September 17, 2010 – We’ve heard the horror stories of someone posting they’re going on vacation on their Facebook account only to come home days later and find their home has been vandalized. It may sound like an urban legend that social media status updates are causing a rash of home invasions and thefts but for one New Hampshire community it’s no myth.
It’s great that you’re at the boardwalk, but your social network doesn’t need to know.
The town of Nashua, NH was his hard with over 50 instances of home break-ins in the month of August, totaling somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000 worth of losses in cash, property and goods. The police were lead to the stolen goods after finding a fireworks package that was listed among the stolen items from one victim.
The package lead the Nashua police burglary unit to a storage unit with many of the other items reported stolen including DVDs, flat-screen TVs, and many other personal electronics. Police also recovered $8,600 in cash, along with a large amount of equipment that was stolen from a New Hampshire National Guard volunteer’s home: disassembled guns, ammunition, bags and knives.
The suspects, two Nashua teens and a Massachusetts resident, were taken into custody. Upon questioning about the robberies, they learned the suspects picked their victims because they saw their status updates on social networking sites like Facebook that revealed that they weren’t home at the time.
Many news sources have reported that Facebook Places is the danger with these crimes, but the instances began only days after the new feature was rolled out. Furthermore, many victims denied use of the feature. Even if Places wasn’t the catalyst to draw the crime ring to their house, many of the victims used similar location-based applications such as Foursquare, or posted using mobile apps. Some even outright mentioned their location (not at home, obviously) in their status updates, letting the crooks know it was safe to assume the house was unoccupied.
Our society is in a place where sharing your whereabouts is a socialization tool, allowing you to locate nearby friends and meet up. While this may seem like a great step forward in networking, it’s also proving to be a danger to your personal safety.
When your business has location-update-happy clients you may want to caution them about posting updates that could potentially put them or their property at risk. At We Do Web Content we monitor the latest social media trends and help advise our clients on the best strategies for their particular industry.
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