How to protect your home from burglaries this summer

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The ‘Crime in England and Wales 2016’ report by ONS, claims 664,000 domestic burglaries took place in 2016. However, further detail from the report reveals just 200,659 of these crimes were recorded by the police – a consequential difference in figures.

It may be that a victim of burglary will not deem their loss to be substantial enough to report, or that they simply to not feel confident in handing the case over to the police; fearing it will take too long to solve and provide no resolution.

In fact, it seems that more and more victims of burglary will turn first to social media – via platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – to voice their shock and to appeal for help from fellow comrades-in-arms; asking neighbours if they have any information, or requesting friends ‘share’ the experience in a hope someone, somewhere on the web will know something.

Fittingly, there have been several reports in the press recently reflecting this, such as an account from Fiona Pilling – who had both her business and shed burgled in the past year:

“There have been a lot of burglaries, it does worry you but people aren’t really reporting it now just posting it on social media. I know a lot of people whose houses have been tried but they don’t think there is any point in telling the police because nothing will happen.”

Photo credit: NiP photography/Shuttterstock

Likewise, The Telegraph documented an incident just a month ago, which involved a pub landlord appealing for help on Facebook – as he battled an intruder – after police said they could not attend immediately because it was not “an emergency.”

With police resources and respondents on the scene at an all-time low, it may appear that social media can be a valuable source for the public to utilise. Yet, just as victims turn to social media for resolution, it can also be said it is responsible for cause – at least in part.

A lively feed may indicate a vacant home

As we saunter through the summer months, it’s highly likely we will plan to take a holiday. Here in the UK, it is August that is the most popular month in which to vacation – with approximately 7 million Brits due to travel abroad, and millions more seeking a staycation closer to home.

Appropriately, holiday-makers up and down the country will seek to share their summer adventures through social media (it is 2017 after all); where eagle-eyed observers can bear witness to endless selfies, shaded Pina coladas by the pool and perhaps a scenic horizon or two.

Photo credit: photobyphotoboy/Shutterstock 

Harmless, voyeuristic scrolling aside; the evolution of social media – how we use it and where we use it – can affect not only personal safety, but the safety of our home too. Smart technology now presents an opportunity to pinpoint an individual’s exact location, via an online status or uploaded photo; instantly revealing where you are, where you intend to be and exactly where you are not, in one swift click.

Tech-savvy, eagle-eyed criminals will look to use social media as a key tool in identifying who is away from home: meaning your innocent upload could set you and yours up for infiltration. It is in these moments where our homes become vulnerable; exposed in their vacancy, it is thought over half of burglars take advantage of their unoccupied state while homeowners are away.

Savvy, social media quick-tips

  • Set your social media accounts to private. This way, anyone who is not ‘friends’ with you won’t have access to your profile information: securing your photos and posts.
  • Remove all ‘location services’ from your social media profiles before going away
  • Remove EXIF data from your images. Essentially, GPS for an image; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram remove EXIF data from uploaded images – but not every social network will do the same.
  • Wait to post until you get home. It may seem obvious, but why not wait until you get home before publicly sharing your holiday anecdotes and pictures – your safety will thank you for it.

Photo credit: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock 

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