BURGLARS WHO BREAK INTO YOUR GARAGE have two terrific opportunities to ply their trade:
- They can steal a bunch of stuff from your garage. Besides your car, this: area can and usually does hold some valuable items like lawn equipment,: bicycles, snow blowers, and if you’re handy, expensive tools.
- They can easily gain entrance to your house for a bigger haul, since: attached garages have an inside door (usually unlocked or poorly protected): that leads straight to the mother lode.
For those of you who think that the garage door is not a frequent access point: for break-ins, 9 percent of burglars go through the garage. Not necessarily a high: percentage, but when you consider that there are over 2 million home burglaries: reported each year in the U.S. (that’s just reported), you realize that the number is in: the hundreds of thousands. What’s more, a YouTube video demonstrates how a thief can open a garage door in just 6 seconds by manipulating the emergency release: lever on the inside with just a wire hanger.
All is not lost, however. The often-neglected garage door can be made much: safer with some of the smart home technology that is so effective at protecting the: other parts of your home.
App-Controllable Garage Door Systems
The job of a smart garage door system is remarkably simple:
- It lets you know if your garage door is open or closed.
- It allows you to open and close your garage door from anywhere, via an: Internet connection and a downloadable app (usually free).
There are other nice features available (audible alarms, text or email: notifications, etc.), but these are the basics. With that said, there are a number of: systems on the market that can perform this two-fold chore quite well:
- Garageio from Alottazs Labs, pictured at top, can be easily added to an: existing garage door opener. It allows the garage door to connect to a home Wi-Fi network, so that users can open/close it from a smartphone via Garageio’s: proprietary app.
- GoGogate lets homeowners operate their garage door or gate from anywhere. They can also share and control the access to it from a single app.
- With the MyQ Universal Smartphone Garage Door Controller from Chamberlain, you can control your garage door from anywhere in the world via Wi-Fi and your smartphone. It works with your home’s Wi-Fi and features a free app: with no service fees.
- Use the Telguard GDC1 Universal Garage Door Control Switch with a home: automation system to receive notifications if the garage door has been opened or to: ensure that the door closes at a specified time each night.
- The BTMate GarageMateControl allows control of multiple garages with a: single app. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 and offers free unlimited app licenses.
- The Linear GD00Z-4 Z-Wave Garage Door Opener Remote Controller: Accessory is compatible with virtually any automatic garage door opener. It can: open or close the door remotely through a Z-Wave certified gateway or security: panel.
It’s likely there’s a light fixture right above or: next to the garage door. Replace it with a light: fixture that features a built-in motion detector.: Alternatively, you can add a standalone motion: detector that will connect to the existing lights.: Whether integrated with a light or operating on: its own, a motion sensor can be set up to trigger: an alarm and/or text your smartphone should it: detect activity around the garage door.
A garage door contact is a version of the magnetic switch used to protect windows: and standard doors, but built tough enough to withstand the harsher outside: environment to which the garage door is exposed.
A garage door contact is installed on an overhead: garage door and connected with low-voltage: wiring to a home security system. It can be an: extremely effective security tool, sending out an: audible alarm when the garage door is opened.: What’s more, a remote door sensor can be: set up to trigger a silent alarm by sending a signal: to a remote monitor or receiver when the door is: opened. This functionality can be greatly enhanced: by pairing the sensor with a wireless home: security system, which can include video surveillance cameras, motion detectors, and: other smart devices.
(Overhead door contacts should not be confused with the photoelectric garage: door sensors that prevent the door from closing on an object.)
Protect the Other Doors
Once a burglar is inside the garage (specifically an: attached garage), it can be quite easy to get through the: inside door that leads into the house. And don’t forget,: many garages have a side door that is often as improperly: protected as the inside door. In any plan to protect the: garage, these doors have to get strong consideration.: At the very least, put a deadbolt on both of these: doors. A keypad or touchscreen smart lock, such as the: ones offered by Kwikset, Yale, and Schlage, will provide an: excellent level of protection.
There are a variety of other ways to make the garage door: more secure, including the addition of surveillance cameras,: motion-activated floodlights, even peephole viewers. The level of security you add: should be based on the value of the items stored in the garage, how well protected the: inside doors are, and your budget. But whatever you do, make sure the garage door has: a prominent spot in your overall security scheme.