Denver Police: Pack your garage door opener

Leaving the opener in your car gives thieves access to your home, police say


While access to technology can be a benefit in some cases, it can also help thieves get into your home when items like garage door openers are left unattended.

Sonny Jackson, director of communications with the Denver Police Department, said for a long time thieves would kick in a side door to enter a garage and, potentially, a person’s home. Now, they’re more likely to break into a car.

“There’s a linkage between the vehicle and the garage,” he said. “We’ve seen the trend where thieves are breaching their car and taking the garage door opener.”

Jackson recommended people take the opener with them when they exit the vehicle or attach one to a keychain.

Many people leave valuables in their garage, making it a one-stop-shop for some thieves. Garages can also give thieves access to the house. In West Washington Park, a thief cut a hole through a garage door in June to pull the door’s security cord and gain entry inside, police said.

Jackson noted this particular method was a one-off event.

But garages are still a hot spot for thieves, he said. Some thieves will drive through alleys looking for open garage doors and the opportunity for an easy entry.

Tips to prevent crime

This is where technology comes in handy, Jackson said. Phone apps and other security items will alert people if a garage door has been left open for a long amount of time. Having an automatic light system that will draw attention at night to either the car or the garage can also deter thieves.

Technology also helped a group of neighbors in Rosedale when a woman was attempting to break into homes there. Front door cameras showed the woman attempting to enter the homes at night. In one case, she did break in, but images from the front door cameras provided police with an idea of who the suspect was. Cameras have also been known to catch package thieves in the act, another crime that has increased in recent years.

Knowing your neighbors is also important, Jackson said. A neighbor might notice whether a garage door has been left open or a suspicious person is hanging out on the doorstep next door.

Neighboring houses are also a safe place to go should someone break into your home, Jackson added.

Using technology to your advantage and knowing your neighbors help homeowners to deter potential thieves.

“Neighborhood Watch is not an old, tired system — it works,” he said. “A combination of both is truly the best of all.”


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