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Riverdale Dunthorpe Patrol
P.O. Box 532 Lake Oswego, OR 97034
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Security Tip: Garage Doors

Photo of a garage door with a broken window pane.

Garage Door Security

Think about what you store in your garage. You might store vehicles in your garage, but you likely have other items of value as well. Garages are often used to store lawn mowers, firearms, bicycles, sporting goods and other items that don’t have a place inside the home. Garages are a convenient place to store things, but they are easily accessed by intruders.

The standard installation of an electric garage door opener appears to have an added benefit that the door will be held in the closed position unless a coded signal is received from a remote or keypad, but there is a weakness that you should address. There is a rope hanging down from a lever or latch attached to the top of the garage door. That lever is meant to be a manual release so that you can still open and close the door in the event of a power outage. That same rope can be accessed from outside the garage door by anyone with a wedge and a coat hanger. There are several videos on YouTube that demonstrate this security weakness and at least one shows you how your garage door can be opened from outside in six seconds. Here is a video demonstration.

There are a couple of easy steps you can take to make opening your garage door from the outside more difficult. The first is to remove the handle at the end of the manual release rope. Also ensure there are no other knots tied in that rope. That will eliminate the possibility of an intruder reaching in and pulling that rope with a hook type of device. You will still be able to grab that rope from inside the garage and disengage the door from the electric opener should you need to open the door manually. Now look at the spot where the rope is attached to the manual release. If that release has a lever that a hook grab, you can use a zip tie or some twine to prevent the lever from being pulled. After you have completed those steps, someone would have to reach in from outside to cut the zip tie or twine before pulling that lever and lifting open your garage door, making the task of breaking in more difficult. There are also products designed to prevent direct access to the emergency release latch as shown in this video.

Does your garage door have glass panels? You might consider covering those panels with something that prevents someone from looking in to your garage; if a thief can see high value items, they are more likely to attempt entry. A spray type of “frost” or light paint would make the panel opaque, but still let light in from outside. Another step you can take to add additional security to the glass panels would be to purchase a safety film and apply it to your windows. Here is a link to 3M’s web site for residential safety films.

Does your garage have a pedestrian door? Of course, like any exterior door, you should use the dead bolt lock to secure that door and consider covering any glass panels. If the garage is attached to your home, there is likely a door that provides access between the interior of your home and the garage. You should consider that door to be an external door and secure it with a dead bolt lock.

Photo by: Riverdale Dunthorpe Patrol