Thieves Entering Homes Through Garages: Tips for Keeping Your Home and Family Safe

10 February 2016
 Categories: , Articles


While you may take great care to ensure that your home windows and other doors are as secure as possible, many Americans should put more time and effort into making their garages more secure. In recent years, a startling 50-percent of all home invasions of metropolitan homes were through the garage. While some may have welcomed themselves into garage doors left open by their owners, many likely manipulated electronic door openers and locks or simply used force to open them. What can you do to make your garage secure from these invaders? Read on to find out how to deter both electronically savvy criminals and those who gain entry into garages in other ways so you can keep your valuables and your family safer. 

Deterring Digital Intruders

Garage door opener thefts are on the rise, and thieves are not stealing these openers because they are valuable electronics themselves, but instead, because they can be used to get into your home and access the items inside of it that are much more valuable. Thankfully, you don't have to stop using this convenient device that helps keep you from having to get out of your car during the cold winter or summer heat to open your garage, but you should instead take steps to make sure your opener is secure at all times. 

Ideally, you should never leave your opener remote in your car. Most thieves are stealing them from people's vehicles, and they typically target vehicles parked in front of a home so they know what garage door the remote operates. Instead, store it in your purse, or even better, secure it to your key chain. If you do ever notice it missing, disarm your garage door opener and lock the door manually until you find it. 

Also, if you have a garage door opener that was made before 2003, thieves don't even need your remote to open it. Instead, they can hack into using the radio signal it produces. The only way to prevent this is to upgrade to a newer model that uses today's newer technology that cannot be hacked into the way the older models can. 

Fighting Forceful Entry

Even if you keep your remote safe or don't have an automatic garage door opener at all, there are still determined thieves that will attempt to break into your garage using other types of manipulation. To fight forceful entry, you have to think of how a criminal can gain entry to your garage, then block their ability to use the technique.

Common ways thieves enter garages include:

  • Breaking or using windows. If you work in your garage, then you may like windows that let you enjoy a little outdoor scenery while you work. However, windows can be broken, and a thief can then place their arm or a gadget through the broken window to open the lock from inside. Even the toughest windows made still help thieves break into your garage. Why? Windows allow thieves to see how your garage door opener hardware is set up and helps them get a better idea of exactly what type of door lock you have. They then know exactly what tactics will work to pick the lock or manipulate the hardware and gain entry. Windows also let thieves know whether your vehicle is in your garage or not, and if it's not, they know it is an easy time to strike. 
  • Manipulating your garage opener safety lever. All garage door openers have this safety lever, and many thieves know how to use it to open your garage door. All they have to do is stick a simple wire above the top of your garage door to then pull the lever and gain access in under six seconds. Experts recommend fastening this lever the to bar above it with a plastic zip tie that is thin enough for you to break easily when you do need the safety feature, but tough enough that it will not be easily broken by a thief holding a wire. 
  • Using a lever at the bottom of the door to force it up the track. This is one method that most up-to-date, durable garage doors with non-corroded hardware and tracks can stand up to, but crooks try this when a garage door looks old and worn. If they can tell from a glance that a door has seen better days, then they also know that the hardware holding it up is likely in bad shape, too. This is one type of break-in that is best to prevent by simply updating that worn out door and hardware. There is really no way to trick thieves into thinking you have an up-to-date, secure garage door when it is not. Old corroded hardware not only makes it easier for thieves to break into your home, but it also poses a safety hazard to you and your family that should not be ignored. Consider calling garage door specialist, such as Shank Door, to take a look at the hardware.

If you often worry that your garage offers an easy home-access point to thieves, then unfortunately, the statistics show that you may be correct. However, not all garage doors thieves target can be broken into, and by following the above tips, you can make your garage very secure against potential home invaders.