you.

● The master bedroom is the primary starting point for burglaries.

So far, none of these stats pertain to the garage, though. That means it’s safe, right? No one would think to open the garage door – it’s so big everyone would notice, right? And what would thieves want with all your bric-a-brac and holiday decorations, anyway?

Actually, the truth is that the garage is not as safe as you might think. While burglars might often head to the master bedroom to steal your jewelry, they don’t enter through the bedroom. So, where do they get in?

Safe at Last points out the following entry points:

● The front door is used 34% of the time.

● A first-floor window is used 23% of the time.

● The back door is used 22% of the time.

● The basement grants access 9% of the time.

● The garage door is used 9% of the time.

The Lie of Safety

There’s this notion that suburban neighborhoods are safe. You pay for a sense of community and no one in the community would dare to break into your home.

Gradually, we lose our fear and sense of caution. We begin to relax. It’s a peaceful, quiet place and nothing untoward happens. Maybe we start leaving the key inside a planter on the front porch. Or perhaps you stop locking the doors completely because you feel so safe.

Here’s the thing: it takes only a moment for an observer to spot what we do with keys and locks. Then they can exploit those weak points.

Commonsense Home Security Steps

Home Alone most famous picture with young actor Macaulay Culkin

Worried about home security? You might be tempted to take a page out of Kevin’s book, but the truth is you can start with a few basic safety practices to help protect your home and family.

Lock your doors. Seriously, they should be locked at all times, even when you’re at home.

Never, ever, ever hide a spare key anywhere around your home. Seriously, just don’t do it. Instead, leave a key with a trusted neighbor or with a family member who can bring the key by when there’s a need.

Don’t keep your keys and wallet in a bowl in the entryway. Don’t go label-happy and print out what keys go to what. Keep your garage door opener out of sight and in a locked car.

Secure those patio doors. Patio doors, particularly French doors, are easy to force even when they’re locked. Here’s how to secure them: Get a piece of PVC pipe and put it in the slider track to keep the door from being opened. For French doors, install deadbolts at the top and bottom of both doors.

Create a sense of community. Want to really cut down on burglaries? Get to know your neighbors. There are fewer burglaries in areas where people know one another and watch out for each other. You’ll watch your neighbors’homes, and they’ll watch yours. And those neighbors who have weird schedules? They’re great assets because they can keep an eye on things when others cannot. But what if those neighbors show up at your home “just to chat” or they come over to watch the game on Sunday? So much the better! You’ve now met good people and expanded your sphere of friends. And isn’t community what it’s really all about?

New home or new-to-you home? Change the locks.

Close your curtains at night. Most burglars are from your neighborhood or they come through regularly. Close your blinds in the evening so that 1) they cannot see your stuff and 2) you don’t look like such easy prey.

Add window coverings to basement and garage windows. Windows in the garage let in lots of natural light, but they can also be unprotected points of access. Window coverings here and on basement windows help reduce the chance of people peering in and deciding to break in. Don’t want window coverings? You can use sandblasted glass instead and still get the daylight you want.

Set timers for indoor lights. Chances are good that when you leave the house, you also leave a light or two on. You do that whether you’re going out for the evening or on vacation. Here’s the thing – don’t you think that would-be thieves can tell that there’s really no one home? When people are home at night, lights go on and off. The same lights aren’t always on. Setting timers for different lights in the home and even the TV can add an element of ambiguity, though. Is someone home? Maybe, maybe not, but most thieves won’t chance it.

Add motion-activated lights at all entrances. Want a cheap burglar deterrent? Add motion activated lights to your front, back, and garage doors.

Take another look at your yard. One of the largest threats to your home? Your landscaping. If you’ve got overgrown bushes and huge trees near the house, they provide the perfect cover for would-be thieves. It’s time to take things down – eliminate hiding places, cut out cover, and make sure there’s nothing that could harbor a thief anywhere close to your doors or windows.

Examine your home and think like a burglar. Put yourself in the shoes of a would-be burglar. Look at your home’s exterior with a critical eye (day and night). Is there a spot that seems particularly easy to climb? Are there windows that aren’t secure? Dead spots in your light perimeter? Can you spot valuables through the windows? Anything you see, fix it.

Hide your stuff. Seriously, the simplest thing in the world is just to remove the temptation altogether. Hide your valuables and make sure that expensive electronics can’t be spotted through windows. Put away gaming controllers and other items, too. Not only will your home be more secure, but it will be neater, too.

Skip the Facebook vacation announcements. You know what burglars love more than anything else? When homeowners announce that they’re going on vacation and will be away. That’s what you’re doing with all those social media posts. So, stop it. You can share pics when you get back and you’re no longer inadvertently inviting ever ne’er-do-well in the neighborhood to enter your home.

You can also check out this Safeatlast blog article to find out just how safe your home really is.

Finally, it’s time for the kicker. How do you stop thieves from entering through your garage? We’ve got all the details for you right here.

Is It Wise to Shorten the Length of the Garage Door Release Cord?

According to this this ColoradoRMN video, you should consider shortening the cord to your garage door release mechanism.

Someone is showing the rope of an electric garage door opener in a garage.

If the rope is too long, a burglar can easily hook it between 2 door sections, grab it and pull it outside in a few seconds. Photo credit: Image from the video

Don’t follow this advice! The cord and release mechanism are there for your protection and following the guidance in this video could put you and your family in danger.

