It is often the case that people do not just keep their car in the garage, but they also store a range of power tools, expensive sports equipment and various other valuables which are highly sought after by burglars. Whether your garage is attached to your property or separated from your house, the contents could be at risk if the garage is not secured properly.
How are Garage Doors Forced Open?
There are lots of ways that a burglar can break into your garage. The older the door is, the more likely it is to be targeted, as thieves know they are not as secure as the new modern doors. We are not saying new garage doors are burglar proof, but their modern features make it more difficult for someone to break in.
Older garage doors are at risk of having their locks drilled or cut out completely, whereas new doors protect against this. Older garage doors may also be vulnerable at the top, where the door meets the frame. Modern doors are fitted with a special bar that protects this weak spot from intruders using a crow bar to gain entry.
Types of garage doors that offer more protection are roller or sectional garage doors, and this is down to the way they open. The only way to break into a garage door in this style is to physically cut a hole in the door itself. This is labour intensive and extremely noisy, so this would put off any potential intruder who’s looking for a quick chance taking. However, a more experienced burglar may still find a way in to your garage.
Garage Door Security Features
When you buy a modern garage door, you can be confident that they come with a number of security features that come as standard in all garage door styles and designs. Garage door manufacturers have learned over the years, the different methods a burglar uses to gain entry illegally and updated there designs and security features accordingly.
You’re likely to find the following security features on any new manual garage door brought from a reputable manufacturer today:
- Two locks – one on each side.
- The capacity for two further locks should this be chosen as an upgrade.
- Strong bars which protect the locks from being pried open from the outside.
- The main lock (which you put your key into) is an anti-snap Euro-cylinder lock, which means that – even if snapped or drilled, it still won’t allow access.
General Garage Security Advice
- If you have a household alarm fitted, consider extending the system into the garage area.
- Fit a garage door blocker on the outside of the door.
- Consider fitting a pair of garage door locks that are fitted either vertically or horizontally and can be locked either from the inside or outside of the garage.
- Consider purchasing loop cables. These have a long braided steel cable and a two-bolt anchor locking point. These fix to garage walls or floors and can be passed through expensive property such as quad bikes, etc. Some cables are alarmed.
- If your car is in the garage it makes it harder for the thief to move around to find and take your valuables.
Automatic Garage Doors
For another level of security, you may want to invest in an automatic garage door, as they have extremely secure locking mechanisms. A locking system in an automatic door designed to constantly push the door downwards, until you activate it by pressing the remote.
Other ways to Secure your Garage
You can buy the most expensive garage door on the market, but it still won’t be 100% burglar proof. So it’s worth taking some other precautions to keep your home safe. You might think about installing a security light in close proximity to your garage. This is another method that will deter a burglar, as most intruders like the cover of darkness to conceal their identity. If you do keep extremely valuable items in your garage then it might be worth investing in an alarm system, this works much like a home alarm. If anyone forces their way in to your garage, or someone enters who doesn’t know the code a loud alarm will sound, to alert you someone has entered.
The majority of burglars are opportunistic and are anticipating an easy win, so seeing a heavy duty lock on a garage door could easily deter a burglar. Many burglars strike at a property when residents are distracted, so the installation of motion-triggered security lights will ensure any movement around your garage will not go unnoticed. As burglars aim to complete a robbery in the shortest possible time, any obstructions which require further effort and time will be sure to deter a burglar, such as installing a garage defender to disable the use of the door.
Ensure your Home Security Alarm Extends to your Garage
Keeping your valuables locked up is not just good practice for your home, but for the garage too. As previously stated, burglars are looking to be in and out as quick as possible, so locking up your items may mean a thief doesn’t get to them. If you have a security system or alarm for your home, it is worth ensuring this covers the proximity of the garage too. Even a ‘dummy’ security alarm may deter an opportunistic burglar away from your garage.
Wall/Floor Anchors and Expandable Bolts
Wall and floor anchors are useful if you are storing a bike or anything else large in your garage, as even if a burglar does get in, there is no way they will be able to remove anything attached to a floor or wall anchor (unless they have brought a chainsaw!). Extendable bolts work in the same way, as it gives you a strong fixed point embedded into a wall to attach your belongings.
When looking at improving your garage and outbuilding security, do not forget to include them in your home insurance cover. Calculate the total value of the contents in your garage and other outbuildings, and whether your home insurance payout will be sufficient compensation. If not, consider discussing additional cover with your insurer. In the unfortunate event of a break in, you want to be in the position to claim for the goods missing.
What is ‘Fishing’?
Fishing is a technique used by thieves to gain entry into someone’s garage. They push the top of the door inwards, to create a gap. The burglar can then insert a wire with a hook on the end and try to trigger the release cord. Once the cord is hooked, one good pull will open the garage door, allowing them access.
How to Prevent ‘Fishing’
You can make a garage door ‘shield’ which makes grabbing the release cord with a hook almost impossible. You can use a scrap piece of wood and attach it to the openers arm and secure it with two nails. Make sure you use a relatively weak piece of wood, so if anything (such as your car) runs into the door, it will just break, rather than damage the opening mechanism.
Garage Security Quick Tips from the Police
Up-and-over Manual Vehicle Access Doors
- A single lock fitted to the bottom centre of the door may not prevent the corners from being bent over, especially on older doors. Consider fitting locks to both sides of the door. Make sure it doesn’t interfere with your car’s wheels.
- There are also many specially designed garage door locks that you can fit to the floor. This will also prevent the door being lifted from the bottom.
- Fit a pair of good quality bolts to either side of the bottom of garage door.
Double Leaf Doors
- Make sure that your door is in good condition and the frame is fixed to the structure.
- Use coach bolts on external hinges to prevent them being unscrewed.
- If your doors have glazing, consider installing bars behind them.
- Drop bolts fitted to the bottom of the door will not only prevent the door swinging back when open but will add some extra reinforcement to the door when bolted shut.
Automatic Garage Doors
- Do not carry out any work on automatic garage doors without consulting the manufacturer. Extra work may void any warranty and could cause the door to malfunction.
- The minimum standard for automatic doors is LPS 1175 and rated SR1 or higher or STS 202 (BR1).
Expert Locksmith Guides to Garage Locks
We asked one of our expert Locksmiths Tom what he would recommend for securing you garage door. He said he would use a Pacri Bolt. Pacri Bolts are an additional security measure that are mounted on the back of your garage door and are bolted through with coach bolts. The bolt that secures your garage is around 70mm and it locks into it behind the frame of the garage door. They come with a 4 sided crucifix key for extra security.
The other garage security measure Tom recommended was a Garage Door Defender. There are a few styles and designs to choose from with selecting a garage door defender, but they essentially all do the same thing. A garage door defender is bolted and anchored into the ground in the middle of the door, to provide maximum security. It prevents someone entering your garage by stopping the door from outwardly swinging open. Our Locksmith recommends this because it means that even if the locks are compromised, an intruder should not be able to open the door.
Garage Security FAQs
- Install a security light.
- Install an alarm system.
- Install a garage defender.
- Install wall/floor anchors and expandable bolts
Roller doors are considered safe, if you install a double leaf aluminium roller door, as single leaf steel doors are weaker.
Roller shutter garage doors will also be more secure if you make sure they are made with quality materials, so don’t be tempted to buy the cheapest option you find. Also it’s important that you find a manufacturer that has been producing doors for a few years and are well established.
How easy it is to break into a garage is dependent on many factors; age and condition of the door, where the garage is located and what security is in place. To make sure your garage is secure you will need to check the condition of the door and install a quality lock.