Protecting Your Valuables

Tips (courtesy of Federation of Ontario Cottagers Association and Silver and Rainbow Lakes Association:

If you are shutting down the cottage for the season

  • Secure windows and doors
  • Close curtains or blinds; put up shutters if  necessary to protect the interior from marauders (animal or human)
  • Leave no valuables at the cottage – electronics, personal items, tools – unless you are prepared to lose them!
  • Confirm your local “keyholder” person to respond to any alarms, weather damage,thefts or animal problems.
  • Record their contact info and give them yours.
  • For snow machines remove track and keys; ensure boats are covered and locked with outboard motors locked and slightly disassembled; disable ATVs.
  • Leave nothing on a trailer unless it is locked or disabled.
  • Record the serial numbers of anything of value you decide to leave behind.

Ontario’s Electrical Safety Authority has excellent specific information on shutting down and opening up cottage electrical systems. For a link to their website click

Tip Sheet from the Safe Guard Program

Are there clear views of all windows and doors? The more private an area is, the more likely it is to attract the attention of a criminal. Trim trees and shrubs that block sight lines to your windows and doors. During the evening is there visible interior or exterior lighting that gives the impression that you are home, even if you’re not? Install outside lighting to eliminate dark areas around doors or windows. Use motion lights with a low intensity feature as an alternative to bright constant level lighting.


Do all of your exterior doors have a deadbolt with at least a one-inch throw? Criminals with tools easily defeat conventional key in the knob locks. Deadbolts should be installed on all exterior doors. Are the screws that secure your entry doors and strike plates of your home at least 2 1/2 inches long? Most door installations use screws less than 1″ in length. This results in a door that appears secure but is relatively weak and easily prone to being kicked in. Door kick break-ins to homes are becoming common. To secure a door properly the screws should be at least 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long. Have you taken steps to reinforce any windows located in or next to doors? Glass within 40 inches of a door lock can be broken and a criminal can reach inside to unlock the door. If you have a sliding door, do you have screws in the top of the track to prevent the door from being lifted out when they are in the closed and locked position? There is a 1″ gap at the top of sliding doors, which allows them to be lifted in and out of their tracks. The addition of 3 flat-headed wood screws in the upper track of the doors in the closed position will prevent criminals from lifting them out. If you have a sliding door, install either a hockey stick in the bottom track or a security bar to prevent the door from opening.


Do the windows on your home have a pin or secondary after market locking device in case the normal window lock is pried and defeated? Most window locks are easily broken. Criminals target sliding windows and double hung windows are easy to jimmy open. Are your basement windows pinned or do you have a wooden dowel in the track of the window? Basement windows are the preferred entry point for break and enters to homes. Extra security should be used on them.


When you are away from home do you leave lights on timers both inside and outside the home? Timers make a home look lived in and will potentially avoid leaving your home in darkness or leaving the outside lights on during the day. Do you have a trusted neighbour or friend pick up your mail, newspapers and flyers when away for more than a day? The accumulation of mail, newspapers and flyers is a sure sign that nobody’s home. Avoid sending the wrong message to burglars.