It is definitely the season for winterizing summer cottages and recreational homes in cottage country. Ensuring your cottage deters crooks in the off season is an important, and often ignored part of winterizing any home.
There are several universal tips for making your cottage as safe from break ins as possible. Here they are:
1. Lock Everything
It sounds straight forward enough but are you sure you got everything? The windows? The back porch door? The shed? An open door is an invitation for a thief to come in and look around.
2. Remove All Valuables
At the end of the season, take home anything that could create temptation – TVs, cameras, playstations, jewelry and booze. If you must leave expensive items at the cottage when you aren’t there, engrave them with some sort of identification number. The OPP suggests you use your drivers license number as an identifier.
3. Make friends with your year-round neighbours
If you have neighbours who live in the area year-round, ask them to keep an eye on the place for you. Give them an extra key and make sure they have your city contact info just in case anything goes wrong—make sure you bring over a bottle of wine – neighbours love this!
Look to see if there is a cottage watch association, it never hurts to sign up. It might also be prudent to hire a company or individual to implement a winter check-in service.
4. Keep your exterior clean
Put away deck furniture and trim your lawn and bushes—don’t give thieves a place to hide. Make sure your property looks clean and taken care of. Thieves are much more attracted to rundown homes that look abandoned.
Also, if you have removed your valuable belongings from the cottage, there is no harm in opening the curtains so if someone does come by they can see there is no point in breaking a window. If you haven’t emptied the valuables out of your home, it might be better to close the drapes.
The above precautions will definitely help deter criminals from coming in to help themselves to your summer leftovers. However, no seasonal cottage can be 100% protected. But if you do your best to remove desirable items, there won’t be much to allure them in.