Without adequate security, your garage door could be the most vulnerable access to your home, if it connects through a doorway, as many garages do. Thieves recently identified a simple way of getting into garages, simply by inserting a stretched out coathanger over the door and releasing the emergency catch. And there’s a simple fix too. If you have a manually operated up-and-over garage door you should have an emergency exit cord hanging in above the centre of the door. A coathanger is just narrow enough to be slid over the door and just strong enough to release it, meaning that the burglar can get into your garage in under ten seconds.
Whatever you keep in your garage, it’s vulnerable. And if your garage also has a doorway to your home, that’s vulnerable too. Many people don’t realise how easy it is to break into garages and assume that if the garage door is locked, then that’s an adequate security measure, just like locking the front and back doors.
But as we know this is not the case, further security measures should be taken. First of all, if you do have a manual up-and-over garage door, the quick way to secure it against this particular means of incursion is rather simple. If you take a narrow cable tie and secure the catch, your garage is secured. A coathanger isn’t strong enough to get past it, but in the event of an emergency, pulling on the handle will snap the tie, letting you open the door as normal.
You Can’t Buy Security for 5p
However, while practical, depending on a piece of plastic worth about 5p is no way to properly secure your garage against thefts! Ideally you will have much more robust security in place, particularly if you keep valuable items or tools that could be used to facilitate a break-in within your garage. Rather than using a little piece of plastic to secure your garage, it’s worth considering one of the many other security devices that are currently available on the market for effectively securing your property.
A motor for your garage door is a great way to add security, particularly if you despise the cold wet weather of Britain. The garage door operator can be activated from within the car, meaning that you don’t have to get out and struggle with keys and opening the door, just to get back into your car to drive it a further few feet before you can really consider yourself at home. While the motor can be activated with a press of a button, the motor acts as an extremely effective barrier if it isn’t activated. They move relatively slowly and have sensors which will arrest the door’s progress if any obstruction is identified in order to prevent accidents. Some people find their speed a factor in deciding not to buy, however, there are other garage door security applications that aren’t slow at all.
Garage Door Security For the Twenty First Century
A relatively recent security feature that is well suited to garage doors is the fingerprint sensor. While it hasn’t been perfected for home security yet, it’s idea for the garage as it can be pre-programmed with numerous prints, letting you grant access to who you want without the need of giving them a key or IR device. Keypads are also an option. These have the advantage over keys in that you can change them as many times as you like as often as you like. This means that you can give access to gardeners, neighbours, builders, whoever, and, once they no longer need to be able to gain access, change the codes. It’s this flexibility of security that puts modern electronic security over traditional garage door security.
If you don’t use your garage to store a car, but use it as a utility room, games room, workshop or gym then you may find that side hinged garage doors are a much better solution than the more usual overhead garage doors.
The beauty of side hinged garage doors is that they operate exactly like a normal door. You can open them wide to allow all the light and air in that you want, or you can just open them a crack if you want to come and go discreetly. If you’re more likely to have people, including children and pets, passing through the garage door than cars, then their ease of use is all important. Side hinged garage doors also have the advantage of having very few moving parts, so maintenance is minimal and easily carried out. If the garage that needs a new door has an irregular or arched lintel, side hinged doors are a far easier, and therefore much more cost effective, solution to fitting the structure needed to install an overhead garage door.
Side Hinged Garage Doors Have Many Advantages
When we think of side hinged garage doors we usually tend to think of old fashioned wooden coach house style doors with big wrought iron hinges and little windows lined across the top. And that style of garage door has been a popular style for a long time, fitting as it does with the particular style of house, outbuilding or converted stable it was originally fitted too. However, fewer people are using their garage to store the car these days, instead using their garage as a convenient storage space, utility room, games room, gym or media entertainment centre. With that in mind, a side hinged garage door is far more practical than overhead options.
Side hinged garage doors are more adaptable than most other forms of garage doors too. You can choose whether to have the doors split at the centre of the doorway, or have a 1/3 -2/3 split in either direction, and a choice of left or right hand lead doors. This basically means you can have a standard size door to one side, and a double standard width to the other. You have a great choice of materials too. Wood used to be the manufactures choice in the past because when outbuildings and stables were being converted to be used as a garage to keep a car in, metal overhead doors didn’t exist. Today side hinged garage doors are available in a wide variety of materials including wood (in a vast array of sustainable timbers, and colours) metal (single skin or foam or fibre insulated double skin) and UPVC. Each of these materials has its own unique properties, so the choice of material, colour and finish is either aesthetic or down to the homeowner’s personal preference.
For a design feature that has such an impact on the overall look of a property, garage doors are sorely overlooked. Perhaps it’s because they are purely practical, and don’t have the same connotation in our psyche that a friendly front door has. Nobody throws open the garage doors to welcome their guests or harks back to a golden era when you could leave your garage doors unlocked all day and not worry about people robbing you blind.
But people should make more of their garage doors. They offer a vast expanse of frontage upon which you can make your stamp. Gone are the days of the incredibly loud up-and-over doors with the dangerous looking counterweights suspended on exposed wires. Up-and-over doors are still available, but they are quiet and their mechanics are safely secured behind coving.
