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Garage Door Openers (The Good & The Bad)

Garage doors are a common weak point when looking at security in a whole-home approach and an easy target for thieves. Garage door are not only a weakness, they also provide criminals a shelter if they are able to gain entry inside a garage. To the casual passerby an open garage with a work truck pulled up to it doesn’t immediately look out of place.

History 101 A (Automatic Garage Door Openers)

When the first generation of automatic garage door openers came out they all featured the same code. Thieves could just drive a neighborhood pushing their purchased transmitter and if you had the same brand as they did; jackpot!

The second generation of garage door openers increased their security by featuring dip switches that could be set by the owner to a unique combination. While this did increase security, most owners would leave the default setting. Another security risk was that a code grabber could be utilized to gain access to your system. A code grabber device works by locking onto your signal and memorizing it. Then, all a thief would do is re-transmit your code through their code grabber, and jackpot they were in.

Modern automatic garage door openers now feature what's known as rolling-code technology, this means that a modern day remote will transmit a brand new security code each time you press your remote. There are over 100 billion codes, so the likelihood of a code grabber working is very slim. Be sure that your opener features this rolling-code technology! If you use Lift-Master for instance, look for their Security+ line that features this technology.

Safety Suggestions 

  1. Don’t leave the garage door remote in your vehicle – If a thief breaks in to your car and steal the remote he/she also has a way into your home.
  2. Think about investing in a keychain remote opener that you take with you on your keys, rather than your remove being clipped to your car visor.
  3. Depending on your DIY skills, you may want to consider securing your garage door emergency release.  
  4. Condut an inspection of the door that seperates the interior of your home and your garage space, maybe a deadbolt is needed for a little added security.
  5. While you are inspecting that door (keeping the idea of added security in mind) make sure the door from your garage into your house is as secure as your front door.
  6. It's always a good idea not to leave your garage door open overnight. 
  7. Keep an eye on your garage door; you can reduce the oppoirtunty of someone slipping unseen into your garage by keeping your eyes on your grarage door unitl it fully opens and fully cloeses. 
  8. Now think about the knock on from the other side of your garage door; a wide-angle peephole in the door between your house and your garage will allow you to see what’s going on if you hear a strange noise; rather than opening the door to find out.
  9. Want more privacy? Frost or cover your garage windows. Don’t make it easy for people to see when your vehicle is gone.
  10. What about when you're on vacation? If there is a concern you can always padlock the throw latch on your garage door. If you don’t have a manual lock on your garage door, you can use a c-clamp tightened down on each side of the door track to effectively “lock” down the door. 
  11. Don’t neglect maintenance on the mechanical parts of your roll-up garage door and keep an eye out for corrosion. Don’t forget the door from your garage to your house; check the frame, locks, hinges and any replaceable items.

Note this is not an all-encompusing list, please use good judgement; take whatever safety percautions are necessary, as you need appropriate.  

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