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Ontario Police warn that cottage break-in season is upon us—here’s how to protect yourself

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As the most glorious of seasons—cottage season—draws to a close, the most unpleasant of seasons—cottage break-in season—is sadly upon us. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are warning cottagers that as they close their cabins, cottages, and camps for the winter, the odds of theft increase. The Sault Ste. Marie police say there were four break-ins in the area between September 28th and 30th alone.

In the fall and winter, when cottagers are less likely to be on the property, burglars tend to look for easy targets. The solution, the OPP say, is to make your cottage as difficult and unattractive to potential break-and-enterers as possible.

Here are a few ways to make your cottage a little less likely to be targeted:

Lock your doors and windows

Regardless of if you lock your doors while you’re inside your own home, it is of course advisable to lock them when you vacate your cottage for the winter. Having solid deadbolts will also send a clear message.

Remove or hide your valuables

One way to avoid having people break in and take your valuables: don’t have any valuables. At least not on site. If you can, take expensive sporting goods items, electronics, alcohol, and other tempting items off-site—or at the very least, keep them out of plain sight and locked up someplace secure.

Close your curtains

If people can’t see what they might get out of a break-in, they’re less likely to go through the trouble of robbing you.

Record your serial numbers

If you have bikes or other items with serial numbers, record them (and register them with the police when possible). At least if they are taken, police will be able to track you down if they’re recovered.

Set timed lights

If you have access to light timers, set them to come on periodically over the winter. It’ll give the impression that the property is occupied and well cared for.

Remove food from the property

This will discourage burglars of the non-human variety.

Use an alarm system

People breaking into cottages want to take the fewest risks possible. An alarm system will not only alert police if someone does break in, but it will also deter people from even bothering to try to get in.

Hide your ladders

Don’t provide people with the tools they need to get into your cottage.

Check in

If you live relatively close to your cottage, drop in a few times over the off-season. In general, having a property that’s well cared for and sometimes occupied will make a big difference.

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