Garage Security: Keeping Thieves Busy
When it comes to garage security, many of us think only of securing the door itself & any windows or other access points to get to your valuables.
However, dedicated thieves are more than willing to play the waiting game with your locks if the reward is worth their time, and with all manner of tools at their disposal designed specifically to break locks and chains, it’s necessary to plague them with as many inconveniences as possible, as very few products these days are truly unbreakable.
Essentially, a thief is concerned with getting the highest value items in the shortest space of time without attracting attention, so while you can’t change the value of items, you must increase the time taken and the likelihood of attracting attention to deter a thief. With that in mind let’s take a look at some of the less obvious, convenient inconveniences to throw at a hopeful thief. (Thankfully most of these tips are relatively cheap to implement, and work well alone or as a group).
While a full alarm system is desirable in most homes, it is not always possible to accommodate this physically or financially. However you can give the impression of a full security system using a ‘Dummy’ Bellbox, which comes with full tamper resistance and no visual differentiation from a fully working unit, powered by a traditional UK plug.
Signs & Stickers
Signs & Stickers are a much less subtle alternative, but are much cheaper and are sure to give any thief at least a pause for consideration. While it may be detrimental to appear over-zealous with your security, a veritable ‘get it here’ signal which may attract more attention that it deters, it helps to show the thief subtly that you are security conscious, and have invested in protecting your possessions. Consider this a warning shot. Again, these signs and stickers should be considered an extra precaution in your security setup and not the main base, as you don’t want to attract too much attention. One or two by any doors or in any windows should be enough.
Hide Your Valuables
As far as your valuables are concerned, appearance matters in that your precious items should not be at all in a place obvious to the thief; the more mundane your garage looks the better. Avoid stowing high value items near any doors & windows, and if possible hide them on the far side of the room in any cluttered areas in the garage or behind something large and not often moved easily. Try covering valuables with a Tarp or Dust Sheet, the more battered and disused looking the better, and if your tarp has eyelets, consider tying these down or using locks and chains too. It won’t deter a dedicated thief, but it may stop an opportunist from stumbling on your expensive goods during an uncoordinated break-in.
Give Your Dog a Job
If you have a dog that can sleep in the garage so much the better, as thieves hate dealing with dogs they don’t know, and it might be enough in itself to make them reconsider. Big or small; dogs are loud, they have teeth, and they’re protective of their owners, and in terms of worry about setting off any other conjunctive measures; many PIR motion detectors have ‘pet settings’ which filter out movement from small animals.
They also have the added bonus of giving homeowners & neighbors more pause if heard; as early morning car alarms etc are usually passed off as misfires than actual security notifications. For the real deal, equip your garage with as many lights, sounds, and warnings as you can. These should be a surprise to the thief who breaks past the door or window. Even if they can tamper with or cut power to any security systems beforehand, having battery powered alarms mounted high in the room are a winning solution. Many varying devices exist with a range of features, but here are ones we think are especially useful for this purpose:
Motion detecting floodlights & cameras have become popular in this format in recent years, and with good reason, as for a relatively small and isolated unit they pack in a huge punch for deterring criminals. Our favourite right now is the ESP Guardcam, which blasts a cold white light, delivers a loud audible warning, and records high definition video footage, great for collecting evidence even if the unit itself does not deter the thief. This unit is available in a tablet streaming model, which can be kept in your home so you can know your garage is safe in real time for peace of mind. Also available are models from businesses such as NightWatcher, who specialise in robotic guard cameras which will move to follow the intruder in real time.Which we feel will unnerve most people let alone thieves.
Again these come in a few different variants, and are a slightly cheaper solution which are a close rival to the all-in-one guard camera. Using battery power exclusively, they are a great option for sheds not connected to mains electricity, and offer more protection from electrical tampering if located in a limited access area. While the 3-in-1 unit model is followed with these shed alarms, our favourite is the EMS6103 from Kasp, which includes a wireless transmitter so your alarm is heard either in the shed, or in your home to wake you up if an alarm is triggered.
A dedicated security floodlight is a useful reminder to the thief that you are security conscious, although for the purposes of securing a shed or garage you may be best to leave these as an external measure, as internally they won’t do much other than give the thief better lighting to work by without using any switches.
The cost of this solution may be off-putting as a measure solely for garages, however a 4 channel CCTV setup can comfortably monitor an entire home exterior if placed correctly, and if garage protection is an issue for you, you may wish to also have a full solution for your home. A full CCTV package also offers the benefit of remote wifi viewing, so you can have peace of mind while away for extended periods of time. Alternatives include ‘portable’ units such as the Guardcam mentioned previously, but also models such as the ESP CanCam offer a cheaper alternative is collecting footage is a priority. The CanCam is also available in a vandal resistant model if tampering is a concern for you.
Know Your Neighbors
Finally, it helps to know your neighbors. If you live in a suburban area and are worried about your garage left unattended for extended periods it does no harm to ask your neighbors to keep an eye out for you. They may be able to check in every once in awhile, and if they know who you are, are more likely to question strangers seen around your home.
While these tips may not be 100% bulletproof, they are an inexpensive extra mile in your home security setup that can go a long way and even make the difference in a thief deciding to target you or not
About Michael Richmond
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