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A survey carried out by UK home security experts Friedland has revealed social media is being put to use by today’s home burglars. 

Sep 26, 2011

An overwhelming 78% of ex-burglars interviewed said that they strongly believed social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Four Square are being used by current thieves when targeting properties, with nearly three quarters (74%) stating that in their expert opinion, Google Street View was playing a role in today’s home thefts.


According to the report, the average home burglary takes just over ten minutes to commit**, the time it takes to walk to the corner shop and back and shockingly, only two minutes to break into a household with no visible security.  The findings come from research of 50 ex-burglars, commissioned to mark Friedland’s ‘UK Home Security Week 2011’, an initiative supported by Crimestoppers to uncover what makes a home a prime target for today’s thieves.


The report also exposed that in one burglary hit, a thief can cash in £487*** of goods on average, compared to the average insurance claim being just over £1200****. This is despite nearly four out of five (78%) ex-burglars admitting a simple home alarm system would have prevented them from targeting a property in the first place.


Jonathan Lim, Security Expert at Friedland, comments: “The research has granted us access to an elusive group in society and assisted us in learning more about the habits of today’s burglars. The findings have broken down some of the illusions commonly associated with burglaries; with four out of five (80%) revealing burglary was not opportunistic, instead returning to a property a number of times before breaking in. We know that by taking simple measures, including cutting back trees and shrubs to remove potential hiding places and installing simple alarm systems priced from just £100 are all good, cost-effective deterrents that all homeowners can implement to remove their home from the target list.”

The report also revealed the top five most common mistakes that homeowners are making in the eyes of our ex-burglars:

  • 94% of homeowners leaving windows open
  • Over three quarters (78%) leaving valuables in easy view of passers by
  • Over half (54%) placing their status and whereabouts on social networking sites
  • 52% making the common mistake of hiding keys by doorways
  • Half (50%) stated that parcel deliveries left out was a big draw


As part of the awareness around UK Home Security Week, Friedland is also working with property expert and celebrity builder, Tommy Walsh, to highlight the simple things that homeowners can do to protect their properties. Tommy explained: “Protecting your house doesn’t have to be an expensive process, by installing a visible alarm, fitting window locks, not leaving expensive packaging by the outdoor bins or simply planting some thorny shrubs to stop burglars climbing over fences, can all reduce the risk to your property.”


Dave Cording, Deputy Chief Executive for Crimestoppers, said, “We’re pleased to support Friedland on this year’s UK Home Security Week and appreciate the importance of bringing home security to the forefront of people’s minds. The research has been insightful and revealed that by taking simple measures, from using a visible alarm system, ensuring all your windows are closed and taking care when posting on social networks, you can protect your home from falling foul to burglars.”


For more information on UK Home Security Week, Tommy Walsh’s top tips and to download the home security guide, please visit:

All results in above press release are based on a research report by the Survey Shop of 50 ex-burglars, previously convicted of household burglary obtained during the period of 5 – 23 August 2011. Results are presented as column percentages, rounded to the nearest whole, and arithmetic means.

*Based on the feedback from the 50 ex-burglars, looking at whether they think social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare are being used by today’s burglars and play a role in home theft.

**Based on the estimated mean time from the 50 ex-burglars, looking at how long it took them to burgle a home

***Based on the estimated mean average from the 50 ex-burglars, looking at how much money would an average burglary have been worth when turned into cash.

****Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks 2010 Research.


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