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Remote cabins and lake houses aren’t immune to break-ins. Since most lake home owners use their homes only 25% to 30% of the time there’s ample opportunity for burglaries. Furthermore, crime in rural areas is riskier for homeowners for several reasons. First, it often takes more time to discover the break-in, second, the police may not be close by and third, the perps have plenty of time to get away. The good news is– there are some very practical ways to prevent a burglary and we’re going to share them with you today!

We were victims of a lake house break-in a few years ago.  A two-man burglary team broke into about 40 local lake properties in a 2-month period. The crime spree occurred in January and February, and the men operated in the early morning hours.  They got into our house by smashing the front door’s glass side panel, reaching in, and unlocking the front door. The crime was discovered 4 hours later. The burglars had hit the house next door as well.

A wise detective shared with us some excellent advice. He noted that a burglar wants cover, easy entry and prefers to use minimal force to break-in. In other words, lights, openness, and door entry deterrents are good home protection strategies. Cameras are also a deterrent. The best line of defense is to make it hard to get in and to light things up. Then, hopefully, the thieves will move on to an easier target.

We acted on the detective’s advice and took several steps to prevent future break-ins.

Here are ten tips to secure your home and prevent a burglary:

1.)  Make sure the snow’s plowed and stop all mail delivery. An unplowed driveway is a dead giveaway that you’re not home. Overflowing mailboxes is also a signal that you aren’t there. Ideally, a year-round neighbor will drive around your driveway to make tire tracks in the snow.

2.)  Install motion detection lights around the front or your home. The lights will immediately illuminate the front door startling the intruders and removing their cover.

3.)  Invest in deadbolt locks that require keys to unlock them for your main doors. The intruders may smash the glass window panel but they can’t open the deadbolt locks without a key.

4.)  Close and lock all your windows so they aren’t an easy entry point.

5.)  Sliding glass doors are an easy target and can have weak locks. Place a security bar on the track restricting easy door opening.

6.)  Avoid social network updates as you pack up to leave the cabin.

7.)  If you have Wi-Fi, install a small security camera near the front door. The camera app can signal you when it detects motion in your lake house. Post window stickers to warn that camera(s) are in use.

8.)  Don’t hide a key under the front door floor mat. Use a weather resistant key holder that you can strategically locate outdoors.

9.)  Make sure valuables, electronics, and cash are out of sight.

10.)  Meet your neighbors.

We share these tips to help you better secure your cabin or lake house from a break-in. We haven’t had an incident since we implemented these pointers. And, as an added bonus, our security camera does double duty! We’ve placed a simple countertop room thermometer in the camera’s sightline, and we can simultaneously monitor the inside house temperature. We also know if we have a risk of freezing temperatures in the house.

We hope these tips provide you with the peace of mind we now have to prevent a burglary at the cabin or lake house. We’ll discuss installing a home security system in a separate post.

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