Here’s tips to make your cottage less appealing to burglars


opp-logoFall has arrived and now is the time for all property owners to start considering the closure and winterizing of their cottages.

Cottages and summer homes are most vulnerable to thieves from the week following Thanksgiving to the weeks prior to Victoria Day, especially if the owners are not using them regularly in the fall, winter or spring.

Remember, if there is no one living at it or checking it regularly, the cost of owning a cottage or summer property may include the frustration and irritation of repairing damage and replacing stolen property.

The following list contains some things to consider:

  • Pack up and take home all alcohol.
  • Don’t leave firearms or weapons at the cottage.
  • If you are leaving vehicles, make sure they’re winterized, secure and disabled – for snow machines remove track and hide keys, ensure boats are covered and locked, outboard motors locked and slightly disassembled, ATVs disabled – leave nothing on trailers unless it is locked or disabled.
  • Leave no valuables at cottage – electronics, personal items, tools etc. unless you’re prepared to lose them.
  • Designate a year-round contact or Keyholder for: alarms, thefts, weather damage or animal problems – and provide their contact information. These can either be paid to check your cottage regularly, or may be friends/neighbours? Your insurance company may give you a deduction if you have designated local contact that is watching your property.
  • Secure your windows and doors – close window curtains or blinds and put up shutters to protect interior from marauders (animals, and human).
  • Record the serial numbers of anything of value left behind. Marking your valuables with a drivers’ license number can help deter a thief or aid in property recovery.
  • Sporting goods – fishing rods & equipment, water skis, toys etc – should be secured (locked up, hidden or both) Lock them or lose them!
  • Make a list of where everything is and make copies – store one copy on your home computer and put a copy with property that will go back up to cottage on first or next trip.
  • Know which police force patrols your cottage area (which OPP Detachment and their phone number).
  • Consider using “Cottage Watch” to prevent and detect crime in your area, by ensuring your neighbours know each other, their movements and vehicles, and to establish a connection with one another and with the local OPP detachment. Watching out for suspicious activity in and around your neighbours’ property can go a long way to lowering the incidence of property crime.

Contact the Federation of Ontario Cottage assocations at for more information.

— Peterborough County OPP press release

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