Burglars using social media to track whereabouts of homeowners during quiet summer months
As the school holidays are imminent, many families are planning summer holidays leaving millions of homes vulnerable to burglary throughout July and August. According to a recent overseas travel and tourism report by the Office of National Statistics, over 16.2 million Brits travelled overseas in July and August last year.
With sales of holidays abroad up 7% this year, this number is expected to increase suggesting that even more homes will be left vacant this summer. With opportunist burglars using social media to track the whereabouts of property owners, it is more important than ever for families to adopt a belt and braces approach to home security by re-considering the privacy settings of the whole family’s social media accounts and using smart home technology to compliment traditional security methods such as alarm systems and window locks.
To ensure family homes and neighbourhoods are kept safe this summer, Ring, the outdoor home security company, has compiled its top tips for protecting neighbourhoods through technology. With Ilford, London, Leeds, Manchester and Cambridge being the most burgled cities, homeowners across the UK can spend more time enjoying a summer break to remember, rather than worrying about the safety of their most prized possessions.
Lock all doors and windows
It sounds basic, but a surprising number of burglaries take place because people have forgotten to lock all the doors and windows. Some people even leave a few windows open for air flow whilst they’re away. Leaving your doors and windows unlocked is an open invitation to burglars, so always double-check them before you leave and to be extra safe install a double lock on your front door.
Avoid hiding spare keys
Many homeowners still keep a spare set of keys somewhere in front of their house. This is a bad habit and a major security risk. Your key is never hidden as well as you think it is and experienced burglars will know all the common hiding places. If you have arranged for a neighbour or friend to check your post whilst you’re away, lending them a spare key is a far safer alternative.
Make it look like you are at home
Very few burglars have been known to strike when they think someone is at home. Many thieves are opportunists and if it looks like you’re on holiday they will be more inclined to try their luck. Making it look like you’re at home, is a simple and effective security measure you should take. Keep up appearances by opening your curtains, mowing the lawn before you leave and installing an outdoor light which automatically turns on for a couple of hours each evening. Better still, invest in an outdoor light with motion detectors, so that anyone who walks past triggers the light to come on.
Think twice about who can see your social media updates
Holiday makers who share updates about their upcoming trips months in advance and then check in and share snaps of their holidays put their homes at great risk of burglary. Criminals are increasingly using social media to check when homes are empty and the summer months can provide rich pickings. Before you go on holiday think twice about who can see your family’s social media profiles and ensure that privacy settings are switched on.
Burglars will not try to break-in if they fear they will get caught. Savvy burglars will know of all the latest security devices, and they’ll avoid homes if they know that there are effective security solutions in place. Sometimes, even just a security sign can deter a burglar from breaking in, so get your devices set up, and make sure burglars know that your home is protected.
Whilst traditional security systems are important, they cannot be relied upon to prevent crime from taking place. Unfortunately, most traditional security systems, such as alarms, are reactive solutions that will let you know when a burglary has occurred, but there is little you can do thereafter to stop it. Smartphone connected security devices, equipped with cameras and motion detectors, can send live video footage straight to you or your neighbours’ fingertips, meaning you can respond to and prevent suspicious activity before it happens.