Ex-Burglars Believe Google StreetView, Facebook, Twitter & Foursquare Used To Plot Crimes

There have been many stories in the past of criminals (of one sort or another) using Google, Foursquare and Facebook to target people who many not be home or, in the case of Google Earth and Street View, which homes to target.

A recent survey of 50 convicted burglars by UK security firm Friedland Response and reported by the UK’s Sky News argues that Google and social media tools are being used extensively to target people.

Nearly 80 percent of the 50 ex-burglars surveyed strongly believed that Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare were being used by current criminals, and nearly 75 percent stated that they thought Google Street View was also involved in theft planning.

Just over 50 percent said that including your whereabouts in social media status updates was “a mistake” and helpful to burglars.

Other findings:

  • Home burglaries yield £500 ($782) of stolen goods or valuables on average
  • The average burglary related insurance claim is £1200 ($1,877)
  • Nearly 80 percent of the burglars said a simple home alarm system would deter them from targeting the home

There are some caveats that must be mentioned:

  • The survey sample was very small: 50 former burglars
  • The ex-burglars stated their beliefs and perceptions of what’s going on now; they weren’t discussing how they committed their own crimes

The advice given in response to the findings is: be aware that others may be using your tweets and check-ins to decide whether to “burgle” your home. However there are a range of common-sense methods to deter burglaries, such as: don’t hide keys near doorways, don’t leave doors and windows unlocked or open and don’t put valuable items in places where they can be seen clearly from outside the home.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Facebook | Features: Analysis | Foursquare | Google: Earth | Google: Street View | Top News | Twitter


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide