Blain writes:

"We've just purchased a little house in Cape Coral. The house will be empty a lot of the time. The realtor suggested we fence in the AC unit and water purification stuff at the side of the house to prevent theft. Do you think this would be helpful or necessary? Thanks. Blain"

Great question Blain.  Thank you for writing in.

The advice your realtor gave you may be sound...with some caveats.  It is true that Cape Coral sees its fair share of AC, water system, and pool heater thefts from unoccupied residences.  This is usually because the offenders intend to sell the unit, or rather the precious metals contained within, for scrap.

Taking steps to provide additional security for your unit, to make it less enticing or more difficult to steal, is not a bad idea.  There are cages you can purchase that bolt to the concrete and/or the house that may work for you to deter theft.  Also, landscaping to conceal the unit may make potential thieves look elsewhere.

While these steps are good, nothing guarantees that your unit won't be targeted, especially if the house will sit dormant for a good part of the year.  Many metal thieves take time to case homes and look for seasonal homes that have no or few neighbors.  If a thief believes the payoff outweighs the risk, even a caged unit can be targeted.

We recommend taking reasonable steps to secure your property, but take time to meet your neighbors and get them on your side.  An alert neighbor who is looking out for you is worth their weight in gold.  Exterior lighting on timers or motion sensors might also help.  Finally, on www.capecops.com you can sign up for a vacation house check.  It's only good for a 30-day period during a CALENDAR year, but the service is free and gets additional eyes on your home in your absence.

We hope this helps.  Welcome to Cape Coral.  We think you are going to like it here.

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