Garage and Home Break-Ins: Your Guide to Prevention

Quick question: when are most burglaries committed? If you said “at night”, you’re in the majority. You’re also wrong. Now, what if we were to ask you if you know anyone who would burglarize a home? You’d probably say no, and once more you would be wrong.

There’s so much that most people must unlearn about home burglary. We’ll explore what you need to know below.

Home Alone Movie, two most infamous burglars.

Home Alone’s bumbling duo: the most infamous burglars ever.

Statistics Behind the Myth: What Homeowners Must Know

Want to really have your eyes opened about the reality of burglaries?

Check out these statistics from Aeon Matrix:

  • The majority of burglaries occur during the day, from 10 AM to 3 PM.
  • It takes less than 10 minutes for a burglar to get into and out of your home.
  • Most burglars are smart enough to avoid homes with security systems.
  • Most burglars (65%) know their victims and are familiar with their homes and habits.
  • Most burglars begin their thefts in the master bedroom where valuables are likely stored.

You probably think that your garage is safe. After all, it’s mostly used for junk storage, right? Think again. In fact, you might be surprised that it’s easier than you think to get into your garage!

Here’s a quick rundown of entry points to your home for burglars, compiled by Safe at Last:

  • Most burglars walk right through the front door.
  • A good percentage go through a first-floor window.
  • Your back door is another prime entry point.
  • About 9% of burglars enter through the basement.
  • And 9% of burglars force the garage door.

There’s No Safety in Numbers

You’ve moved to a nice neighborhood. There’s strength in numbers, right? Plus, the better neighborhoods don’t have crime, so you’re safe.

Over time, you lose your fear. You let your guard down. Maybe you’re less religious about locking doors and windows. Perhaps you put out a hide-a-key for the kids.

Here’s the thing: you’re being watched. And it takes very little time for that watcher to pick up on bad habits and weaknesses.

The Commandments of Home Protection

Home Alone most famous picture with young actor Macaulay Culkin

Kevin from Home Alone is a great role model for resilience and self-sufficiency. However, you don’t have to go to the lengths he did to keep the bad guys out. You just need to make sure that you’re doing things the right way.

  • Always lock your doors and windows. There are no excuses here. Lock them.
  • Never hide a spare key anywhere. If you need to leave a key for your kids or something similar, leave it with a trusted neighbor or family member who can bring it by. Better yet, invest in a keypad entry system that doesn’t require keys at all.
  • Skip the trite, cliched stuff. That means no bowl with keys and wallets by the door and no labels on what key goes to what. Always keep your garage door opener with you or locked in the glove box of your car.
  • Those patio doors need extra attention. That’s particularly true for French doors, but even sliders aren’t as secure as you think. Cut a piece of wood or PVC and put it in the track to block the door from opening if the lock is bypassed.
  • Introduce yourself to the neighbors. No, really, get to know the people who live around you. Get to know them well. Yes, that means that you might be invited over for dinner, or they might drop by for Sunday’s game, but that’s the cost of living in a neighborhood. Why bother? Crime is lower in communities where the neighbors know one another personally and have close relationships.
  • Just moved in? Change the locks. Yes, you need to change the locks even on a new home, but it’s doubly important if the home is only new to you.
  • Dark = Curtain closing time. Keep your curtains or blinds open in the day to let in light but shut them when night comes. That helps prevent would-be thieves from telling if you’re an easy target or you have valuable stuff they can steal.
  • Curtains need to be installed in the basement and garage. Yes, that extra light is nice, but the added security of curtains is worth a lot more. Not sold on curtains? Consider something else. Sandblasted glass lets in a lot of light and still prevents people from peering into your space.
  • Set a timer for your lights but not the SAME timer every day. Chances are good you’ve heard the advice to leave a light on when you’re away from home for a time to make it look like you’re there. You’ve also heard that you should set a timer so that the lights turn on and off naturally. Here’s the thing – if you turn the same light on and off over and over, burglars are going to be able to tell you’re not there. Instead, put multiple things on a timer – lights in different rooms and even your TV. That makes it look like you’re home and, really, what burglar is going to check to be sure?
  • Motion detection-enabled lights are your best defense. Put these at your front door, your back door, and your garage door. When the sensor detects motion, the light turns on. It’s that simple. And you don’t even have to be home. If a thief is illuminated in a flood of light while trying to break into your home, do you think they’re going to hang around? Nope. Plus, you get the benefit of a built-in light when you need to go outside.
  • Take a closer look at your yard. Trees, shrubs, and even tall flowers can all give protection to burglars. Make sure to trim everything back and never plant trees or shrubs around the house, particularly near windows or doors.
  • Scout your home as a burglar would. Put yourself in the shoes of a would-be burglar. What weaknesses can you spot? What are your risky areas? Where do you need to double-down on protection?
  • Hide your stuff. Seriously. If you have valuables, make sure they’re not easily spotted through the windows. If it’s expensive, it should be put away. Plus, that certainly helps with cutting clutter and cleaning up the place. Just remember – anything that’s out in the open is also visible to someone peering in through the windows and will just make the temptation that much stronger.
  • Stop posting to social media while you’re on vacation. This is a real no-brainer. If you post that you’re on vacation and not at home, only to come back and find that you’ve been burglarized, there’s a very real possibility that the burglar found out you were out of town from your own post. So, skip vacation selfies and just post about it when you get back.

