Complete lock replacement this week on a burgled house on the Gold coast. The tenants were pretty upset. They’d been away for the weekend at a music festival down at Byron Bay and had come home to find their house had been emptied. Back door kicked in, and pretty much everything of value taken. This was not a quick smash and grab burglary – this was a whole house emptied burglary that would have taken some time to execute. With burglaries like this it’s usually the case that the burglars were aware of where the home owners were and that they were not coming home any time soon.
I can’t say for sure this is what happened but my experience tells me it probably went down something like this.
The group arranged to attend the music festival in Byron Bay. Probably they told a lot of people they were going. Maybe someone overheard who should not have been allowed to know? More likely what has happened is they have shared their location on Facebook, showing they are not at home, instead they are away for a few days. That update could have landed on any number of other Facebook pages, even been shared or seen by people who were not in fact their direct Facebook friends… just some friends of friends.
Such a status update is like saying “Come on over and steal all our stuff… There is no one home!”
Compounding the problem was the garage was connected to the house. Big problem. Once inside the house, the burglars were able to access the garage, open the garage door, and drive a car into the garage then reclose it. Then, with no real likelihood of being caught or disturbed with the tenants away, they were free to take all the valuables from the house, load them up into a car or van in the garage and then drive away.
They even took the spare garage remote control with them so it was not a simple matter of changing the locks on the doors. I needed to install a short term solution of an internal bolt and padlock on the garage door till they could arrange for a reconfiguring of their garage door to a new frequency.
Many young people use Facebook today in a way that is potentially unsafe, without realising they are doing so. I know some young people are far happier to give out their Facebook address than their email of phone address, knowing that if the person bothers them they can just block them. Much easier and safer than blocking a phone or email right?
If someone adds you on Facebook and you accept them they can request your friends add them as well and are more likely to be accepted. Even if you ban them… they can still see your status updates on your friends’ pages. Or it could well be your friends have their Facebook pages open for anyone to see not just their friends. Of course you might not even realise how dodgy someone is and not block them at all.
As tempting as it is to hit the “Check in with Facebook” and tell the world you are away on a holiday, are at a cool club, are down at the beach… Just consider that you might well be sending a message out to 1000 people you don’t really know saying “Hey Guys! My home is empty right now. How about you pop on over and rob me?”
My advice? Resist the temptation.