COTTAGE COUNTRY, ON – With fall in full swing, it is crunch time for cottage owners to close up shop and winterize.

Summer homes are most vulnerable after Thanksgiving long weekend to Victoria Day. They become even more susceptible when the owner is not using them regularly during the colder months.

In order to avoid unnecessary frustration when opening the cottage back up in the spring, here are some tips.

First is to take home any and all alcohol and do not leave any weapons in the home. Any vehicles being left at the cottage should be winterized, secured and disabled.

Anyone with a snowmobile should remove the track and hide the keys if it’s not being used. Boats and motors should be covered and locked, or disabled.

Valuables shouldn’t be left in cottages either, don’t give a thief a reason to break-in. Ontario Provincial Police suggest recording the serial numbers of anything being left behind and those valuables should be marked to make it easier for officers to recover if they are stolen.

Make a list of everything valuable in the home and where it is. Anyone looking to go above and beyond can make a video of the insides of the cottage to show their personal belongings and then store that video safely.

For those keeping an eye on someone elses cottage, be sure to note any suspicious activity. It can go a long way in preventing property crime.

Taking steps to secure a cottage can help deter intruders and help prevent a lot of frustration when opening the summer home in the spring.