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Feeling safe and secure is one of the simplest pleasures of being in your own home, so it’s important to ensure that you take all the necessary steps to maximize your security. Your garage can easily be overlooked when it comes to securing your home, but these simple tips can ensure that you don’t leave yourself vulnerable.

*Image via Flickr by Peter_Pike

Keep Your Door Shut

It may sound obvious, but garage doors are often left open for extended periods of time and in circumstances that you would never leave your front door open. While you may not think of your garage as a part of your home, there are plenty of items that you probably store in your garage that you want to keep safe. If your garage provides access to the rest of your home, you want to be especially careful.

Not only do people tend to leave their garage doors open, but they are often nowhere in sight when they do so. If you are doing yard work, tackling home improvement projects, or reorganizing, try to avoid leaving your garage open while you do so. You might not realize that your garage has been scoped out by thieves until it is too late, so minimize the chances for anyone to see what you have in there, and don’t give access to your home to anyone passing by on the street.

Don’t Advertise Your Valuables

There are plenty of high-value items that are often kept in garages, so it’s important to ensure that you are not making your home a target by leaving expensive and portable items on view. If your garage has windows, you might want to look around and see what a passerby might be able to spot that could be tempting. Garages are often easily accessible, so even large items could be at risk to an enterprising burglar.

Garages can provide rich pickings for thieves who want items that they can move easily and sell on with no questions asked. These can include:

  • Hand and power tools
  • Bikes
  • Mowers and other garden tools
  • Sports equipment
  • Hobby supplies and accessories
  • Electronics
  • Golf clubs

The garage is the perfect place to keep many of these items, but you can keep them safe by stowing them away. Use tarps to cover large items that may be hard to stash in boxes, cupboards, or on shelves. You can also fit blinds or curtains over windows to minimize visibility from the street.

Leave a Light On

While you want to minimize the items a potential thief can see through the windows, you also want to make sure that any entry points are brightly lit to deter anyone from trying to sneak up to your garage. Leaving your garage to languish in the shadows makes it much more appealing to anyone who wants to peer through the windows or try their luck with the door handle. Motion-activated security lights are a great way to keep you and your neighbors alert to what’s going on outside and will let you know if someone is approaching your entryways.

Use Your Garden As Your First Line of Defense

Large shrubs and hedges in front of your garage door or other entrances to your house could provide a burglar with the perfect hiding place. Keeping your doors and windows clear of plants will give neighbors and passersby a clear view that will make it harder for anyone to scope out your property and belongings. Conversely, a spiky or thorny plant underneath your garage window will make it harder for burglars to gain access to your most vulnerable points, so you can improve your security with some thoughtful landscaping.

Choose the Right Garage Door

professionally fitted and maintained garage door is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of your garage being burgled. A traditional garage door can be opened in moments by a thief armed with simple household items such as coat hangers or wire. Security experts recommend cutting the garage door’s emergency release cord to reduce the chance of other people accessing your garage, but there are better ways to protect your possessions.

A properly fitted garage shield can prevent anyone from gaining access to your emergency release cord from outside and will give you the security you want without compromising on the safety features that you need. Garage shields are easy to install, making them a great way to limit the access an intruder has to your garage.

Get a Heavy-duty Internal Door

If your garage has a door that leads into your house, then you need to treat it like any other external door. Too often, internal garage doors are easy to open with just a little force, but any entrance into your home should be secured with a deadbolt and as much reinforcement as you can reasonably add. For example, the weakest point of any door is the area where the lock meets the door, so consider buying reinforced strike plates to thwart would-be burglars.

All the rules that apply to securing your exterior doors should be applied to the door that leads from your home to your garage. Get into the habit of fully locking it when it is not in use, do not leave the keys in the door when you aren’t around, and make sure that you secure it at night and when you go out.

Your garage can be an easy way to access your house or the first line of defense against anyone trying to gain access. By taking a few simple precautions that will easily become second nature, you can drastically improve the security of your home, your family, and your belongings.