Burglars get social, too

By Pamela Singleton, Sonitrol Pacific Director of Communications
Posted August 31, 2009

Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, etc. offer a great avenue for staying connected with friends and family. However, they also give complete strangers access to personal information they never before had and some burglars are taking advantage of this.

People tweet when and where they’re going to dinner. They update their status with information on delayed flights. Families upload photos after a day of sightseeing to give friends immediate access to them. Burglars can search for and use this information to target the homes of people away on holiday, out of town for a weekend get-a-way, or off on a business trip.

Burglars using Facebook, Twitter to find targets: report by Belinda Goldsmith details recent research on the “Digital Criminal”.

Strive to find balance between enjoying social media to communicate with friends and protecting your privacy and the safety and security of your home.
– Investigate the security and privacy settings of your social media networks and use them. Establish groups that allow different people different levels of access to you and your personal information.
– Write evasive updates/tweets so burglars can’t determine if you’re home or away.
– Wait until you return from holiday before uploading photos to a file sharing service.
– Complete a home security assessment to verify your home isn’t an easy target for a burglar. At the very least:
1. make certain you have non-bumpable locks installed in well-fitting door frames
2. install outdoor lighting with motion sensors
3. design landscaping to deter burglars – plant thorny bushes under windows; keep all greenery well pruned to prevent hiding places; place 12-18 inches of river rock or gravel around the house so it makes noise when walked on
4. never leave windows unlocked, regardless of what floor of the house they are on
5. get to know your neighbors and look out for each other