Burglars Use Social Media To Find Targets

  • Social media updates give burglars info
  • Gen Yers fear loss of PC/laptop
  • 5 percent of people have CCTV

Almost nine in ten (86 percent) Australian residents believe that posting their whereabouts on social media websites presents a threat to home security, according to new research findings announced today by ADT Security.

Conducted in January 2012, the second annual ‘Secure Homes’ report surveyed 2000 homeowners and renters in both metropolitan and regional Australia. Among the other key findings, 30 percent of respondents reported they had been the victim of a break-in – 8 percent of them in the last 12 months. Forced entry through a window was described as the predominant method used by burglars, representing 41 percent of break-ins. Other common methods included forced entry through the back door (17 percent), forced entry through front door (12 percent), entry through an unlocked window (10 percent), garage (6 percent) and balcony (3 percent).

The impact of social media has attracted significant attention over the past year, with increased reports of opportunistic crime occurring due to information posted online.

“Savvy criminals are gaining access to up-to-the-minute details through peoples’ status updates and posts, allowing them to learn when the home is likely to be vacant. While sharing information with your online network is fun, it’s important to think twice before updating your facebook status, tweeting or checking into foursquare” said ADT Security’s Michael Bates.

“Small measures such as setting your profiles to private, turning off location finders, not accepting unknown people as friends or simply a bit of self-censorship when it comes to announcing an extended holiday, can help prevent falling victim to burglary or vandalism while away from home.”

The research also found that while almost a quarter (23 percent) of residents believe crime is a problem in their local community, the humble lock and key remains the home protection measure of choice for most Australians (89 percent). Recognising that the family pet can serve as an effective early warning system for unusual activity, one in five respondents showed great affection for guard dogs (20 percent), which was almost equal to the growing number of people who have an alarm system installed (22 percent).

Other commonly used security measures included bars on windows and doors (18 percent), security system warning signs and stickers (19 percent) and motion sensor lighting (15 percent). CCTV surveillance trailed the list (5 percent).

The survey also revealed some interesting generational differences when it comes to home security.  In the event of a break-in, Baby Boomers are more concerned about identity fraud than other generations, with 62 percent identifying it as their primary concern.  Comparatively, less than half of Gen Y respondents cited this as a concern (48 percent).  

When asked what they would be most upset about losing in the event of a break-in, Gen Y respondents showed greater concern for their personal computer/laptop (72 percent) than personal records (68 percent), cash (43 percent) or a camera (35 percent).  Builders, Boomers and Gen X reported the loss of personal records as their greatest concern (82 percent, 76 percent, 70 percent), rather than big ticket items such as jewellery, cash and home theatre equipment, which are typically viewed as the most attractive items for burglars to steal.

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