Kids, Residential Garage Doors and Home Security

by Rob Campbell on April 4, 2016

Sometimes even the most agile Heads-Up Dads discover they can’t have nice things stored out in their garage anymore because with so many kids playing on the property, they can’t keep their storage areas locked and safe from thieves.

the whole family on the driveway

Its a hard decision to tell kids they can’t play with the neighbors on the home property anymore, but a parents’ eyes can’t be everywhere at once. In more urban communities with high pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk,an unattended garage space can get pilfered in less time than it takes to answer a ringing phone.

When the neighbourhood kids run amuck about the property they frequently leave doors and windows wide open, and adolescent teens are especially prone to leaving the garage door open at night.

Prowlers Pounce on Open Garage Doors

Here in Toronto almost half the burglaries that police investigate occur in residential garages, and these numbers are rising. McKee Horrigan garage door installers report a 30% increase in ‘armoured doors’ sold over the last two years. The steel plated garage door is ‘custom build’ with extra metal on the front. Its almost impossible to cut through, and the frame can be additionally reinforced to prevent buckling if rammed by car or truck. Suburban thieves often work in pairs, prowling side streets looking for targets of opportunity. Unsecured or open garage doors rank high on their list. More sophisticated burglars might travel with binoculars in their car to spy valuables inside open garages from a safe distance. They like expensive tools and toys, especially bicycles they can ride away to a nearby rendezvous point.

Any Toronto residents reading this might remember Igor Kenk the local bike shop owner who both stole bicycles and bought hundreds of stolen bikes. The photo below is the grand cache seized by police, many of which were later donated to inner city youth. Not all of these bicycles were stolen while locked to parking stanchions; the most expensive bikes with composite materials in lightweight designer frames were often lifted from inside locked garages where the owner felt safe storing them between rides. .

Bicycles stolen from streets and open garages in Toronto

High tech alarms systems with IP cameras video surveillance are fine, but all too often security protocol starts and ends with the youngest members of the family.

Brian Mcleish the CEO of Guru Security in Toronto has a lot to say on the subject of home security and garage security as an extension of family discipline. He identifies a role for Heads-Up Dads as Security Boss.

Five Ideas To Help Keep The Family Garage More Secure

  1. Install a perimeter alarm system with magnetic contacts on garage side doors and windows that can be ‘armed’ at night at a panel in the house; this display should show open doors and windows at a glance. Most home alarm systems require all windows and doors to be shut and locked before the system will arm – be sure the array includes the garage door.
  2. Install motion sensors tied to flood lights on the outside corners of the garage and where they would be most effective on the property.
  3. Consider a possible security role for the family pet.
  4. Better utilize remote locking systems – most modern home security systems now feature remote locking devices which can give parents added control from inside the dwelling and when they are away from home. Parents can unlock the door for their teen when they arrive home from school. Also, if the child forgets to lock the door, parents can easily secure it, and check to see that its secure from inside their car or office.
  5. Security Protocol – The head of the household should create an easy to follow, easy to remember security protocol for the whole family.. Put a list of to-dos on the fridge and front door of the house. Designate the garage a ‘high security’ zone.

If the garage door doesn’t include an automatic close function, The Autocloser addresses the need to keep your garage door closed by automatically shutting your garage door if you inadvertently leave it open. The device attaches to most residential garage door openers and will automatically close the door after the user specified closing time has elapsed. The times can be set to 2, 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. Autocloser comes equipped with a disable button that will allow the door to remain open indefinitely.when required.

Keep Garage Flat Roof Safe From Sneaks With Sawsalls

Brian Mcleish posted a piece on Guru Security blog about keeping flat roofs safe where he showed how easy it is to cut through a modern flat roof with the right equipment. He posted a graphic courtesy of ToughRoof flat roof repair that shows how modern flat roofs are composed of layers of tar, plastic foam insulation and wood like chocolate layer cake, which is not so hard to slice through with a drill and Sawsall.(heavy duty jigsaw). The takeaway is simply ‘don’t forget the flat roof’ and put motion detectors and flood lights up there too if roof access is even remotely possible from the street.

The hardest part about keeping the family garage safe may be the delicate task of informing children that burglaries happen all the time and theft is more likely when bicycles, tools, and expensive toys are left lying about or within easy each inside an unattended open garage.

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