Keeping an eye on your lake home during winter months

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. (Valley News Live)- The Becker County Sheriff says if you're not doing anything this weekend, head down to your lake home. He's talking about break-ins. As we've been telling you, they've been impacting communities in lakes country.

Summer or winter, it doesn't matter, we love our lakes. That's why a lot of you, have a cabin or lake home. But when you're away in these winter months, do you keep a close eye on that house?

"One of the main things is, you want to make your home look like it's lived in, like somebody's there. Whether that's leaving a light on or having that light on a timer," says Becker County Sheriff, Todd Glander.

Sheriff Glander says it's not just the cabins you need to make sure are secure, but fish houses too. The sheriff tells us, social media can play a part in these break-ins. He says, to be careful when posting about leaving town. But there's also an upside to social media.

In the F-M area, it has helped capture bad guys and allowed neighbors to alert one another in just the past couple of days. But even in a place where everyone knows everybody, like in Underwood, which has also had a rash of break-ins, there's deep concern.

"It's a small close-knit community and I don't know of anything of who this may or may not be, but it seems like they're pretty familiar with the layout. These last ones on Monday night were pretty crazy," says an Underwood Resident.

Now Sheriff Glander tells us, suspects are also looking for things they can grab quickly and sell. So he says to keep any valuables like guns, stereos, gaming consoles, out of sight and hidden in your home. What Glander tells us about these lake homes, also ties in to those of you who will be leaving your homes soon to visit a warmer climate for spring break.

The Underwood resident we spoke with tells us, the community is taking these break-ins seriously. The South Turtle Lake Improvement District is offering a reward for any information that can lead to an arrest of the culprits.

You can find a full list of tips on how to keep your home safe when you're gone, right here:

• Don’t announce, especially on social media, when you will be gone.
• Keep your home looking like it is lived in.
• Keep lights on, or on a timer.
• Lock all doors and windows, including garages, outbuildings, and vehicles.
• Don’t leave keys in vehicles or other obvious places (doormats, flowerpots, etc.).
• Have someone keep driveways and sidewalks clear of snow (and lawn mowed in the summer).
• Don’t let mail, papers, or other deliveries build up.
• Use an alarm system or cameras.
• Have someone check on your home periodically while you are gone.
• If you have been burglarized, do not enter the home or building and do not touch anything. Call law enforcement immediately.
• Detailed descriptions of people, vehicles, along with license plate numbers, are all helpful when reporting information to law enforcement. Do not put yourself in danger while attempting to get this information.
• Report suspicious activity immediately.