Keeping Your Car Safe in the Garage
The one place you think your car might be safe is locked up tight inside the garage. But, a car can be vandalized, stripped or stolen right from your garage. Garages have weaknesses, and to protect your car and house, the best thing a car owner can do it to have an awareness of those weaknesses and deal with them before they become a problem.
The garage should never have windows, but if it does, cover them with curtains or no-see-through material. If the garage door has windows, include them as well. You want to make it so no one can look in and see if your car is there-- or gone. Windows in the garage door make it easy for a thief to run a wire coat hanger through the frame of the garage door and see in while he fidgets the emergency release lever. Use a zip tie in the lever hole: you can still use the emergency release lever, but a thief can’t open it with a wire coat hanger even if he breaks the garage door glass.
If your garage windows are big enough to crawl through, there are many tutorials available on how to put do-it-yourself steel bars across them.
Keep the garage closed
When you’re home, keep your garage door closed. If you forget to shut it reasonably often, put a timer on it that makes it close automatically after a certain amount of time. One of the reasons you want to keep your garage door shut is that there are only a couple of elements which need to be in place to create a theft situation. Many of those situations follow a natural progression that looks like this:
1) The homeowner doesn’t lock their car when they’re home.
2) The garage door opener is in their car. Maybe clipped to the visor.
3) The homeowner doesn’t usually lock the door between the house and garage.
4) The homeowner leaves the car key somewhere just inside the door.
The thief can slip into a garage and snag that garage door opener right out of the car, maybe even while you’re carrying in your groceries!
When the homeowner tries to leave the next morning, he can’t find the opener. He’s in a hurry, so he grabs the spare, thinking the opener probably fell under the seat or the wife took it, or—he has a meeting in twenty minutes!
Now the thief has access to the garage and the unlocked car.
Once an intruder breaches your garage, they have the benefit of being out of sight while they decide to steal the contents of the car and garage or even steal the car. Depending on what you have in the car, either of these is an option.
Remember our homeowner who couldn’t find his remote? The thief had his garage door opener. After the homeowner went to work, the thief used the garage door opener, shut himself in the garage, and used the homeowner’s own tools in the garage to break down the door! How could this have been prevented? He could unplug the garage door opener or thread a bolt or padlock through the garage door track so the garage door won’t work.
To summarize, the wise car owner covers his garage windows. If they’re big enough to crawl through, he puts bars on them. He ties a zip lock through the emergency release lever hole. He keeps his garage door closed, even when he’s home. He has a deadbolt and reinforced door between the garage and house, which he keeps locked. His garage door opener is the keychain variety.
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