November 30, 2018

6 ways to prevent break-ins through your garage door

Prevent break-ins

Unfortunately, there is a residential burglary every 90 seconds in Canada and every 18 seconds in the US, and surprisingly, about 80% of the Canadian and 60% of the American break‑ins happen during daylight hours.

Unfortunately, the garage door makes for an excellent point of entry for those wishing to gain access to your house. Plus, garages themselves are targeted because of the valuable items often contained within like motorcycles and mountain bikes. Negligence is often the main contributing factor in allowing robberies to occur. Just like the way we forget to lock our car doors while visiting the mall, we often forget to make sure our garage door is secured when we leave the house for the day.

Thieves have been known to look for unlocked cars in parking lots, steal the garage door opener clipped to the sun visor and the address to your residence via your car registration. While you are busy trying on clothes, your house is being burgled with the aid of your very own garage door opener!

The goal of this article is not to make you paranoid, but to offer some tips to help you avoid this kind of situation.

1) If your garage door opener was made before 1993, It is time to replace it.

  • If you are not sure when your opener was manufactured, then take a look at the label on the motor housing. The date is generally found by lifting the plastic cover that protects the lightbulb.
  • If the date is before 1993, then you need to seriously consider changing it for the safety or yourself, your family, and your belongings.
  • Before 1993, the way of coding the signal to operate the opener was via dip switches (in position +, 0, -). It is very easy for thieves to "scan" your code and come back later to enter illegally. After 1993, the signal is coded in a less easy to scan manner.

2) Keep your remote secure inside your car

  • Avoid leaving it clipped it on your sun visor where it is in plain sight.
  • Hide it in a place where thieves won’t think of looking for it (not the center console). If needed, bring it with you in your purse or pocket.
  • Switch to a mini remote control (375UT) that can be clipped on your keyring. However, a word of advice: Be careful where you leave your keyring while at home because if someone inadvertently sits or leans on it, your garage door will open. It only takes a small amount of pressure to activate, and you may not notice that your garage door has been opened giving strangers complete access to your garage and possibly your house.
  • Consider using your smartphone as a garage door opener. This technology was created by Chamberlain / LiftMaster’s MyQ and has been available since 2017.
Mini remote control

3) Consider safety when preparing for a trip

  • The safest way to prevent access while you are away is to disconnect the motor from the electrical outlet. This simple act makes it impossible to use a remote control or to tamper with your exterior keypad to open the garage door.
  • Another option is to press the lock button on the control panel near the access door to your home. Ensure you have firmly pressed the button and that the indicator light is blinking so you know it is engaged before vacating the premises.
  • You can add on a side lock: a lock that installed on the inside of the door and has a steel rod that slides into the vertical rail. You can also lock this side lock with a simple padlock. However, remember to unlock it when you come back from your trip and try to operate your garage door with your remote.
  • Finally, LiftMaster has recently started selling an automatic lock (841LM) that can be activated from your smartphone. Your door opener will need to be connected to Wifi for this system to work.
Automatic lock - 841LM

4) Secure your garage door windows

  • If your windows are clear glass, burglars can quickly observe what you have stored in your garage with very little effort, and if they like what the see, they can use a simple wire clothes hanger, to easily gain access by popping the manual release latch on the track of the door opener.
  • If the windows are clear glass, you should cover them with a curtain, paint or an opaque privacy film.
  • In the event you are planning on changing your garage door soon, make sure you order windows that have tinted or frosted glass instead of clear.

5) Get a more rigid garage door

  • This tip applies to those that have a non‑insulated garage door or one that only has a single panel of polystyrene insulation thus making it flimsier and easy to break through.
  • Instead, select a sandwich‑style garage door, one with both sides covered in steel sheeting. Built to be tough, this type of door stands up to being hit by a steel bar or even attached with an electric saw. And if you choose a door injected with 1 ¾‑inch (45‑mm) thick polyurethane, it’ll be even stronger still.

6) A few more miscellaneous tips to keep you protected day and night

  • Always double check that your garage door is closed before heading to bed for the night. As any police force will advise you, make the rounds checking all of the access doors around 9 pm or so to ensure they are all properly closed and locked. For your garage door, you can purchase a monitor (829LM) that will tell you if your door is firmly closed. What’s more, if you are equipped with LiftMaster’s MyQ technology, you can see it from your smartphone.
  • Exterior lighting for your home and around your garage is essential, but an even better option is installing lighting combined with motion detectors.
  • Consider connecting a security camera to your Wi‑Fi system for added protection that can easily be monitored.
  • Look into getting an alarm system connected to your garage door system.
  • A simple but effective means of defense: leave a radio playing at all times in the garage. Tune in to a talk radio station so that a voice can be heard most of the time.
Security camera

    If the word security means a lot to you…

    It is time to contact us. We know garage doors inside and out and will be able to advise you on the best safety options available. We can explain the best choice to make based on your specific requirements, especially concerning your security, all the while respecting your budget. If you’d like, we can easily send you a quote by email.

    Another option is to come and meet us at our showroom. If changing your garage door is part of your security plan, a useful tool is to try out our Design Centre that can help you choose the style of door that best suits your needs. If you are looking for inspiration? Then peruse our image gallery where you will find many examples.

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