Securing Your Garage Before Winter Vacation

garage security winter
garage security winter

From homebodies who occasionally drive to town on errands, to people working a steady 9-to-5 job, to retirees who regularly leave for week-long RV trips, home security is a concern.  Thieves strike when they see an opportunity, either something valuable left out in sight or a home that looks like an easy target.  One of the main ways these criminals enter a dwelling is through the garage.  How can you thwart them?  Build up several layers of security.

Garage Door Security

The obvious first step is to keep the garage door closed, but sometimes people forget to shut it.  Consider a garage door timer, which can be set to close the door after a minute or two.

Your garage door opener likely comes with an emergency release lever and an easy-to-grab string, allowing you to open the door when the power’s out. Unfortunately, someone with a coat hanger and a little patience can abuse this system and get in.  Secure your garage in a few ways:

  • Disable the lever.  This option, which can stop thieves cold, may work for homeowners who rarely experience power blackouts.
  • Remove the string.  You can still reach up and use the lever, but you’ve added time and inconvenience to any break-in.
  • Lock the lever.  A padlock or plastic cable tie can be threaded through the mechanism.  In an emergency, you can cut the tie.  In a home break-in, thieves will not be able to open the door.

Next, consider your garage door opener.  With these, you trade some security for the convenience of being able to cruise into your garage.  Thieves can steal the opener or hijack the signal it uses to enter your house.

  • Never leave the opener in the car.  Most garage doors can be operated with a key fob that goes on your keychain.
  • Consider using a manual garage door opening system instead, such as a key and lock or a keypad.

Window Security

Thieves can use a window next to the garage door to look for items worth stealing and see what they’re doing as they probe for the release lever with a length of wire.  They may also bypass your impressively secure garage door and simply break a window, entering that way.  Prevent this with a few easy home upgrades.

  • Add curtains or frosting to the windows’ glass.
  • Install locks on the windows.
  • To truly secure the window, add bars.  If you dislike the look of them, there are removable bars that can be installed inside the garage and set up before you leave on a longer trip.

Home Door Security

Many homeowners overlook a key area of home security: the door connecting your attached garage to the rest of the house.  This door offers a valuable opportunity to stop thieves who have managed to get by your other security methods.

  • Consider replacing a thin wooden door with a stronger model.
  • Install a lock and deadbolt.
  • Reinforce the door with metal plates around the locks and kickplates.

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