Did you know that the point of entry for 9% of all burglaries is the garage? It’s true, most burglars are simply looking for an easy way into people’s homes, and garages are clearly a favourite. Luckily, a little goes a long way in reducing your chances of a break-in. So, if you haven’t taken any steps to secure that oft-neglected part of the house, you’ll now want to, that’s for sure.
But do you know how to? Whether you’ve never experienced a break-in before and simply want to avoid the worst, or whether you have and are looking to protect your home from being targeted again (many homes are broken into a second time within a few weeks!), this article is just right for you. Read on to find out how you can protect your garage from being broken into.
1. Lock your garage door
Let’s start by stating the obvious: keep your garage door locked. Although, it might not be quite as obvious as it seems. Many burglars don’t even have to force entry into the house – they walk right in through an unlocked door. So, the first step is clearly to make sure you don’t leave your garage door open or unlocked, thus making your home appear far less tempting to a burglar looking for a sure thing.
While we recommend keeping your garage door locked any time you’re not actively using it, it’s even more important to do so if you’re going to be away for an extended period of time, for example on holiday.
2. Install motion-activated lighting around your property
Motion-activated lights are an excellent way to protect your garage. Anyone who approaches your house will trigger the motion sensor and find themselves in plain view of any onlookers. It doesn’t necessarily make breaking into your place any harder in terms of having to force entry, but it will definitely deter burglars from trying. Considering that most burglars like to be in and out of houses without drawing attention to themselves, preventative measures such as lights will likely persuade them from trying.
3. Install a security system
Have you already installed an alarm in your house? Well, an alarm for your garage is an equally sensible measure - with so many break-ins starting there. Security cameras are a great addition if you already have an effective alarm system in place.
Having a visible security system (cameras, for instance, or a sign) will also play a huge part in discouraging burglars from trying to force entry. It’s like we said, many of them are just looking for an easy target, and most will not want to risk breaking into a house with security cameras, alarms that will alert the neighbourhood and/or call the authorities. In fact, in a study by the University of North Carolina, 60% of convicted burglars admitted that spotting a security system on a home made them choose a different target.
4. Don’t leave your garage door remote in your car
You wouldn’t leave your house keys outside in your car, would you? Yet a lot of people still leave their garage door opener in their car. And if you’ve parked outside, many burglars won’t hesitate to break into your car first to gain easy access to the garage.
So, what can you do instead? Simply remember to bring your remote into the house with you after you’ve parked your car. If that’s too cumbersome, try a keychain garage remote.
5. Secure the emergency release handle
Garages are generally equipped with an emergency release handle which will manually open the door. Burglars have become wise to this fact as well, and will use it to their advantage if they can. In fact, engaging the emergency release handle with nothing but a coat hanger takes a matter of seconds! So, you will definitely want to take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening to you.
All you need to do is take down the cord on the emergency release handle, and then secure the latch. You can do this using a zip tie, for example, but anything sturdy will do. Your garage is now significantly better protected from break-ins.
6. Tighten security on your garage windows
Another frequent point of access into your garage are the windows. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to make it virtually impossible for a burglar to clamber in through your garage window.
Firstly, just like with the door, you’ll want to keep the windows locked whenever possible. If you don’t open them very often, you could even bolt them shut, for extra security. Placing bars over the windows will also make it impossible for anyone to squeeze through. Finally, consider equipping your windows with alarms.
7. Tint your garage windows
If you prevent any would-be burglars from even seeing what you keep in your garage, you significantly reduce the chance of anyone trying their luck. After all, why go to all the effort of breaking in only to find nothing worth taking?
Try using frosted glass for your garage windows – or you can buy stickers that will make it impossible to see through them.
8. Extra tips: How to minimise losses if your garage is broken into
Okay, so, let’s imagine that the worst happens, and your garage is successfully broken into. What are the steps you will wish you had taken to minimise the extent of the damage?
First off, we recommend not leaving anything valuable in your garage. Again, this seems obvious, but it’s worth the reminder. In the event that your garage is broken into, there won’t be much for the burglar to take.
Secondly, you’ll want to take some steps to secure the inner door that leads from your garage into your home. With a secure inner door, even if someone makes it into your garage, they won’t necessarily be able to gain access to the rest of your home. Always keep this door locked if you’re not using it. You can also reinforce it with a deadbolt, or even alarm it and connect it to the rest of your home’s security system. This is an important thing to do not only with regard to minimising what a burglar can steal, but also with regard to keeping yourself safe. More than a quarter of people who interrupt a home burglary are assaulted. So clearly, keeping your home safe from any intruders should be a top priority.
The bottom line
All in all, protecting your garage is a measure worth considering. If you are reading this article but don’t have a car yet, consider buying or importing it from another country, check out this tool to calculate all the hidden expenses of vehicle import.
Hopefully by this point we’ve convinced you that taking a few small extra steps to secure your garage – and thus your home – is absolutely worthwhile, and equipped you with the knowledge you need to go about doing so. There are many things you can do to discourage a burglar from seeing your home as a target or to make it harder for them to gain entry – and preventing a problem is always better than curing it.
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