Check your cottage, trailer, OPP warn after rash of break-ins

Norfolk County OPP have responded to four break and enters at cottages in Turkey Point this week alone, Const. Ed Sanchuk said. The OPP are reminding property owners to check on their cottages and trailers, saying the long weekend is a great time to do it.

TVs, lawnmowers, alcohol among items targeted by thieves, police say

In the middle of February, you may be dreaming about long summer days at the cottage or trailer, but OPP want you to make a mid-winter trip to your vacation property to check in on it. (Elsie Hutsul/Supplied)

There has been a rash of break-ins in cottages in Turkey Point, prompting police to warn those who own vacation homes to make a mid-winter check.

Const. Ed Sanchuk of Norfolk County OPP said in the past week alone, there have been four break and enters reported in the Lake Erie tourist destination.

The thieves are taking televisions, alcohol, "really anything they can get their hands on," he said. 

Those who own vacation properties are encouraged to check on their cottages and trailers, and Sanchuk said the long weekend is a great time to do that. 

If you want your cottage or trailer to be ready to use in the summer, check on it in the winter, police say. (Ville-Matti Kaartinen/flickr cc)

He also had the following advice for keeping your property safe and secure:

Mark your property

If you can't take an item out of the cottage or trailer, mark it in some way.

Some people use birthdays, but Sanchuk said a license plate number is a great option, because police can use that to trace the property back to the rightful owner.

There's another benefit.

"Property that's easily identified is less likely to be stolen due to the permanent engraving that makes it difficult for the criminals to sell," he said.

Set up a camera

If you're concerned about the security of your cottage or trailer, a surveillance camera would help if there's a break in.

"So far we're 15 out of 15," Sanchuk said, referring to break and enter investigations where there was a video available.

"If we can't identify that person or that suspicious person through our officers, then we reach out to our media partners … and so far we've been 100 per cent successful."
If you can't check on your property, arrange to have a neighbour check it, or sign up for the SafeGuard Ontario Property Security program.

Have someone else check in

If you don't have the time to take a mid-winter trek to the trailer, Sanchuk recommends getting a friend or neighbour who lives in the area year round to go check on your property.

Police ask those who live in resort towns to keep their eyes open for suspicious activity, but the neighbours might not see it.

If you really don't know anyone who could check your property, the OPP also have the SafeGuard Ontario Property Security program. Homeowners can sign up for the free program to have an auxiliary officer check up on their property or business.

"A lot of times, people come down here for the summer months and then they go elsewhere for the rest of the winter," Sanchuk said.

"We want to make sure that everyone comes down to their home [and] enjoys it the same way that they left it."