Sunday, July 1, 2012

Most burglars using Facebook and Twitter to target victims, survey suggests

Most burglars using Facebook and Twitter to target victims, survey suggests

by Andy Bloxham,
September 26th 2011

The majority of burglars use social media such as the websites Facebook and Twitter to target their victims, a survey suggests.

With many users posting constant updates, the sites can unwittingly provide the thieves with information about recent high-value purchases such as televisions as well as the dates and times when they are out.

Other websites, such as Google Street View, show photographs of individual houses from which the would-be burglars can gauge security and ease of access by looking for alarms and side entrances.

The results were based on the answers of offenders who were convicted of burglary this year.

Four out of five of the criminals said social media websites were being used by burglars.

However, the same number said a simple home alarm would have deterred them from targeting the property in the first place.

According to the survey, a thief steals an average of £487 from a home on a single visit.

One of the convicted burglars interviewed, Richard Taylor, said: “We’re living in the age of the digital criminal and people are taking advantage of social media to access information about would-be victims.

“We’ll tell them even when we’re going away on holidays. We will let them know that we’re not in. We’re inviting them round to our house.”

Jonathan Lim, an expert at Friedland, the security firm behind the research, said: “Taking simple measures, including cutting back trees and shrubs to remove potential hiding places and installing simple alarm systems are all good, cost-effective deterrents that all homeowners can implement to remove their home from the target list.”

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