How social media and online groups can help keep your home secure

Reports in the media often detail how social media can negatively affect your home’s security. With users over sharing personal details that thieves can then use to target your property.

In this digital age, it only takes a few clicks to find out where a person lives, what belongings they have and when their property is vacant. For example, individuals sharing posts and photographs of new gifts and gadgets they have received for Birthdays or anniversaries provide an online catalogue of valuables for would-be thieves. In a similar vein, ‘checking in’ at the airport, or posting photos of your holiday before you’re home is also risky as it lets burglars know your home is empty.

However, when used responsibly social media platforms can actually help enhance your home security.

Communities and neighbourhoods today aren’t as close-knit as they once were. With people moving more regularly and longer working hours it’s rare that people spend time with their neighbours. But this is being combatted with the rise of online communities – a relatively new phenomenon that sees social media platforms help bridge the gap between neighbours.

Insurance company, Together Mutual, discovered that one in five people are using online sites and social media channels to communicate with neighbours, such as Facebook Groups and community forums. It’s even possible to join a neighbourhood watch scheme online.

The research uncovered that people join these groups to share local events and information, with 25% of people citing discussing security issues as one of the main motivations.

Groups are used to warn one another about doorstep fraudsters and share details of thefts almost instantly to help raise awareness of domestic damage in the area as well as the techniques used to gain access. They can also asked for (and provide) witnesses of crimes ranging from car theft to burglary.

In some cases, neighbourhoods have gone even further, and set up specific neighbourhood watch groups. Jon Craven, CEO at Together Mutual Insurance, said: “It’s very pleasing to see communities are capitalising on modern technology to alert their fellow neighbours at an instant, should they have concerns. It might be tempting to think that neighbourhood watch groups are part of a bygone era, but moving them online is a great idea and will ensure this vital community activity continues to help protect our homes.”