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Teenagers posting details about their whereabouts on social media networks can risk burglaries.
New research by security firm ADT suggested that nine out of ten young people aged 16 to 21 years-old share information which could put their family home at risk on social networking sites.
Over half of young people (56pc) post their location or movements on social media at least once a week, 81 per cent upload photos of themselves and friends when out and about, 48 per cent share pictures of things they have just bought and 29 per cent highlight locations and places to meet.
Meanwhile, a survey of ex-burglars found that over three quarters believed most crooks use social media to find easy properties to target and three quarters said they knew Google Street View was being used to stake out homes before breaking in*.
Senior officers have said risky status updates include ‘checking in’, posting photos when on a family holiday, or sharing photos of expensive gadgets and other purchases.
Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Morgan, spokesman on burglary for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: “Social networking has become a part of everyday life. Unfortunately there are some individuals who use it as a means of gathering information to commit crime.
“Users of social networking sites need to be aware of this and use caution when telling people where they are, or posting messages about valuables on their possession or in their homes.”
Mark Shaw, from burglar alarm company ADT, who carried out the research highlighted that there has been a lot in the news recently about the UK losing the war on e-crime and social media sites being too laid back about security.
Mark said: “While checking in at the airport might be a great way of letting friends and family know you’re off on holiday, you’re also informing criminals that the house is empty and an easy target.
“Teenagers in particular have grown up with Facebook tracking their every move and see nothing wrong with sharing information online that you’d never dream about passing on to a stranger on the street.”
Summer is the key time for burglaries because professional burglars are able to strike while householders are on holiday. Secondly, homes and gardens are generally more open providing chances for the opportunist thief.
ADT has produced a guide to help holidaymakers keep their homes safe this summer.