7 Ways to Protect Your Garage From Burglars

Here are a few simple ways to deter burglars from getting into your garage.

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Garage burglars breaking in
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Why garage security matters

Garages can be an attractive point of entry for burglars. The doors can be weak links, even offering a way into your entire house. However, there are a few simple and cheap things you can do to make your garage more secure. Here, you’ll find some simple steps to secure and reinforce service doors, overhead doors and windows.

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Garage door opener clipped to sun visor
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Don’t leave the garage door opener in your car

Thieves know right where to look for your garage door opener remote—clipped to the visor in your car. To avoid giving them easy access to your garage, take the remote with you when you leave the car. The handiest way to do this is to replace your big remote with a small keychain version (sold at home centres or where you bought your garage door opener). Match the remote to the brand and year of your opener. Then follow the instructions for programming it.

If you’ve lost the remote for the garage door opener, it’s possible that it has ended up in the wrong hands. To be safe, follow the instructions that came with your opener to reset the code, disabling the lost remote.

Discover more sneaky ways burglars can break into your home.

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Key into door lock
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Fortify the service door to your garage

For a service door, the solution is to install a good-quality dead bolt and reinforce the doorjamb and hinges to resist a brute-force attack. The best dead bolts have an ANSI Grade 1 rating, but even a Grade 2 lock will provide above-average security. Look for the rating on the package.

But even the best dead bolt won’t help if the doorjamb and door aren’t reinforced. Before installing the dead bolt, strengthen the lock area of the door with a metal sleeve. Then, install a strong strike plate that’s securely attached to the wall framing with long screws.

Hinges that are installed with the usual 3/4-in. screws are nearly as easy to kick in as a basic door latch. So while you’ve got the drill and screws handy, remove one of the short screws nearest the weather stripping from each hinge and replace it with a 3-in. screw. If you have an attached garage, use these same methods to reinforce the door from the garage into your house.

Also make sure to keep this door locked; otherwise, a burglar who gains access to the garage can walk right in.

Here’s more advice on how to outsmart burglars.

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Motion sensor lights
Family Handyman

Install motion sensor lights

Replacing light fixtures with ones that have a built-in motion detector is an easy way to make your house and garage more secure. Burglars will be reluctant to jimmy open a door or window when they’re working under a bright light. Or you can add a standalone motion detector that connects to your existing lights.

Don’t use compact fluorescent bulbs in the light fixture. They take too long to light in winter, giving thieves extra time.

Find out the most sought-after items on every burglar’s hit list.

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Window covered by mini blinds
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Cover garage windows

To prevent burglars from casing your garage, cover glass so they can’t window shop. Use curtains, shades or blinds as garage window covers.

You can also apply a translucent film to the glass to garage windows that obscures vision but still lets in light. Plastic film like this is available in several patterns from the window covering department of home centres as well as at full-service hardware stores and window covering retailers.

Here’s how to blur out your house on Google Maps (and why you should).

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Window latch shut
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Ensure windows are locked

If they can’t simply enter through an open door, burglars will often try to come through windows because most are relatively easy to pry open or break. Breaking a window is their last choice because of the noise.

Luckily it’s not difficult to eliminate this potential security gap, simply by making sure windows are locked. First, make sure to lock windows if possible. If you have windows that you don’t open, screw them shut.

Check out these car security tips while you’re at it.

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Garage door opener motor
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Disable the overhead garage door

When you go away on vacation, unplug the garage door opener. If you don’t have an opener, padlock the latch or disable the door by putting a bolt through one of the holes in the garage door track. This will prevent someone from coming in through the overhead door while you’re away.

Use these car anti-theft devices to protect your ride.

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Organized garage
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Close the garage door

Leaving the garage door open is  an invitation to burglars, not to mention that you’re really presenting a storefront window display of your possessions to anyone driving by. But if you’re like a lot of other people and tend to forget to close the door, or have kids who forget, there’s an easy solution. Install a device that signals your garage door opener to close the door after a predetermined amount of time.

You can set the amount of time that elapses before the door closes, or override the control if you want the door to remain open. It takes about an hour to install the sensors on the garage door track and the keypad that connects to the opener control.

One more point: When you’re leaving for work, don’t just hit the remote button to close the door and then drive away. Wait until it closes to make sure it doesn’t reopen.

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The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman

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