We all know to lock our doors and windows at night, but what about your garage door? Is your home really as secure as you think? Is the convenience of a traditional remote-operated garage door opener worth the potential security risk if somebody accesses your remote? Here are some helpful tips for keeping your house and family as safe as possible.

Keep Belongings Stored Away

One of the best ways to improve your home’s security is simply to remove any temptations or plausible reasons for strangers to come onto your property. Put bikes away, keep lawn mowers and tools inside the garage, and avoid storing items outdoors whenever possible. An opportunistic thief who gets caught on your property may use an excuse like wanting to make an offer to buy an item or claim that they thought an item may have been abandoned. Removing anything of value also eliminates any excuses for unwelcome visitors to scope out your property.

Eliminate Hiding Places

Once you’ve removed temptations for opportunistic thieves, you can discourage more focused attempts at theft by eliminating any good hiding places on the street-facing side of your property. Clear shrubbery and regularly trim and maintain any large hedges. Move garbage bins away from the house if possible. If you have natural foliage or fencing that you’d like to keep, installing lights and security cameras can make dark places less viable for hiding while preserving your privacy during the daytime. The outside of the garage door is a good place to install lights as well. Not only will lights make it less hospitable for anybody who is trying to sneak around your property, but they will also make it more difficult to see inside the garage.

Keep Prying Eyes Out of Your Garage

Similarly, installing tinted windows or adding tinted film to existing windows will prevent intruders from scoping out your garage. Most thieves will want an idea of what they will find before breaking into a garage and plan out which areas to search first. By reducing visibility into your garage, you’ll discourage would-be intruders from making a quick hit on your home. For this reason, it’s also advisable to avoid leaving the garage door open unnecessarily, even when you are inside the garage.

Secure Your Garage Door When You’re Out

If your garage door is the primary entrance to the home, it may be tempting to leave it open or unlocked and only lock the interior door to the house. However, just like any other external door to your home, your garage door should be locked anytime you are away. This also applies to any other doors that lead into the garage. An intruder will have a much easier time picking a lock or forcing an interior door if they are able to do so from inside the garage, where they are less visible to neighbors and passersby. Locking and fully securing your garage door gives you an extra layer of protection from intruders.

Keep Your Garage Door in Good Repair

Finally, make sure your garage door is in proper working order, free of dents, broken panels, or faulty mechanisms. If your door is damaged, it can signal to intruders that your home may be a good target for theft. Faulty garage doors can also create safety hazards.

Upgrade Your Garage Door Opener

Automatic garage door openers are a convenient way to use your garage door as the primary entrance to your home, but leaving a remote control for a garage door opener inside your car is like leaving a key to the front door under the welcome mat; it’s an obvious place for thieves to look, and it offers immediate access to your home. Older garage door openers may be more susceptible to damage and tampering. However, there are some home security options for garage doors that offer the convenience of an automatic opener along with increased door security.

Liftmaster home automation technology uses the myQ app, allowing you to open and close your garage door using a smartphone and alerting you when it’s been opened. MyQ technology is compatible with Nest (as well as other similar 24/7 monitoring systems), so you can get a live feed of activity around your home for additional security. Another option is the Aladdin Connect garage door operator by Genie, which also allows users to open and close garage doors via a smartphone app.

Most of us spend less time in the garage than in the living room, but it’s a mistake to think of the garage as separate from the interior of your home. Experiencing a break-in to any area of your home is traumatic and can leave emotional damage long after your valuables have been replaced. Protecting your home by enhancing garage door security, increasing surveillance, and decreasing opportunities for theft will keep your family safe and leave you with peace of mind even when you’re away from home.