Keep the garage door locked at all times. This would include if you were home or not. Your garage probably contains valuable items such as bicycles, tools and garden equipment. The burglar could drive right into your garage, close the door and load up the goods, or break into your house from the garage by using your tools to force entry. If you are home and the burglar enters your garage, you now have a potential "Hot Prowl" situation. A "Hot Prowl" is a burglary when a subject enters, or attempts to enter your home while someone is home. A hot prowl burglary is dangerous because of the possible confrontation between the subject and victim.
Some security tips for your garage are:
- The entrance door that leads from inside the garage into the home should be a solid-core wooden or metal door with a satisfactory locking device, preferably a dead-bolt lock.
- The door that leads into the garage from the outside yard area should also be a solid-core wooden or metal door with a satisfactory locking device, preferably a dead-bolt lock.
- Wooden overhead garage doors with thin panels should be reinforced on the inside with 1/2" plywood. If your wooden overhead door is old and warped, consider replacing it with a metal rolling overhead door. One of the major benefits of a metal rolling door is that it can't be forcibly opened from the outside.
- As most wooden garage doors have less than satisfactory locking devices, you may wish to upgrade it. In addition, if you have an overhead garage door you can increase security by drilling a hole in one of the tracks, the door, or both, and placing a hook or other device in the hole to stop the door from being opened.
- Double side-hinged garage doors can be made more secure by the installation of cane bolts.
- You may wish to consider installing an automatic garage door opener. This device allows you to stay in the safety of your vehicle until the garage door opens instead of having to get out to open it. Remember though, even if your system is electrically secure, it may be possible to snap the mechanism with a series of strong pulls on the bottom of the garage door. The fact is that the only way to make your wooden garage door really secure is by installing sturdy hasps and padlocks, preferably on both sides of the door. Choose hasps that cover the installation screws. These can be installed on the outside of the door or on the inside to prevent the door from being forcibly pulled open.
- If you use padlocks to secure your garage door, at minimum, the padlock should have a laminated or forged body, a hardened 9/32" double-locking shackle, or a 5-pin tumbler lock.
- A positive point in favor of automatic garage door openers is that the arms and linkage on the door act as a barrier to forced entry. On the negative side, the door may open from a stray signal. Find out whether the unit you are considering purchasing will filter unwanted signals. This equipment can be disconnected from the power source if the house is not occupied for a period of time.
Remember to treat your garage door opener like a key . . . Do not leave it in your car where it can be seen—hide it in the console, glove box or somewhere else in your car, but don't leave it on the visor where it can be seen.