No one really wants to believe that they can be the victim of a burglary, but the fact remains that it is one of the most common crimes in North America. Did you know that there is a residential burglary every 18 seconds in the United States? Canada is only marginally safer – a home is burglarized every 90 seconds in the Great White North. Did you also know that most of those break-ins (60% and 80% respectively) occur during daylight hours?
Those are startling statistics, certainly. However, what’s even more alarming is the fact that your garage door could be the simplest entry point into your home for a would-be burglar. Windows in the wall or door allows thieves to peer in and take inventory of your valuable belongings. Something as simple as failing to lock your car door at the mall could give a burglar entry to your home. How?
It’s actually simple. You go to the local shopping center, but forget to lock your car door. A thief prowls the lot, and finds your door open. He slips inside, snags the garage door opener from the sun visor, and then gets your home address from your registration in the glove box. Just a half hour later, they’re done, and your home has been invaded, your belongings stolen.
Does that sound frightening? It should. Thankfully, there are quite a few ways that you can safeguard yourself against this potential situation.
1. Check the Age of Your Opener
One of the first things you need to do is make sure that you know the age of your garage door opener. If you don’t remember, or never knew because it was installed in the house when you bought it, check under the plastic light cover. You should see the manufacture date on the label there.
If that date is 1993 or earlier, consider replacing the opener as soon as possible. While it might still be in working condition, it’s a security issue. Older systems used a series of DIP switches set to 0, + or – to set the code, and they were easy to duplicate, allowing thieves to get into your garage.
2. Find Somewhere Else to Put Your Opener
Yes, your garage door opener has a clip on the back designed for your car’s sun visor. Yes, that’s super convenient. It’s also very convenient for thieves, too. They can easily spot garage door remotes and then target your car to get it. The best option is to hide the opener out of sight in a place where thieves are unlikely to look.
A better option is to use a mini remote control (375UT). These can be attached to your keychain, so it’s easy to carry them with you and never worry about leaving them in the car. With that being said, we do recommend that you not keep them in your pocket. Very little pressure is needed to activate the button, so place your keys in a dish or countertop when not in use.
If you decide to upgrade, you can actually do away with your garage door remote, as well. Since 2017, LiftMaster has offered MyQ technology that allows you to use your smartphone to open and close the garage door.
3. Prepare If You’ll Be Away for a While
Will you be away for an extended period of time? There are several things you can do to safeguard your home. One of those is to unplug the garage door opener from the outlet. This will completely prevent it from being used to open the garage door at all.
You can also use the exterior keypad – press the lock button and hold it until the indicator light starts to blink. This tells you that it has been activated.
A side lock may be an option to use. You just need to twist the handle to engage it. If you’re not satisfied with the security provided by the side lock, there’s a hole on the end of the arm that can be used to install a padlock for further peace of mind.
The most advanced option is the LiftMaster automatic lock (841LM) that can be used via your smartphone. However, the opener will need to be connected to your Wi-Fi for this to work.
4. Cover the View
Does your garage door have a series of windows set in it? If so, burglars can easily peer through to get a view of what you have inside. It’s also easy for them to use a wire clothes hanger to reach in and pull the manual release latch, and then open the door by hand. Prevent this by covering your windows with curtains, or with an opaque film. If you’ll be replacing the garage door, invest in a model with frosted or tinted glass.
6. Additional Tips and Tricks
Make sure that your door is locked every night. Do a walk-around of your entire home around 9 PM and check all doors and windows, including the garage door. You can augment this with a monitor (829LM) that tells you if the door is closed securely. If you have the LiftMaster MyQ system, you can check for closure via your smartphone.
We also recommend that you invest in exterior lighting – particularly if you’re able to add motion sensors to the package. Security camera connected to your Wi-Fi system can also be a strong deterrent for potential criminals.
Finally, consider placing a radio in your garage tuned to talk radio so that there is always a voice audible. This can scare away potential burglars.
If You’re Interested in Better Security…
Contact us today. We have decades of experience working with homeowners to ensure their garage doors and interiors are secure and protected, and we can do the same for you. Call us direct, or stop by the showroom in person. We would also be happy to send you a price and service quote by email.