Not sure just how protected your home is? This Safeatlast blog article gives you the details.

How do you protect your garage from the threat of burglary, though?

The Garage Door Release: Should You Shorten It?

There’s a myth out there that claims adding a tie-wrap and shortening your release cord can help protect your home. Here’s an actual video of these in action: ColoradoRMN video. Let’s be clear on this score: Don’t do it. It’s a myth.

Someone is showing the rope of an electric garage door opener in a garage.

If the rope is too long, a burglar can easily hook it between 2 door sections, grab it and pull it outside in a few seconds. Photo credit: Image from the video

This is not a design flaw, nor is it an actual weak point. The safety release is there for your protection in the case of an emergency.

The manual release is designed to allow you to disengage the garage door opener and open the door when the power’s out. This could be in the event of a severe storm, or it could just be that you’re running late for work and the power’s out. If you want to, you can probably shorten the cord a little, but do not tie it. You could also opt for something a little safer: a garage trolley shield.

The Best Protection: Automatic Garage Door Locks

LiftMaster Automatic Garage Door Lock Picture

It might come as a surprise to some homeowners, but most garage doors can be forced by hand. It really just takes a pry bar or similar tool and a little strength.

You can do several things about this. One of those is to install deadbolts on the door itself, but that requires a lot of drilling and at least some degree of danger. It also makes it that much harder for you to get out of your home when the locks are engaged. A better option is to go with a LiftMaster automatic garage door lock. Considering that the average garage door should last around 25 years, you don’t want to drill holes in it and shorten the lifespan.

Why install a garage door lock, though? Here are 4 critical reasons:

  1. Reliable protection: LiftMaster’s deadbolt locks your garage down securely.
  2. You know you’re protected: The sound of the lock sliding home tells you you’re protected.
  3. It’s automatic: The lock operates in tandem with the garage door opener, meaning you have one less thing to do.
  4. Check the status anywhere: Smartphone monitoring with the MyQ app ensures that you can double-check the lock anywhere, anytime.

A woman checking if her garage door is lock on her smarphone by using the free MyQ app.

Worry-free Performance. Know that your home is secured from anywhere with the MyQ App and Automatic Garage Door Lock.

Smart Technology to Secure Your Home

Smart technology has done some amazing things. One of those is the slightly more advanced version of LiftMaster’s garage door opener. It includes both a microphone and a camera so you can communicate with anyone in your garage while you’re away. Why does that matter? Let’s check out a few reasons.

Why a Smart LiftMaster 87504-267 Opener Is Important?

