Cottage break and enters, damage and theft are serious concerns impacting police, cottagers, cottagers’ associations and insurance companies. Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) encourages crime prevention at the cottage in support of local cottagers’ associations and Cottage Watch initiatives across Ontario.
What is Cottage Watch?
A Community Watch Program initiative promoting cottage community safety and security.
Who Is Involved In Cottage Watch?
Cottagers’, road or lake associations your local OPP Detachment
How Does Cottage Watch Work?
As a member of Cottage Watch, you are a “partner in community safety” by: simply reporting suspicious persons or activities to police; and participating in cottage safety & crime prevention programs (e.g. OPP Operation Identification, SafeGuard Ontario Property Security Program, etc). Remember, if there is no one living at or checking it regularly, the cost of owning a cottage or summer property does include the frustration and irritation of repairing damage and replacing stolen property.
Secure your cottage – windows and doors – close window curtains or blinds and put up shutters to protect interior from marauders (animals and human)
Record Operation – identification property marking / serial numbers of anything of value left behind.
Make a list of where everything is and make copies – store one copy on your home computer and keep a hard copy with the property that will return to your cottage on your first or next trip there.
Cottage Watch, like other Community Watch initiatives, is a community driven – police supported initiative. Information in support of establishing a local Cottage Watch initiative is available from the OPP Crime Prevention Section, through your local OPP Detachment.
Closing the Cottage for the Season
As Fall arrives, it’s the time of the season when rural property owners should start considering the closure and winterizing of their cottages. Cottages and summer homes are most vulnerable to thieves from the week following Thanksgiving Day to the weeks prior to Victoria Day, especially if the owners are not using them for fall, winter or spring getaways.
Identify who your cottage property key holder is for: alarms, thefts, weather damage or animal problems; their contact info numbers; are they paid to check your cottage regularly or are they friends / neighbours? Your insurance company may give you a deduction if you have one.
Know your local OPP Detachment that patrols your cottage community 1-888-310-1122.
Predictable is Preventable
SafeGuard your property!
- Pack up and take home all alcohol
- Do not leave firearms or weapons at the cottage
- Leave no valuables at cottage – electronics, personal items, tools etc. unless you’re prepared to lose them
- Sporting goods – fishing rods & equipment, water skis, toys etc – if they’re not secured (locked up, hidden or both) don’t expect them to be there next spring
- 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
Remember“Lock it or Lose it!”