Taraval Station

Thieves can Break Into Locked Garages with Just a Coat Hanger


A burglar can open a closed roll up garage door in seconds, with just a small block of wood and a coat hanger. This garage door safety release mechanism can be tripped from outside of your garage door with nothing more than a coat hanger. To open up a roll-up garage door, all a thief needs to do is thread a coat hanger or hooked piece of wire through the top of the door and pull the emergency latch. By disengaging the safety release on your door the door can be rolled up by hand to let a thief inside and then quickly back down as if nothing were out of the ordinary.

It’s very easy to defeat an automatic garage door opener and break into a garage, especially when you have garage door windows that enable a thief to see exactly what they’re doing. Even without windows the task is fairly easy and can be done just on feel and knowing the mid-point of your garage where the release cord is located.

Removing the cord makes getting in a bit more time-consuming for a burglar to get inside your garage. If it takes too long the thief may give up rather than risk getting caught in the act of braking in your garage.

The Best Solution – Lock the release lever into the engaged position. On some garage door openers, you can use a plastic cable tie or some thin wire to tie the lever to the carriage assembly it is attached to. The lever always has a hole in it (to attach the release cord) and some carriage assemblies have holes you can run the cable tie or wire through. If your garage door release doesn’t, you can drill a hole. The idea is that you just need to make it virtually impossible for a flimsy coat hanger to be able to pull the lever down, while, at the same time, allowing you to cut or remove your simple lock from inside the garage.  One options is using zip-ties to lock the engaging arm on the automatic opener. While this will prevent the bypass technique employed by thieves, the safety pull handle can still be yanked hard from inside the garage to break the zip ties in an emergency. Another way is to create a shield or cover so the coat hanger can not access the release. These methods will still allows you to use your remote control to open the garage door. Search the internet or ask your garage door specialist for more safety preventions.