The release mechanism is designed to allow you to open the door if the opener is no longer working, such as in the case of a power outage. So, adding a zip tie kind of defeats the purpose. However, you can do a couple of things. You can shorten the cord as long as you can still reach it when necessary. You can also add a garage trolley shield.

Go with a Pro Solution – An Automatic Garage Door Lock

Yes, most garage doors can be forced with a little strength and a decent pry bar. Does that mean you need to add deadbolts to the bottom of your door? Probably not. There’s a lot of arguments against that, not the least of which is that it could compromise your safety in the case of an emergency.

LiftMaster Automatic Garage Door Lock Picture

What should you do instead? Preserve that quality garage door and skip drilling holes in it. Instead, opt for an automatic garage door lock like the ones that LiftMaster offers. These will automatically lock the door when it’s closed so you don’t have to worry.

Why bother? Here are 4 compelling reasons.

1- Full protection: It’s nearly impossible to force a deadbolt.

2- You know you’re protected: You hear the bolt sliding home.

3- No extra steps: The lock automatically operates when the door closes so you never forget to lock the door.

4- Tech-enabled: Smartphone monitoring with the MyQ app ensures that you’re always in the know about the state of your garage door.

A woman checking if her garage door is lock on her smarphone by using the free MyQ app.

The MyQ app and automatic garage door lock offer stress-free living.

Enter Smart Home Technology…In the Garage!

These days, smart technology is everywhere, but it’s been notably absent from the garage. No longer! LiftMaster now offers a smart garage door opener that includes both two-way audio and a built-in camera.

9 Advantages of a Smart LiftMaster 87504-267 Opener

1- Set custom alerts.

2- Get live status updates on your door.

3- Operate the door remotely from anywhere with Internet access.

4- Allow access to designated others. That can include your kids, a housekeeper, repair person, or someone else. Do it without lending a key or giving out your password.

5- Receive live notifications right on your phone when someone enters or leaves the garage.

6- Allow delivery people to drop your orders right in the garage (if available in your area).

7- Get real-time video of what’s happening in the garage.

8- Interact with other people in your garage remotely.

9- Explore past activity with 7 or 30-day storage options (monthly subscription required).

So, how does it work?

The homeowner gets a notification “Garage door 1 opened just now” on her smart phone and sees her children and the babysitter, live on camera, as they enter the garage.

The homeowner gets a notification “Garage door 1 opened just now” on her smart phone and sees her children and the babysitter, live on camera, as they enter the garage.

The built-in camera ensures that you can always see what’s going on in your garage. You also benefit from 1080p video. Need a better view? Change it with the built-in 360-degree manual rotation capabilities. The camera also features night vision and motion detection capabilities.

The homeowner gets a notification on his smart phone and sees the neighbor as she enters his garage. “Hi, Rachel!” he says, “the ladder is hung on the left wall”.

The homeowner gets a notification on his smart phone and sees the neighbor as she enters his garage. “Hi, Rachel!” he says, “the ladder is hung on the left wall”.

Hear and communicate with 2-way radio. You can even disable or enable the mic as necessary.

The homeowner gets a notification on his smart phone “Alert Occurred – The garage door remains open  and sees that the neighbor who walks the dog as the last to come out from the garage door.

The homeowner gets a notification on his smart phone “Alert Occurred – The garage door remains open and sees that the neighbor who walks the dog as the last to come out from the garage door.

You’re in control at all times thanks to Wi-Fi connectivity and smart technology.

● Connects with your MyQ system.

● You can operate the door from any location via your phone.

● Share access with designated people and set custom notifications.

● Integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to make your life easier.

A mom and her daughter are going to the house from the garage. We can see that the garage door has secure door lock.

Safety Features to Protect Your Home and Family

Battery Backup – never worry that you cannot open the door in the event of a power outage.

Electronically protects against forced entry, defeating bad guys with pry bars easily.

Secure coded access to ensure full protection.

Safety sensors that ensure the door never closes if something (or someone) is in the way.

Motion-detection lighting ensures you’re never tripping over things in the dark.

Replacing the LiftMaster 8550, the LiftMaster 87504-267 door opener embodies next-generation technology. It’s a world away from what most people think of when they picture garage door openers. It offers convenience, security, and advanced operation.

It’s also a nod to the world we live in, where porch pirates are everywhere. This technology allows you to enjoy secure in-garage deliveries to protect your stuff and your peace of mind.

Other than installing a smart garage door opener, here are a few other things you can do to help make your home a less appealing target.

● Always lock your car. Even in your own driveway.

● Always hide your garage door opener. Never leave it on the seat or clipped to the visor. Better yet, keep it on your person.

● Use LiftMaster accessories to make sure another remote control cannot open your garage door. Older technology isn’t foolproof, and thieves have learned that old garage door openers can work wonders for granting them access to other homes and will drive around clicking the button to see what opens up.

Don’t go it alone. Talk with a garage door specialist.

Need a specialist? Contact us at 603-524-4778.

We’re happy to help with anything you might need, from maintenance, to repair or installation of your garage door or your garage opener. We’re knowledgeable and passionate about protecting your home while ensuring that your door looks great, too.

Thinking about buying a new garage door opener or a new garage door?

At Laurent Overhead Door Systems, we can help. Just answer a couple of questions and we can provide you with the guidance and advice you need, including walking you through the various garage door styles available on the market today that will fit your home and your budget.

Already know what garage door you want?

Just request a quotation by email.

Want to see your options?

Take a minute to explore our residential photo gallery. You should also give our Design Centre a shot. It’s an interactive experience that allows you to “try on” garage doors using your own home!

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