When it comes to home security, the garage is an area which is all too often overlooked. A lack of knowledge of available garage door locks & protection has led to US reports highlighting it as the second most likely point of a domestic break in. Often used to house high value tools, sports equipment, and other everyday bulkier items, burglars see this area as a soft target.
US data also gives a good feel for when most domestic burglaries occur, with approximately 52% during the day, 27% at night & the remainder at unknown times (the owners were away for more than a day and couldn’t tell). The interesting point here is that burglars are more comfortable operating during the day, when they are confident the homeowners will be away. A point worth noting is that most burglar’s are opportunist, they look for soft targets to take advantage of. Interestingly in the UK, the National Crime Recording Standard shows that 3 out of 5 attempted burglaries result in entry to the property. This figure correlates with the opportunistic nature of burglary. By easy measures such as improving the quality of external locks, it quickly makes the job of breaking in a great deal harder. Burglars are usually operating in very small time frames, by extending the time it will take to break in, they are increasing the likelihood of being caught. Hopefully resulting in you becoming one of the reports 2 out of 5 attempts which did not gain entry.
How you fix it
Due to the variety of garage doors on the market today, the options you have to secure them are somewhat case specific. However, 2 products which can be used universally are wireless alarms and security lights. Obviously, security lights are of little use during the day, when we find most burglaries occur, but are a very good deterrent at night. Used in a circuit with other external lights, they can quickly make the property seem far less conspicuous, and greatly increase the risk of being caught. Wireless alarms, obviously, only come into their own if the burglar gains entry, but do a very good job of making them aware that their presence has been detected.
Manual Garage Door Locks
Both of the before mentioned options do nothing to increase the difficulty of gaining entry to the garage. For this, additional security would be required; the main problem with manual garage doors is they are traditionally fitted with a central “T’ handle which is extremely easy to open and offers little in the way of protection. To further highlight this problem, the following was a Master Lock Smiths comments.
“I personally have found the old “T’ handles take roughly about 20-30 seconds to pick open. Modern 1/2 euro cylinder versions can offer greater protection, but most garages are fitted with cheaper, lower end of the market cylinders, and take either 5 mins to pick open or 2-3 mins to drill.” Geoffrey Campbell, Master Lock Smith
Essentially, if you know what you’re doing, then between 20 seconds to 3 minutes is ample time to gain entry to a standard garage lock.
On the plus side, additional garage door locks have come down hugely in price over the past few years. So much so that in the UK, high quality garage door bolts with hardened steel throws are now available at a third of their previous price. These bolts are easy to fit to wooden or metal garages, and would require an angle grinder (a very loud piece of equipment), with quite a bit of time, to remove. Therefore the risk / reward is often too high for the opportunist burglar, and the bolts do their job serving as a very good deterrent.
Electric garage doors
Modern electric garage doors offer greater protection as standard over their manual counterparts. With all locking points internal and nothing shown on the outside of the door they provide no obvious point of attack. One small concern is that no other locking security can be added to this type of door as it will interfere with the automatic opening. However, when equipped with the before mentioned security lights and wireless alarms, the level of overall protection is pretty sound.
It is worth being aware that some electric garage doors are fitted with key override locks. These serve as a good idea for when things go wrong but can make it extremely easy for burglars to gain entry to even electric garage doors.
It’s important to make yourself aware of where your home may be vulnerable; look around, imagine yourself in a burglars position, what would make things harder, their presence less discreet. Once you know, there are great products available to help. Of course, for further advice and support speak to your local locksmith or contact a Master Locksmith firm online. They can help make your home as awkward and unattractive a prospect to a burglar as possible.