Garages are often targeted by burglars. (Data shows that about 9% of burglars gain entry through the garage.)
Before we continue, keep in mind that if somebody wants in, they will get in, it is a matter of time, skills, and tools.
This is why we cannot expect anything to be considered 100% burglar-proof.
The main goal is to deter burglars. The more risky and challenging breaking inside your garage looks like, the higher the odds the burglar will move away looking for another place to hit.
That being said, these are the best steps to take to prevent garage break-ins.
- 1 Secure the Emergency Release Latch
- 2 Secure the Windows of Your Garage
- 3 Reinforce the Side Door in Your Garage
- 4 Lock Your Garage Properly
- 5 Change Old Locks
- 6 Install a Security System
- 7 Install Fake Security Cameras
- 8 Use Motion-Sensitive Lighting
- 9 Choose the Right Type of Garage Door
- 10 Install a Mail Slot Hood Cover
- 11 Change Old Garage Remotes
- 12 Talk to Your Neighbours
- 13 Get a Dog
- 14 Take Some Precautions if You Are Living for a Long Period
- 15 Maintain Your Yard
- 16 Keep the Garage Door Remote Protected
- 17 Use Security Signs and Stickers
Secure the Emergency Release Latch
Automatic garage door openers come with an emergency release latch that can be used to open the door manually. This is useful if there is a power outage or the garage door opener is not working. However, it is also a security risk.
Some garage door frames allow burglars to reach out and flip the emergency release latch and open the garage door using a simple wire hanger.
There is a quick and easy fix.
Using a zip tie, you can lock the emergency release latch, preventing burglars from disengaging it while still allowing you to release the latch from the inside. Just take a look at this video below that covers the notorious “opening a garage door in six seconds” method.
Secure the Windows of Your Garage
Ideally, it is best if your garage does not have any windows on the garage door.
But if it does, consider using stronger plexiglass windows or wired glass (i.e. safety glass). Safety window film can also be used for some extra security.
To prevent burglars from being able to see what is inside, use a frosted film.
Consider installing window bars or glass break sensors if necessary.
Reinforce the Side Door in Your Garage
To reinforce your side door or service door, consider installing a high-quality deadbolt, reinforcing the hinges (and the door’s frame) with longer screws, and reinforcing the door jamb and the lock areas with a metal sleeve.
However, this may still not be enough to prevent a brute force break-in if the door itself is of inferior quality.
Avoid softwood and hollow doors.
Consider investing in higher-quality reinforced doors like solid PVC, wooden, or steel doors, and wrought iron security doors.
Make sure any locks you are using are of higher quality, too. They should be anti-pick, anti-bump, and anti-drill.
Consider using door hinge security pins, door braces, barricades, or security bars if necessary or adding additional bolts.
Lock Your Garage Properly
Most break-ins are crimes of opportunity.
It seems obvious, but it can happen to anyone. Anyone can forget to lock their garage door.
Do not leave your garage door open even if you are home or working in your backyard.
Do not leave the garage door open, even if it is just a few inches off the ground. Many owners do it for air circulation purposes, but this gives criminals a point of easy access. Burglars can also take a quick look to determine if your garage is worth breaking in.
This includes your car and other motor vehicles that you may have inside your garage—keep everything locked at all times.
The pedestrian doors and windows should also be secured and locked.
Consider disconnecting the garage opener when you are away.
Consider blocking the track and preventing the roller from going up by using a lock or a latch.
Many manually operated garage doors come with a slide lock, but if your garage door does not have one, you can install a sliding garage door lock with an L-handle. (Like this one available on Amazon.)
There are also garage openers that will automatically close the garage door.
Change Old Locks
If you are moving to a new home, make sure to change or rekey the old locks.
Both owners and renters often underestimate the risks involved in not doing so since other people may have an old key or a copy of your keys.
Install a Security System
A security system is one of the best ways to prevent garage break-ins. The majority of burglars will avoid breaking into homes and garages if they are actively monitored.
You can use security cameras to cover the area outside and inside the garage.
Glass break sensors, motion sensors, door and window sensors can also be used for extra layers of security.
Many of the newer smart security systems will keep track of the status of your garage door and notify you if it gets opened while allowing you to also operate it remotely.
Install Fake Security Cameras
Dummy security cameras are not real cameras and will not be recording any footage. Nonetheless, they can be an extremely cheap way to make burglars think twice before attempting to break into your garage.
That being said, an experienced burglar may be able to tell the difference between a real and a dummy camera.
Use Motion-Sensitive Lighting
Have the area around your home and garage properly lit up.
Dark areas around your house allow burglars to hide and exterior flood lights can be a good crime deterrent during the night.
A good motion sensor light is a great way to cut down on your electricity bills while ensuring everything around your house will be illuminated when necessary.
Choose the Right Type of Garage Door
There are different types of garage doors, and each one has its pros and cons.
There are side-hinged, up and over, roller, and sectional garage doors. The most secure types of garage doors are considered to be the roller garage doors and the sectional garage doors.
But it is not all about the design. The materials used also matter.
Make sure to pick a secure and sturdy garage door. It should fit tightly and be well-built. You want something that can withstand some brute force and abuse.
Install a Mail Slot Hood Cover
Installing a hood cover to your garage door mail slot, if it has one, may not seem like much, but it will prevent burglars from being able to take a look inside your garage.
Thus a hood cover will keep valuables and potential security weaknesses out of sight.
Change Old Garage Remotes
Garage door openers and their remotes communicate through radio signals by sending specific “codes”.
However, older garage doors used to come with a fixed code. The burglars can intercept that code and replay it to unlock your garage door.
Newer models come with what is known as a rolling code or hopping code.
This technology ensures that each time you close your garage door, the code used by the garage door opener and the remote will change to prevent burglars from copying the code and using it to open your garage door.
Talk to Your Neighbours
If you will be away for longer periods of time, inform your neighbors. Ask them to keep an eye on your home and garage.
Get a Dog
Burglars agree that a dog is one of the best ways to protect your home.
Burglars avoid larger and louder breeds. However, even smaller and yappier dogs can deter burglars as they can raise a lot of noise, attracting attention.
Take Some Precautions if You Are Living for a Long Period
If you are going to be away for a few days, it is recommended to make your home appear as if somebody is living inside.
Burglars are looking for quick hits, and they try to avoid bumping into homeowners. If they are unsure whether somebody is inside or not, many will not bother and look for easier targets.
There are different ways to achieve that, such as leaving a radio or a TV on and setting up some lights to go on and off automatically, asking a neighbor to park their car in your driveway, and pausing your mail, subscriptions, and deliveries while you are away.
Maintain Your Yard
Check your landscaping. Untrimmed bushes, shrubs, trees, and otherwise unkempt gardens and yards may provide burglars with blind spots where they can hide and work on breaking into your garage.
You can take things even a step further and plant some thorny bushes near windows and other areas around your home and garage.
Although many criminals will not be scared away by a fence, a nice taller fence can be a good deterrent, too.
Keep the Garage Door Remote Protected
Treat the garage door remote the same way you treat the keys to your home. Keep it on your person, and do not leave it in your car or in other places where somebody may be able to get a hold of it.
Use Security Signs and Stickers
Even a few simple signs alerting people that the area is being monitored may be enough to deter some criminals. However, make sure to not use branded signs as informing potential burglars of the type of security system you are using is not recommended.