Instead of buying the basic model, the door that keeps rain and the casual recidivist out, provided you remembered to shut it in the first place, home owners are thinking about what really suits their property and offers genuinely appreciable security. Many of us don’t use our garages to keep our cars in when we’re not using them. Rather, we tend to use them for storage and other purposes. With items such as bikes, sports equipment, freezers and tools kept in the garage, they become yet more tempting to thieves, meaning that garage door security becomes much more of an issue than it’s ever been before.
Fancy Looks With Functional Form
One of the most secure types of garage door for the domestic market is the sectional garage door. Not only does it offer superb security against break in, but it also comes in a huge variety of finishes, materials and colours, making it a superb choice if aesthetics are as important to you as security.
They don’t only offer great security and attractive looks though. Depending on the materials used, they can be single skinned, meaning they are light weight and effortless to operate, or they can be double skinned with a foam or fibre insulation, this is particularly important to householders who use their garage as a gym, games room, or space outside the house for pets.
Alongside steel and aluminium, sectional doors can also be manufactured from UPVC and timber. Windows can be fitted, either in the top sections to allow light in but not the gaze of prying eyes, or incorporated throughout the door to create an attractive, bright, airy feeling inside. Sectional garage doors are primarily manually operated. Their weight is countered with tension and torsion springs meaning that they will be operable in a power outage, but should you so choose, you can also but motorized sectional garage doors if security is top on your list, but effortless opening is also a key feature you are shopping for.
Being located on the south coast, Prestige Doors has a wide variety of clients from domestic, rural, commercial, industrial to urban and corporate. Every customer has individual, unique needs but there are always universal truths that every homeowner, estates manager and retail outlet owner should be aware of.
When it comes to security, the appearance of your exterior doors is paramount. If a door looks sturdy, well maintained and brightly lit when anybody approaches after dark, the chances of them taking any further interest are much lower than if a door or shutter seemed to be ignored, decayed, rusted or unsecured.
At this time of year, with the clocks changing and nights getting longer, people are spending less time outdoors, they’re keeping their curtains closed and paying less attention to the goings on in their neighbourhood. The way people are affected by the environment plays a huge part in ambient security, that is, if a building looks secure, well maintained and shows signs that there are people around who are paying attention, then potential intruders are far less interested in making further investigations. When it’s dark, the opportunities for incursion increase, with fewer people around from dusk till dawn, burglars have more time to spend both planning and executing a break-in without being observed.
Throwing A Spotlight On Break-Ins
Security lighting plays its part here. Since observation is such a disincentive to the burglar, ensuring entrances are well lit pays dividends. But, in areas that are out of sight of the street or neighbours, additional lighting still has a part to play even if you don’t have cameras that are constantly monitored. Out of sight is very much in mind when it comes to getting access to your property. If secondary entrances and fire escapes are obscured from general view they are all the more appealing. Doors that look sturdy with visibly solid locks and hinges that are illuminated as soon as anybody approaches are a valuable display of security.
Lighting areas where nobody is watching is equally true for outbuildings, garages and sheds too. If you don’t keep valuable property in your outbuildings then security may not be paramount to you. However, because burglars don’t like to draw attention to themselves they don’t travel around with crowbars and ladders on their shoulders. If they can find them in your shed which isn’t securely locked, they will use them to break into your home.
The Mark Of Good Security
Security marking your property and assets is an effective deterrent too. Most property is stolen to be sold, and unfortunately, people who buy on the black market don’t care where it came from. However, marking your property does make property much harder to sell for a price that makes the theft worthwhile, while also making its return to the owner much easier. Marking property also helps secure convictions. If thieves are caught with marked property in their possession a reasonable alibi is harder to create, which is another huge disincentive to steal clearly marked goods. Bar coded or addressed asset management stickers are an effective way to permanently mark your property in both work and domestic situations.
Neighbourhood Watch is much maligned as busy-bodies snooping on their neighbours but the system works. A simple sticker in the window that tells people that strangers will be noticed and observed is a simple but effective deterrent. Neighbourhood watches and small businesses should regularly invite their local crime prevention officer to speak to new members and staff. They can look at your current security and advise on basic mistakes, physical improvements and changing habits that could leave your home or workplace vulnerable.
In a recent statistic reached by gathering crime data from several metropolitan police authorities, as many as 50% of residential burglaries occur when the intruder gained access through an open, damaged or superannuated garage door.
People leave their garage doors open for a number of reasons, security isn’t an issue as they don’t keep valuable property in it, it’s inconvenient to keep opening and closing it every time they come and go, even letting the cat have somewhere dry to sleep if it starts raining all seem like ‘good’ reasons to keep the garage door open when it’s not in use.
Unfortunately, burglars see an open garage door as welcoming as an open front door or window.
“An open garage door is an open invitation to thieves,” says Chris Long, executive director of the International Door Association. “Thieves are also targeting remote controls that are not locked up in vehicles parked outside.”