  1. You’re able to set customized alerts.
  2. You can check your garage door status right from the app.
  3. Use your phone to open and close the garage door no matter where you might be.
  4. Provide access to specific users. This is a great feature if you have a service person coming by or if your child gets home from school before you get off work. It also helps you avoid that whole “leaving a key out for them” thing that we talked about already.
  5. Anytime someone enters the garage, you’ll get a notification on your phone. You’re always in the know.
  6. In-garage deliveries make life so much easier. Plus, you can defeat those porch pirates.
  7. You get real-time visibility into everything happening in your garage.
  8. See someone in your garage? Interact with them. You can ask questions, provide information, and more right through the app.
  9. You can also store video for 7 or 30 days depending on the plan you choose, so you can always go back and re-watch video if necessary.

Here’s How It Works!

The homeowner gets a notification “Garage door 1 opened just now” on her smart phone and sees her children and the babysitter, live on camera, as they enter the garage.

The homeowner gets a notification “Garage door 1 opened just now” on her smart phone and sees her children and the babysitter, live on camera, as they enter the garage.

The built-in camera provides 24/7 live monitoring, along with:

  • 1080p HD resolution
  • The ability to rotate the camera 360 degrees
  • The camera is equipped with both motion detection and night vision

The homeowner gets a notification on his smart phone and sees the neighbor as she enters his garage. “Hi, Rachel!” he says, “the ladder is hung on the left wall”.

The homeowner gets a notification on his smart phone and sees the neighbor as she enters his garage. “Hi, Rachel!” he says, “the ladder is hung on the left wall”.

2-way audio lets you communicate with everyone

  • With the built-in mic and speaker, communication is simple and easy
  • You can enable or disable the mic as needed

The homeowner gets a notification on his smart phone “Alert Occurred – The garage door remains open  and sees that the neighbor who walks the dog as the last to come out from the garage door.

The homeowner gets a notification on his smart phone “Alert Occurred – The garage door remains open and sees that the neighbor who walks the dog as the last to come out from the garage door.

You’re always in the know thanks to this advanced technology:

  • Connected to the MyQ app
  • One-tap open and close from any location
  • Share access without giving away your password
  • Built-in Bluetooth and wireless Internet capabilities

A mom and her daughter are going to the house from the garage. We can see that the garage door has secure door lock.

Important Safety Features of Note:

  • The opener features a long-lasting battery backup so you’re never stuck.
  • The opener automatically senses and prevents forced entry.
  • Every click generates a secure code.
  • Safety sensors ensure that the door never closes if something is in the way.
  • Lights turn on when motion is detected.

Replacing the former LiftMaster 8550, you’ll find that the LiftMaster 87504-267 is unlike any garage door opener you’ve used before. It offers convenience, security, and peace of mind. Plus, you get the benefit of in-garage deliveries so you can let UPS, FedEx, or the mailman in to drop off your packages in a secure location, knowing that they can’t be stolen from your porch.

Want to make sure that your garage isn’t a tempting target? Follow these quick tips:

  • Lock your car.
  • Keep the opener remote on you or in the glovebox.
  • Make sure your LiftMaster accessories are reprogramed. This helps prevent code-surfers from gaining access using an old remote and outdated codes that just happen to match yours.

It’s time to talk with a specialist about your garage door and opener situation.

Get in touch with us by calling 605-332-5188.

We’re here to offer everything from maintenance to repair and installation of garage doors and openers, including LiftMaster’s advanced systems. We have decades of experience, and our passion is for helping our customers make their homes secure and beautiful.

Need a new garage door opener or even a garage door?

At ACS Door Services of Sioux Falls, we provide the guidance and expertise you need. Just give us a little bit of information and we’ll help you start sorting through the options. In the end, we’ll find the perfect solution for your needs, budget, and home design.

Have you already settled on a garage door or garage door opener? Great!

We’re happy to give you a quotation by email.

Need a bit more inspiration?

Take a trip through our residential photo gallery. If you’d rather, you can also use your smartphone to access our Design Centre. It lets you try different garage doors on your home, ensuring that you always know what it will look like.

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