A strong chain is only as good as its weakest link. When it comes to home security, your garage door could easily end up being the weakest link in the security chain. The average garage door often proves easier to break through than your front door, making it a primary means of entry for 9 percent of burglars, according to recent statistics.
The following offers a few preventative steps you can take to protect your home and lower the likelihood of being a victim of a burglary.
Protect Your Emergency Release Lever
Your garage door's emergency release lever lets you open and close your garage door in case the garage door opener malfunctions. Unfortunately, burglars can use it as a quick and relatively easy means of entering your home. Burglars can pull the lever simply by threading a straightened wire hanger through the top of the garage door. Once the lever is hooked, all it takes is a single pull for an intruder to hit the jackpot.
Fortunately, this surprisingly simple trick can be stopped with a couple of equally simple solutions:
- Run a small zip tie through the hole in the release lever (the same hole that the lever cable is attached to) and a hole in the garage door carriage above the lever. The zip tie adds just enough resistance to prevent a burglar from using the wire hanger trick, but not enough to prevent you from pulling the lever while you're inside the garage.
- Create a "shield" that prevents burglars from hooking the wire hanger onto the emergency release mechanism. You'll need a relatively thin yet sturdy piece of wood, such as a wooden paint stirrer cut down to the appropriate length, to use as your shield.
Hold On To Your Remote Control
Losing the remote for your garage door opener is a lot like losing your house keys – they're small and relatively easy to miss, but you'll want to find them as soon as possible. A lost garage door opener remote could be a burglar's golden ticket into your home.
It's always a good idea to keep track of where you keep your garage door opener remote at all times. In fact, you'll want to keep them directly on your person just as you would your house keys. This gives a potential burglar less opportunity to swipe your remote than if it was laying out in the open.
Speaking of being out in the open, you may want to ditch your visor or mirror-mounted garage door opener unless it's actually integrated into the vehicle itself. A burglar could break into your car, swipe the easily-seen garage door opener remote and use it to gain access to your home and its valuables.
Mix It Up When It Comes to Garage Door Codes
When was the last time you changed the code for your garage door opener remote? Most garage doors use a standard code straight from the factory, making them incredibly easy for a savvy criminal to spoof your remote (such as this rather innovative and highly unusual approach).
Before you start using your garage door opener, make sure you change the standard code to one that's more random and unpredictable to others. Many openers allow you to change the standard codes via keypad or by toggling certain switches found within the unit.
If you have a garage door opener that uses rolling-code technology, then you won't have to worry. Openers with this technology can randomize their access codes on a regular basis, making it nearly impossible for burglars and thieves to get into your garage doors with a similar remote. The access codes themselves are always random and no two codes are used more than once, in most cases.