Earlier this year, on a quiet residential street in Anderson, Indiana, police arrested a burglar who went to great lengths to get inside their homes.
One particular victim, who asked not to be identified stated, “First video clip, I see a guy walking up my driveway, he’s carrying a satchel, there are different cameras picking him up walking around the house, peering in the windows, looking around the house trying to figure out where he’s going to make his entry.”
Eventually, the burglar, identified by police as 41-year-old Gregory Sills, chose to break into the home through the garage door.
In the bag Sills was carrying, was a power saw that he used to cut a hole in a garage door and then climb up into the victim’s attic.
According to police, they believe Sills was trying to break into the home without setting off the security system.
The problem for Sills was the homeowner had a complete security system including video surveillance, which he relayed to responding police officers.
When police moved in to catch the suspect the homeowner told them exactly where he was in the house, but Sills did not immediately give up until the Anderson Police Department’s K-9 subdued him.
All thanks to the victim’s real-time home security video.
The reality is, a burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the U.S. and 30% of burglars entered the home through an unlocked door, window or other opening without resorting to force.
In addition, the average burglar spends one minute breaking into most homes, so they are usually looking for the entry with the least resistance, which might be your garage door.
Now, the thing about breaking in through a garage door is that there are so many different ways criminals actually do it.
One of the most common ways is by simply getting a garage door opener from a car parked outside the house.
Another method used by criminals is by figuring out the “rolling code” of the garage door opener or even hacking the code for so called “Smart” garage door openers.
Lastly, there is another (more difficult) way that criminals open garage doors.
In short, they take a metal coat hanger and slide in through the top of the garage door and use the hanger to pull the red emergency handle that you would pull to disengage the garage door.
Then they simply lift it up like you would do if the garage door were broken.
As you can see, garage doors can easily be opened, but homeowners often overlook them when it comes to home security.
So, here are some tips for securing your garage door to hopefully prevent anyone from breaking in.
Use a zip tie/ remove the red release handle. Most garage doors have an emergency release located on the inside of the door, which is useful in an emergency or when your garage door is broken since you can simply lift the door up.
The problem is, it creates vulnerability by allowing burglars to activate the release with a wire from outside the door, much like breaking into a car door with a coat hanger.
First, remove the release rope and handle, which will make it more difficult for criminals to use this method. Next, take a zip tip and secure the emergency release that the handle was tied to.
This way, nobody from the outside would be able to pull the release, however, you could still use it in an emergency by cutting the zip tie.
Don’t use an exterior keypad, keep garage openers inside. Many garage doors feature a security keypad on the outside of the house that can be used to open the garage door with a code.
If you have one, can someone easily guess the entry code? What if it’s destroyed or the batteries are removed? This is one more way someone can try to get into your garage.
If you don’t absolutely need it, remove it. Another thing is, many people keep garage door openers in their car on the visor.
You need to remove it just like you would your car keys. In other words, treat it like car keys and take it inside with you.
Install a garage door lock or padlock. Many companies including LiftMaster make a garage door lock that basically keeps the garage door from sliding up.
Now, many of these products work off your existing garage door opener, meaning they lock and unlock when you use the remote to open and close the door.
Another cheaper option is to simply put a padlock on the garage door rail that prevents it from moving just like the locks do.
Of course, with a padlock you would have to manually remove it every time you wanted to open and close the garage door, so I would only do this if you’re going on vacation for several days.
Chances are your garage door is probably one of the last entryways to your home that you think about burglars using.
However, they will always look for the easiest way to get into your home, which may be your garage, especially if you have windows they can look through to get a layout of the garage.
So make sure to cover any windows and consider the steps above to keep your garage door secure.