What does locking your car doors have to do with home safety?
I live in a house with a two-car garage. I have to drive toward my house on the driveway and turn a sharp left into the garage. But I don’t use the garage. It’s our storage room and so our three cars are parked on the driveway, lined up across the front of my house. It works out; none of us have to park on the street and no one has to move their car to let one out of the garage.
I park closest to the garage door so it’s easiest to enter the garage with groceries and stuff. I can easily plop the frozen food into the freezer and go inside of the house. But one day I left the car unlocked so my son could bring in the rest of the groceries. With that done, I did not lock the car immediately.
Our dining room window looks out at my car. That night we closed the blinds and ate dinner. Then I remembered the car was unlocked and clicked my remote only to hear the car horn twice. It only does that when a door is open, so I looked outside and the interior lights were on. My son and I went out of the garage door to check on the car and found it had been rummaged through; my coin tray emptied and left on my front seat. All else was in tact.
But what I went for first was to see if my garage door opener was still in its “secret” compartment. I was relieved and grateful it was still there.
Back in the late 1990s, a neighbor in S.C. had left her garage door opener in her car and left the car unlocked. Her garage was on the opposite side of the house from any of the bedrooms. One night thieves went through our upscale subdivision and found her garage door opener, opened the garage and emptied it out. Golf clubs, tools, and more were missing the next morning. Heartbreaking yes but there is a lesson here.
If you have a garage door opener, carry it in your purse, briefcase or hide it somewhere in your car. Most thieves, I’m told by police officers, don’t spend too much time going through cars. They know where the important spots are and take the other stuff they see. But a garage door opener is a key to your house and if that is available to them they will use it now or take it and come back later, even if your car is stolen or broken into when it is parked somewhere else. If your car registration info is in the glove box, you’ve just told the thief where you live and they have a key.
Be leery of cars with built-in garage door openers, too, that you can program to your house. It can’t be stolen but if you’re on vacation, and the car left at home has the garage door opener in it, be aware of the consequences.
So here are some tips to keeping your house safe:
- keep your garage door opener with you and not in your car
- if you keep it in your car, hide it but not in a high profile spot like the center console or glove box
- when you go away or if you don’t need to use your garage door often, keep it locked. There is a lock button on the garage-door wall panel in your garage
- lock your car immediately when you get out of it
- keep the door between the garage and the house locked, just in case you happen to forget tip #1 and #4
- if you leave a key to the house in the garage for the kids or pet sitter, hide it. Don’t put it on a hook next to the door or under the mat…to easy to find.
Unfortunately, every neighborhood, even an upscale neighborhood, is a target for thieves. Keep yours less of a target by keeping your house safe.
Lock your car, keep your house safe. Keep your family safe.