One minute is all the time a burglar needs to break into your house.
Ten minutes is all they need to find and steal your most valuable possessions.
We hear a lot about the long term consequences our social media actions can have on our lives, but we invite much more immediate dangers with our online posts than many of us realise. In our efforts to share information with our friends and family we risk compromising the safety and security of our homes, and providing criminals with all the details they need to organise and carry out a burglary.
Real-time updates on your whereabouts are exactly what burglars need
It’s become almost second nature to social media users to upload a photo to Facebook or Instagram to show their followers where they are and who they are with. This is an ingrained part of our social experiences, encouraged by our peers, and even the establishments we visit, who benefit from the publicity. In these moments, one of the last things we’re thinking about is our home security; we’re not focused on just how much valuable information we may be giving to the wrong people.
Snapchat and apps which enable others to track your location can also make you vulnerable. It’s important to know exactly who you are granting access to this information in order to protect your home.
Unless the social media accounts you are using (or are featured on) are protected by the right privacy settings, anyone could target you and your home. Details of your home address may feature on social media via GPS, even unintentionally. Anyone with access to this information could use your updates as a signal to scope out your empty house.
For individuals who regularly use social media to document their day to day lives, there is also a chance that you have revealed information about recent purchases and existing valuables in your home. This essentially provides burglars with an inventory of expensive or cherished items, enticing them further.
Wait until you’re home to share your holiday
The excitement and anticipation which comes with holidays can make it incredibly difficult to resist sharing every detail on social media, from the moment you arrive at the airport to your last night away. The risks are obvious and potentially severe: it creates opportunity for much more organised theft, repeat intrusions, and more loss and damage.
Even when the house is not left empty, you may be endangering the safety of remaining household members. Home intrusion can have a serious impact on the mental health of its victims and, if the intruder is armed, their physical well-being is put at risk as well.
If you travel often, your home should be fitted out with adequate security systems, including security systems like domestic CCTV cameras or burglar alarms. Home security firms view the latter as essential for keeping properties safe; Banham, London’s largest security firm, have noted that 84% of home intruders are deterred by visible high quality alarm systems.
No matter how comprehensive your home security, one of the most surefire ways to minimise how vulnerable your property is left during your excursions is to wait until you are home before uploading any information to social media. Take time to consider what criminals can glean from your posts, and keep the details of your home, journey and time frames vague, especially in regard to regular or particularly long trips.