As the economy
tanks, crime is going up. The maggots will be looking for
soft targets and your garage especially if you leave it open
is one of the softest.
What can you
do to reduce the odds youll be victimized?
flash what you have
Try to avoid
leaving your garage door open so that everyone who drives or walks
by has a full view of your stuff. Even if youre working in
the garage, its best to leave the doors down. Dont park
your high-dollar antique vehicle outside, where everyone can see
it. Try to keep what you have under wraps and keep a low
This is just
common sense but its a fact that many thieves never
have to break into anything. They just walk right on in and
walk away (or drive away) with your stuff. Use a high quality door
lock, plus a deadbolt. If you have an outside electric keypad opener,
dont use an obvious code or tell too many people what the
garage has doors with windows, consider replacing them with solid
As nice as
it is to have a door with an upper glass section to let the sun
shine in, glass allows a would-be thief to see inside your place
and getting in is as simple as smashing out the window. Same
goes for the entry/side door. If its one of those that has
a large glass panel, easily smashed, consider replacing it with
a solid unit that will make life harder on a would-be thief.
a bright light near your garage
with a motion sensor. The light should be of the floodlight type
and either far enough up or otherwise out of reach that it
would take at least a little bit of effort to defeat it by smashing
the bulb or some such.
an alarm system
You might even
get a rate reduction on your homeowners (as well as your classic
car) insurance. Or get a fake alarm dummy closed-circuit
cameras or blinking red LED lights near doors and windows can accomplish
the same thing (but forget about the insurance discount).
stuff harder to steal
be secured in heavy, hard to remove/move (and locked) tool cases;
ideally, cases permanently fixed to hard points such as the floor
or workbenches. Locked cabinets bolted to the wall studs work well.
Garage doors should have heavy metal lock bars and other such devices
to make them difficult to open for an unauthorized user.
There are several ways to discreetly rig a classic car or motorcycle
so that it wont start or is difficult (if not impossible)
to move. A kill switch wired into the ignition switch and located
in a not visible area under the dash. Or just disconnect the ignition
coil (or battery).
An eye bolt
drilled into a concrete floor provides a secure anchor point for
a chain to keep your bicycle (or motorcycle) where it belongs.
(as well as expensive tools/equipment) with a punch, Dremel tool
or some such in a not-visible/hard to access place so that if the
vehicle (or tools/equipment) is stolen and found later on, the cops
will know it was stolen and also, you can prove it is yours.
you are insured
Find out whether
your homeowners policy covers such things as your tools and
equipment. A standard homeowners policy on, say, a $250,000
home may not cover your $20,000 worth of tools. Read your policy
carefully and confirm the details with your agent. Its
also smart idea to do a full inventory of everything you have
with pictures or video for back-up in the event you do get robbed
and need to verify the extent of your loss.
be absolutely sure your vehicles especially antique/collectible
vehicles are fully insured for their specific value (whats
known in the business as an agreed value policy). That
means if your vehicle is stolen and not recovered, you will receive
the previously agreed-upon value listed in your coverage. No haggling
after the fact over what it was worth.
point: Many of us neglect to update our policies as we update
our cars or as the retail market value of the car changes.
If you recently had your car professionally re-painted, for instance,
you should make sure your policy/coverage reflects that. Be sure
the agreed value is up to date and not based
on what the car was worth five years ago, when you first took out
with permission from EricPetersAutos.com.
[send him mail] is an
automotive columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2011 Eric Peters
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