As the weather starts to cool, many Nova Scotians are locking up their seasonal homes and cottages for the winter. Nova Scotia RCMP are encouraging owners to take extra steps to secure their property during the winter months to prevent the cottage or camp bring targeted by thieves. Last year, RCMP received reports of more than 300 break-ins at seasonal properties.
Thieves tend to be attracted to items they can carry and easily sell. Flat screen televisions and other electronics, alcohol and firearms are items commonly stolen from cottages and camps. Outbuildings are also broken in to. ATV's, outboard motors, and chainsaws are items frequently stolen when stored in a shed or barn.
Here are a few things you can do to make thieves less attracted to your property;
On the inside:
- Remove valuables
- Secure all windows and doors with extra deadbolts and devices to make them difficult to open
- Close curtains
- Photograph interior – make list of items and serial numbers
On the outside:
- If possible, ensure adequate lighting is present
- Place a gate across your driveway
- Check on the property on a regular basis or ask a neighbour for help.
- Secure outbuildings
- Avoid storing any items of value in sheds or barns
- Install trail cameras in a location pointing towards the cottage or cabin in order to capture images of suspects, suspect vehicles and license plates.
- Avoid storing vehicles and their keys at a cottage or camp – this includes ATV's and snowmobiles.
- When possible, attempt to make your property visible from the road by clearing brush and shrubs.
RCMP encourages you to have a contact person in the area where you have your camp or cottage. Most communities have residents who more than willing to help people by keeping a watchful eye on their property. Ensure it's someone you trust and you can provide a key for their access to check on your property. Also ensure they have a contact telephone number for you.