Of course you wouldn’t leave your door keys in full view in your car, but it wouldn’t cross many people’s minds that the remote to their garage door is just as tempting. Today’s garage doors are far more secure than the old fashioned up and over models of yesteryear meaning that people are more likely to keep high worth goods, particularly sporting goods, in the garage, but they’re still not closing, maintaining and locking them properly.
Dash mounted remote garage door controls can easily be replaced with remotes that can go on keyrings, entry code and finger print ID units. These can be combined with open door alert devices which will tell you if your garage door hasn’t been closed properly. If you’ve ever been gardening, come inside, made a cuppa, got distracted and left the garage door open all night you’ll know how easy it is to overlook basic security precautions. With an open door alert a light will come on whenever the garage door is open. Even if your garage door is only open a crack the indicator will come on; you might not have noticed but a burglar might and if they can get a jimmy into the gap, they’ll soon follow it.
Numeric keypads eliminate the risk of lost or stolen keys or remote controls being used to access your garage. There’s no need to worry about getting keys cut or who has the remote, you can tell as many people as you want the code since you can change the code as much as you like afterwards. Imagine you’re going on holiday and you want the neighbour’s kid to feed your fish. You can tell them a code that you set for the duration of your break and change it again when you get home, meaning that if there were any danger of them letting the code slip, it won’t matter.
If your garage door needs updating, repairing, general maintenance or a complete upgrade to a brand new model then get in touch. Prestige Doors provide the same service for their domestic garage doors as they do to business clients. Services include, measuring, building and fitting, routine maintenance, and 24 hour call out. All our parts and labour are guaranteed so you can rest assured that with our garage doors, your garage is as safe as houses.
Assistant chief constable for Leicestershire police force, Phil Kay stated in an interview with the Loughborough Echo that “I would far rather my officers were spending their time preventing crime, protecting the public and focusing on other stuff than things that are preventable.”
He made his statement in reference to burglaries that occur when windows and doors are left open, essentially blaming victims of crime for their own stupidity if they make a mistake and fail to properly secure their property.
Kay was speaking specifically about students who had recently moved to the area who often left windows and doors open despite crime prevention officers leafleting both campus and parts of the city with particularly high student accommodation.
He justified his point of view but adding that the NHS wouldn’t operate on someone who was obese, a smoker or heavy drinker.
“If the health service are making decisions on whether someone has helped contribute to prevent something or not, should the police? It is right that we try and stop it but it is right that people take responsibility.”
“If they knew we were not investigating it, they may take notice.” Meaning that residents would be more fastidious about securing their homes in the absence of active policing.
Unfortunately his assertions are nonsensical. The NHS will always intervene when someone’s health is at risk just as it is necessary for the police to investigate any crime, no matter how much the victim is at ‘fault’. And to suggest that these crimes would be overlooked and left without any investigation is absurd and tantamount to a dereliction of duty. Letting crime go unchallenged would turn Loughborough into a wild-west town where the bandits could roam the streets with impunity, victimising people at will because they knew that the police simply didn’t care about crime in the area. It also overlooks the many methods that criminals use to gain access. Well brought up young people will hold the door open to a stranger who looks like they belong, they’ll open the door to people who buzz the entryphone and claim to be visiting a neighbour, they won’t challenge strangers who ‘piggyback’ them when they are entering a building, all tried and tested means of gaining access that don’t depend on windows or doors being left open. When thieves target industrial premises, they often achieve entry using exactly the same techniques, relying on the politeness and cooperative spirit of authorised personnel who assume that people who they don’t know are probably supposed to be there and fail to challenge them appropriately.
It’s not only students he would leave beyond the help of the law. He went on to state, in an interview a couple of days later with the same paper, that according to the recently adopted Cambridge Crime Index:
“All crime is not equal and does not cause the same harm. I think what the public would like us to do, and that’s my experience, they want us to be focused on the harmful crimes. The ones that cause the most harm to them and their families not necessarily on crimes which could be preventable.
“At the moment we spend a lot of time investigating theft from shops and a lot of time collecting CCTV from the theft of shops and very often we find that theft is preventable.
“That does not mean we are not interested, we are still investigating them, it is looking at our demand.”
Naturally, local businesses are as concerned as student representative bodies over Phil Kay’s comments and are worried that they will be receiving a second rate service. David Pagett-Wright, Chairperson of the Loughborough Business Improvement District organisation said:
“We recognise that the police have got limited resources. Shoplifting might feature low down in that list of priorities but it is extremely important for stores concerned, especially the small independents.
“We need to work with the police to make sure there are still ways we can help prevent shoplifting and to also take action against those who commit it.
“We don’t want to be at a stage where they just get away with it.”
Thieves are opportunists and have little or no regard for the law or the consequences of their activities, either to themselves or their victims. There’s no reason to suppose that shoplifters shoplift exclusively or that housebreakers and warehouse burglars only keep to that particular form of crime. They’re only concern is getting what they can as quickly and easily as possible, if they see a chink in your armour, no matter where it is, they will abuse it.
Law abiding citizens have every right to expect that, when they become the victims of crime, they will receive the full backing of the law and not be told “well, it’s sort of your own fault and you were asking for it really.” This kind of victim blaming mentality is unacceptable and potentially leads to some very dark places if it’s used when looking at crimes against the person.