Security for Your Cottage
Once snow starts to fall heavily, snowmobile tracks and footprints leave evidence.
The challenge with keeping cottages secure is that they are often isolated from neighbours. Even worse, most neighbours are seasonal as well. Anything portable with value is of interest to a cottage thief. Commonly stolen items include TVs, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, lawn mowers, power tools, generators, boat motors, ATVs, snowmobiles, bicycles and alcohol. But who is doing all this stealing?
Cottages are broken into by a large age group ranging from young kids to adults.
When leaving your cottage for the final time, take any valuables with you. If you want something there next spring, make sure you take it home with you. If you must leave items behind, hide them well.
Do not set traps for would-be thieves. If people get injured while breaking into your property, you could be liable.
Constable Bankowski from the RCMP shared his thoughts. “If I had a cottage, I would be closing up the windows and putting locks on them, have a security system, and I would take everything inside that is of any value and lock it up. Board up your windows if you want to. If there are people that stay out at their cottages year-round, I would let those people know you are leaving so they can keep their eye on your cottage. Basically, use common sense. Don’t leave anything of value around when you are not there.”
Look at all possible areas of entry and make sure they are secure.
Secure Cottage Doors Ensuring your doors are as close to impenetrable as possible is time well spent.
A hardwood or metal door is best. Install a solid, secure deadbolt on every door. Use doors with hinges on the inside or that lock together when closed. Patio or deck sliding doors made of security glass are ideal. Ensure they cannot be derailed; older patio doors can often be simply lifted and removed. Install a security bar or put a 2x2 in the track. If your cottage has a garage, make sure the door leading to your cottage from the garage is as securely locked as the front door. Thieves have accessed cottages through pet doors. Board them up.
Taking a few extra minutes to lock your windows properly may save you a lot of grief. Install and use strong locks on all windows. Secure locks are a deterrent for thieves who want to quickly get in and out. Install limiting pins directly into window casing so they can’t be opened more than an inch or two. Latch skylights. Clean doors and windows before you leave for the city. It will be easier to get fingerprints from them should the need arise. More Ways to Secure Your Cottage Engrave any items you leave behind with your license plate number, social insurance number or driver’s license number so they can be identified as yours. To deter thieves, the engraving should be in an obvious place. Record model and serial numbers of valuables you leave behind. Take photos or videotape the interior and exterior of your cottage.
Unplug electric garage door openers. Put away all ladders, tools, axes and such so thieves cannot use them to aid in a B&E. Put your indoor lights on a timer to come on randomly if you are willing to keep your electricity on. Consider installing photoelectric cells so outdoor lights come on at dusk and shut off as the sun rises. Or, install outdoor motion sensors so the cottage perimeter is flooded with light when the area is entered. Thieves prefer the cover of darkness for partaking in their crimes. Arrange to have your property maintained in your absence. Near-by neighbours who live in their cottage year-round can be your greatest ally against thieves. Ask if they mind checking on your place regularly. Arrange for a neighbour to periodically park in your laneway and to put garbage bags at the end of your lane for pick-up. Just make sure you bring them an awesome gift in the spring to show your appreciation!
If someone is determined to access your cottage, you can’t do anything to keep him or her out. But typical cottage thieves are looking for a quick and easy break-in. The more steps you take to prevent burglaries, the more secure your cottage is. If your cottage looks too challenging, they will go elsewhere. Thieves are looking to get into any cottage with as little fuss and nuisance as possible.