A few months ago, at least 5 homeowners in Loma, San Diego woke up to find their vehicles broken into. And in a few of the break-ins, garage door remotes went missing. Thieves then used the stolen remotes to enter garages and steal thousands of dollars of belongings.
And in some cases, thieves will come back with the remote later in hopes of stealing more things.
We’ve cautioned homeowners in the past but we’d like to say it again: don’t keep your garage door opener remote in your vehicle. The remote to your garage door should be treated like the key to your front door. You wouldn’t clip your home key to the visor in your car for everyone to see, would you? Nor should you clip a garage remote there.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t ever bring your remote with you in the car. It’s a convenient way to open your garage when you get home from a long day of work. But just make sure to bring you remote inside the home with you, just like you would your wallet or house keys.
What to Do If Your Garage Door Remote Is Stolen
If you’ve found your garage door remote missing or stolen, don’t panic. This is easily fixable, but you should act quickly. Most garage door openers have a manual reset switch on them which if held will disable and reset all remotes. The exact reset process may vary depending on the brand of opener you have, so you may need to consult your owner’s manual or contact a technician for assistance. If you’re not able to immediately reset the remotes, make sure to unplug the opener so it can’t be operated.
If you have a very old opener, there’s a possibility that you won’t be able to reset the remote. If this is the case, you should unplug the opener so that no remotes can open the door. You’ll need to contact a garage door repair company who can install a new opener that is more secure.
Lastly, make sure to report the theft to the local authorities. Even if you reset the remotes before a break-in occurred, it’s a good idea to have a police report on record should something happen later. This can be especially beneficial for insurance purposes should a theft occur.
Alternatives to a Garage Remote
If you hate having to worry about your remote, a garage door keypad can be a great way to conveniently enter your garage from the outside. Or you could purchase and install a smart garage door opener which allows you to operate the door with your smartphone. Ironically, few people would leave their smartphone in a car so this is a pretty safe option!
Another good idea is to make sure you’re following common sense precautions like not storing valuable belongings in the garage, keeping it closed when not in use, and keeping your interior garage door locked.
However, make note that keeping your interior garage door locked isn’t foolproof either. Once a thief gets into your garage, they can close the garage door and attempt to break into your home through the interior door without anyone noticing. Most thieves are only interested in the break-in method that requires the least amount of effort to avoid getting caught. You won’t see many thieves with a set of tools trying to bust open a front door. But if they can close your garage door and work in privacy, they probably will put a little effort into breaking through your interior garage door – so don’t let anyone get a hold of your remote!