Teleworkers kept burglars at bay | Yle Uutiset

A summer cottage in the fall, archive photo from 2020.

Image: Pekka Tynell / Yle


Teleworking, border closures and the growing use of surveillance systems are all factors in the recent sharp drop in the number of break-ins targeting vacation homes, police say.

Nationally, cottage burglaries have fallen by more than 40 percent in the past year. In some areas, burglaries have fallen by 60%. However, there are a few areas showing an exception to the trend.

In the regions of eastern Uusimaa, southwestern Finland and central Finland, less than half of cottage burglaries were recorded at the end of June compared to the same period last year.

“There are certainly several reasons. One of the biggest factors is that people have been telecommuting from their cottage for the past year and a half. Consequently, they spend more time in residence, ”explains the detective inspector. Jarmo Katila of the Police Department of South West Finland.

The story continues after the photo.

Rikoskomisario Jarmo Katila seisoo syksyisen niityn laidalla kaulassaan poliisin virkamerkki

Jarmo Katila from the South West Finland Police Department.

Image: Kati Rantala / Yle Pori

According to Katila, a busy summer cottage, or the presence of cottage neighbors, clearly reduces its appeal to burglars.

Border closures have helped

Police also believe that closing Finland’s borders to steady levels of traffic as a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus has been another factor in the decline in burglaries.

“The control of the EU’s internal borders was carried out until the end of July this year. Tighter border controls have prevented foreign criminal elements from entering Finland,” said Jarmo Katila.

Leif Malmberg, from the Eastern Uusimaa Police Department, agrees with Katila’s assessment. He cites statistics showing that the total number of property crimes committed by foreign nationals visiting Finland has declined during the pandemic.

Exception in the Oulu region

However, the figures for vacation home burglaries in the Oulu region differ from the rest of the country, showing a slight increase.

At the end of June, 41 cottage burglaries had been reported there, compared to 35 during the same period of 2020.

Corn, Janne Koskela, director of the Crime Prevention Unit in Oulu, points out that the difference of six additional burglaries is actually quite small.

According to Koskela, the slight increase in break-ins at vacation homes can be explained by the fact that last spring two local people were roaming the area and stealing items from summer cabins, including a snowblower, chainsaws, outboard motors and a boat.

Statistically, Helsinki stands out with a grand total of four cases of holiday home burglaries between January and the end of June, a 100% increase from the two in the same period last year.

Better monitoring

An increasing number of Finnish summer cottages today are equipped with some type of electronic security system.

Hannu TarkkioSatakunta’s chief security officer says this is a result of our more connected world.

“The cottages are now much better equipped in terms of electricity and telecommunications. Therefore, installing a monitoring system is easier and cheaper, ”explains Tarkkio.

According to Tarkkio, chalet owners often want motion detectors with cameras in their security systems, as well as sensors that measure the temperature and humidity conditions of the chalet.

The story continues after the photo.

Seinällä kameralla varustettu liiketunnistin.  Taustalla kesämökin ikkunoita

Motion detectors and various sensors can be found in a growing number of summer cottages.

Image: Kati Rantala / Yle Pori


Better security equipment also makes it easier for police to solve break-ins.

“They [security systems] are seen in more and more places. For example, cameras can be crucial if they capture the suspect’s face or the registration number of a vehicle, ”explains Jarmo Katila.

The story continues after the photo.

Hannu Tarkkio seisoo punaisen omakotitalon portailla.  Hänen olan takaa näkyy kaksi valvontakameraa

Like many other chalet owners, Hannu Tarkkio has surveillance cameras to capture images of unauthorized passers-by.

Image: Kati Rantala / Yle Pori

According to Katila, even environmental monitoring systems can also come in handy if the windows are broken during the burglary. Sensors can notify the cottage owner of changes in humidity, allowing for a faster response.

“Any damage will be lessened if the chalet is not left at the mercy of bad weather and wild animals for a long time,” recalls the pointer.

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