Your home is not secure unless your garage is. Statistics show that up to 40% of all non-forcible burglaries gain entrance through an attached garage.
Even if your garage is not attached to your home, it usually contains several valuable items. Tools and ladders from your garage can be used against you to gain entry to your home.
Having a well lit area has been proven to prevent a large portion of burglaries. Use motion detector controlled lighting around all doors and windows. Don't forget the garage door or back doors.
Burglars love overgrown plants which block the view from the street and neighbors. Keep your plants trimmed, especially around windows and entrances. You can even plant "spiny" (with thorns) plants under windows. These are more effective than barbed wire.
All entrance doors should be solid core wood or insulated steel. Hollow core doors are too easy to break through. Hinges should be on the inside so burglars cannot use a screwdriver to remove the entire door.
If your doors have glass panels, make sure your locks are at least 40 inches away so they cannot be reached by breaking the glass.
Always install dead bolt locks on all entry doors, including back doors and pedestrian garage doors.
Locks in knobs are easily unlocked without a key. Some can be unlocked with nothing more than a credit card.
Garage doors should also be solid wood or insulated steel. Garage doors with a single thickness of fiberglass or steel are easily bent enough to gain entry.
Be careful with pet doors. Burglars come in all sizes. Some can enter through your pet door.
All windows should have a keyed lock so that burglars cannot break the glass to reach through to unlock the window.
Never leave tools or ladders outside. They can be used against you to break into your home, or are easily stolen from your yard.
Never leave a message on your answering machine stating you are not home, on vacation, or even giving your name. If someone is calling you, they should already know your name and strangers don't need to.
Stop all deliveries such as newspaper and milk deliveries, or have a neighbor pick them up every day. Leave a few lights on. Timers are especially useful for this.
Never keep your house keys on the same key ring as your car keys.
Always lock your car. Take your garage door opener remote with you or put it in the glove box out of sight.
When at home, park inside the garage. If you have to park outside, do not leave keys or remotes in the car.
Consider installing an automatic garage door opener. When the garage door is opened, the light comes on automatically. You do not have to get out of your car to go into the garage. When leaving, make sure the door closes completely before driving off.
Never run through a closing garage door. Serious injuries have resulted from this practice.
Never allow children to play with garage door openers. Mount keypads at least 5 feet above the floor and out of the reach of children.
Ask your local police department to send someone to your house to look at your situation and provide additional advice about home security. Do it now.
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