RCMP are reminding cottage and seasonal residence owners to make sure their property is protected against break and enters.
Police also encourage all Islanders to report any suspicious traffic or activity in areas that are normally quiet in the winter months.
"Empty summer properties are vulnerable to criminal activity over the winter months,'' says Sgt. Andrew Blackadar, media relations officer with L Division RCMP. "Finding out that your property has been vandalized in the spring sometimes means that little to no evidence can be gathered. The best option is to have a good alarm system and monitor the property, either on your own or through the help of neighbours."
RCMP just laid charges on three Island individuals involved in at least 24 break and enter crimes.
Property owners can do a number of things to reduce the likelihood of a break and enter while away from their seasonal property.
- Remove all valuables including such items as generators, tools, small appliances and machinery and vehicles such as ATVs. These are prime targets for thieves.
- Consider organizing watches or patrols with others who have seasonal properties near yours and take turns checking on each other's properties. The presence of others is a deterrent to would-be thieves. Note licence plates and the description of strange vehicles and off road vehicles and report that to police.
- Consider a gate access if your cottage is on a private lane. Anything you can do to make it more difficult for thieves to access your property and carry off your belongings reduces your chances of being victimized.
- Some people have installed "deer cameras'' which are motion sensitive and operate in infrared light. These have proven useful in helping police identify perpetrators in some cases.
RCMP stress that owners still have time to check on their property and, if necessary, take some of these precautions. Until winter settles in it's also easier for thieves to move about in these remote areas.
Anyone with information about break and enters or other criminal activity at seasonal residences is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).