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How Can You Reinforce Your Garage Door Against Break-Ins?

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Whether you've recently suffered a rash of burglaries in your neighborhood or your home itself has been hit by thieves, you may be considering your home safety and security options. Although armed security systems can provide you with some peace of mind (as well as a discount on your homeowners insurance premium), the most effective weapon against a would-be burglar is often simply a home that won't physically allow outside entry. When faced with a secured home, burglars are much more likely to move on to another house that provides an easier path to entry rather than attempt to break in. Read on to learn more about the importance of reinforcing one of the most common points of entry to your home -- the garage door.

Why do burglars target the garage door?

If your home has an attached garage, this may be one of the first place a would-be burglar will look in order to gain access to your home. First, few homeowners physically lock the garage door itself -- allowing the heavy rolling door to simply be lifted from the outside or quickly rigged open with a coat hanger and wooden block. Many homeowners who are careful to check the locks on front and back doors before going to bed or leaving for the day tend to forget about the garage door, which often works to a burglar's advantage.

Even if the door between your garage and home is secured so that the burglar can't make it all the way inside, odds are high that certain items in the garage -- like tools, small power equipment, or even bikes or kayaks -- could fetch a decent value on the resale market. Because burglars are more likely to go undetected by entering your garage (rather than your home itself), this makes an unsecured garage even more tempting. Taking a few steps to help reinforce your garage door can dramatically reduce your chances of suffering a burglary.

What can you do to reinforce your garage door and protect against break-ins?

If your garage doesn't have windows, that's good news -- you'll need only to secure the door to prevent unwanted entry. There are a few relatively simple and low-cost ways to do this.

First, you can simply disable the manual release lever and remove the cord. This will prevent you from lifting and lowering the garage door without using an electric opener, but can also prevent a would-be burglar from using a coat hanger to simply grab the cord and let him- or herself in. In many cases, this step alone will be sufficient to prevent burglaries -- seeing that you don't have a release lever may be frustrating enough to cause a burglar to move on.

But you'd like a bit more reinforcement, or don't want to eliminate the one emergency route you and your family have into your home, you can also purchase and install some devices that will secure your garage door without making a permanent change. Most of these either consist of a bar that fully blocks the doorway (like the "club" lock you see in some automobiles), or a latch or small combination lock that attaches to a part of the track and prevents the door from moving up or down. Both types of devices can be locked and secured from the inside, ensuring that you won't accidentally lock yourself out. For more ideas, look at sites like

As a bonus, installation and regular use of these devices can help lower your homeowners insurance costs by protecting your home against burglary. Talk to your insurance agent to determine whether you qualify for a discount after your garage door upgrade.