While you may put a great deal of thought and effort into securing your home from would-be burglars -- checking and double-checking that the doors are locked each time you leave, creating a hard-to-guess PIN for your home security system, or avoiding broadcasting your absences on social media -- you may put much less thought into securing your garage. However, an unsecured garage can render the rest of your home dangerously accessible (particularly if you're not always vigilant about locking the door between your garage and home). What should you do to help increase the security of your garage? Read on to learn more about your door's potential security weaknesses and how to combat them.
Disable the emergency release
One of the quickest ways for a would-be burglar to access your garage is by using the same emergency release lever you may use to open and close your door during a power outage. By using a coat hanger or another type of thin, pliable wire, a burglar can grab and pull this release lever from the outside and use it to open your garage door, waltzing right in and shutting the door behind him or her to rummage through your tools and belongings sight unseen.
You can easily disable this emergency release lever by uncoupling it from the trolley, preventing it from moving the door up and down. If you use this lever very infrequently anyway, you may instead opt to remove it entirely. Although disabling this emergency release will also prevent you from being able to manually open your garage door, if you have access to the inside of the garage, you should be able to reassemble the emergency release fairly quickly whenever needed. Though generally a simple process, if you happen to damage your garage while disabling the release, a garage door repair service should be able to fix it quickly.
Determine whether you have a "fixed" or "rolling" door code
As one security researcher recently discovered, many of the automatic garage door openers sold in the U.S. can be nearly instantly opened by an outdated child's toy that costs less than $100. For doors with electronic codes that never change (fixed codes), this device can scan through the thousands of possible combinations nearly instantaneously, triggering your door to open just as if the burglar had used your own automatic opener. Newer doors with constantly-changing or rolling codes aren't susceptible to this particular hack.
While the thought of someone opening your door in such a manner can be unnerving, the solution is a fairly simple one -- replace your door's opening mechanism with one that has a rolling code. This will bring your door into the modern age and ensure that this type of hacking isn't an option. If you're not sure if your door has a fixed or rolling code, this information is usually available on the door manufacturer's website.
Invest in a remote garage door monitor
The advent of wireless technology has given homeowners many more ways to ensure the physical security of their homes even while away. One application, the remote garage door monitor, can provide you with a live video feed of your garage and even open and close your garage door from anywhere with a wireless internet connection. You'll need to have the camera installed and connected to a secure video feed -- after this has been set up, you'll be ready to monitor your garage around the clock.
Not only can these remote monitoring applications and programs help you improve home security, they'll allow you to let children and pets in (or out) without requiring a trip home. You'll also never find yourself worriedly wondering if you remembered to close the garage door after leaving the house in a rush.