JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – 1...2...3...4...5...6. As fast as it took for you to count to 6, a burglar can break into your garage.
We were stunned by the video we found on YouTube showing how quickly someone armed only with a wire hanger can maneuver the wire through the door and hook the emergency release lever on the other side.
Garage doors have levers that allow them to be opened manually in case power is lost.
Burglars, standing outside your garage, have figured out a way to use the hanger to pull down the release or to hook the red string that dangles from the lever. Once it is released, the garage door can be opened by hand from the outside.
Sgt. Shannon Hartley with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says residential burglaries are a problem here in Jacksonville. He says there is no way of knowing how many of them involve the wire method, but says in the last 12 months there have been 142 burglaries, during which the crook entered through a garage door or a front porch.
"We see very creative ways to commit crimes and new ways to commit crimes all the time," said Hartley.
There are a few businesses that sell garage locking systems that prevent these kind of break-ins. We talked with the creator of the Elocksys Garage Door Lock. He recorded the video of how quickly a burglar can break into a garage door.
He says people need to know how fast it can happen so they can protect themselves. The garage door lock system he sells allows a homeowner to deadbolt their garage via remote each time they leave the house. It costs about $250.
We found an inexpensive way to prevent this type of break-in. You can use a zip tie to fasten the emergency release lever to the garage door track to prevent it from being pulled open. A package of zip ties costs about $5 at the hardware store.
Other suggests to protect your garage:
Sgt. Catherine Payne with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office tells us burglars will often look for garage door openers inside cars parked outside homes.
They will break into the cars to get the openers knowing few people remember to lock the door that leads from the garage into their house. This gives burglars easy access to your valuables. Her suggestion is to always lock this door.
Another tip, JSO Sgt. Hartley says when he worked in burglary, he was able to return many more stolen items if the victim had given him the serial number of the items that were stolen or if they had left a distinguishing mark on the item.
He suggests you take the time to write these numbers down and keep them in a safe place, just in case.