The video demonstrating a garage break-in has amassed millions of views on YouTube. But it very well could have gone viral on Vine, the brief video clip service, too. Why, you ask? Because it only took a wire hanger and six seconds for the intruder to open the garage door – that’s probably less time than it took for you to read this paragraph!
Once your garage (treasure trove that it is with your golf clubs, power tools and lawn, fishing and sporting equipment) has been breached, thieves are just a picked lock away from entering your home. Your garage door could be all that stands between your family and a burglary – or worse.
Tip: Make sure your home, condo, or renters insurance policy includes replacement cost coverage, as opposed to actual cash value coverage, for your contents. Under replacement-cost coverage, your insurer would pay you the amount needed to replace covered items with like-kind new ones in the event of a covered loss. If not, your items will only be covered for their depreciated value.
A Safety Feature Could Render Your Garage Unsafe
Garage doors are one of the most vulnerable entry points to your home. Remote-controlled garage doors have levers that allow them to be opened manually in case of emergency or a power outage. Armed with just a wire hanger, thieves (who have plenty of practice) can quickly maneuver the wire through the door and tug on the emergency release lever. Once the lever has been disengaged, the intruder can simply lift the door to enter your garage.
Important note: Securing the emergency release lever on your automatic garage door with a zip tie is a popular suggestion for preventing the hanger break-in method. However, that’s a violation of Underwriters Laboratories safety standard UL 325, which requires that the emergency release lever be readily available in case someone is accidentally pinned underneath the garage door or if the garage needs to be used as an emergency escape route. An alternative recommendation is to install a small piece of wood above your garage door (the 3:31 mark of the linked video shows you how). You can also check with your garage door retailer to inquire about the security features available for your model.
Florida Home Safety: Burglar-Proof Your Garage
As scary as this scenario sounds, it’s not the most common way thieves enter a homeowner’s garage. Usually, they simply walk in – albeit uninvited – to an unlocked or raised garage door. Consider these nine simple tips to help prevent intruders from entering your garage and home (Tweet These Tips):
- Do not leave your garage door open, even if you are home.
- Install motion sensor lights above your garage door.
- Lock the entry door between the garage and your home.
- If you will be away for a few days, unplug an automatic garage door to make it more difficult for a thief to enter.
- Frost or block garage windows.
- Consider installing an automatic system that will close a garage door that has inadvertently been left open for a period of time.
- Install a peephole in the door between your house and garage in order to see what’s going on if you hear a strange noise, rather than having to open the door to investigate.
- Keep your car doors locked, even in the garage. Take your garage door opener in the house with you, or lock it in the glove compartment of your car.
- Secure any valuables kept in your garage and try to keep them out of sight when the door is open.
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