Anyone who has experienced a burglary on their property knows exactly how traumatic it can be. As well as the damage and the loss of possessions there is also the feeling of violation – a stranger has been in your home, uninvited.
Unfortunately, this is something that, according to official figures, up to 2.5 million American households experience.
And, while it’s burglaries from homes that risk items of real sentimental value being stolen, garage break-ins can involve the loss of many valuable items too. Obviously, there might be a precious automobile that the thieves target. Then there’s all the gardening and other equipment that we store in the garage like mowers, leaf blowers and even gas barbecues.
So, it makes sense to do all you can to make your garage as safe as you can – and here are a few tips that will help.
Always lock the door
It might sound obvious, but it’s surprising just how many people do leave their garage doors unlocked. You might just be going to the store for some groceries, but burglars can be very quick and efficient when the opportunity presents itself. So, avoid giving them that chance.
Fit an automatic door closer
If you have a motorized garage door it could be a good idea to upgrade the mechanism with one that closes and locks it automatically after a specified time. Don’t worry, these also have an over-ride system that allows you to leave the garage door open when you are working inside for any period of time but ensure that it is closed when you’re not.
Consider a hut garage
If there’s space on your property, it’s well worth considering a hut garage that stands apart from your home. Choose a steel one from a recognized brand that has a high level of security built in and you will be able to rest easy. There are a variety of sizes available to suit most needs even for multi-vehicle homes.
Keep windows covered and possessions out of sight
You should never put temptation in the way of burglars and other felons. That means blocking out your garage windows and even trying to keep possessions as hidden as possible when the garage door is open.
Install CCTV and an alarm
It’s a well-known fact that the sight of a CCTV camera is often all it can take to dissuade a burglar from trying to break in. So fit one in a very visible place and maybe also have a warning sign or two for good measure. Plus, link this to an infra-red alarm inside the garage itself that will be able to immediately detect the movement of anyone who shouldn’t be there.
6 steps to take after a burglary
If you are ever unlucky enough to be burglarized, then there are certain steps it will be essential to take.
- Call 911 – the sooner the police arrive, the more clues they’re likely to find.
- Don’t touch anything – fingerprints and other forensic evidence can be destroyed if you act too quickly.
- Wait in a safe place for the police to arrive – see if a neighbor will let you wait in their home before the crime scene investigators turn up.
- Make an inventory of what’s been stolen – you’re going to need it for the next step.
- Call your insurance company – give them full details of the burglary including when and how it happened as well as everything that has been stolen. The more thorough the information is that you give them, the sooner they may be able to pay your claim.
- Check out any CCTV footage – even if you don’t have CCTV cameras installed yourself, neighbors might have, and this could have captured images of the criminals entering or exiting your property.
But, hopefully, you won’t need any of the above because you’ll have made your garage like a mini Fort Knox already!