Newcastle students moving into halls or student houses for the first time should be aware of the fact that “risky” social media posting greatly increases the chance of being burgled, according to a new report from Swinton Insurance.
Risky posts are ones that either talk about being away from home, which indicate to burglars that the property is vacated, or ones that show off your valuables, such as cars or, particularly among students, high-value electronics. Such posts are all too easy to make on Facebook or Instagram where you’re trying to show off your best self, but allow thieves to either see if you have anything worth taking or if they’ll be able to enter your house undetected. Worryingly, research conducted by Swinton Insurance shows that 49% of burglary offenders are prior acquaintances of the victim; social media posts can therefore greatly influence someone’s likelihood of being burgled.[pullquote]While moving into a new student house is exciting, keep it vague on social media[/pullquote]
According to the statistics, people in Newcastle are 257% more likely to post about nights out or taking trips away than the national average, making it the riskiest city in the UK in regards to this type of behavior. This is probably in part due to the huge student population renowned for their party lifestyle in the Toon which means many houses will be empty late at night and in the early morning, coupled with the students’ migratory nature – every year thousands of Newcastle and Northumbria students escape down the M1 to go home for Christmas. This presents an ideal opportunity for thieves, knowing that most students will vacate their halls of residence or student houses and not return until January exams.
Swinton Insurance, as well as other insurance providers and local police departments, have published advice on how students can actively reduce the risk of social media-influenced burglary.
One commonly echoed piece of advice is to put your social media settings on private so that only close friends can see where you are and what you post.
It is also recommended to delay posting night out selfies until the next day, so thieves do not know you are out of the house. Your future sober self will thank you.
Despite users from the North East being 76% more likely than the national average to upload photos of their new house on social, avoid posting a cute flat photo tagged at your exact address. It shows burglars that you’re students and therefore are more likely to be out of the house in the evenings. While moving into a new student house is exciting, keep it vague on social media by simply posting your area; tagging a photo in Jesmond or Sandyford is all that most of your friends list need to know, and those who you are close with will have already been given your address away.
Swinton Insurance also emphasises the importance of not accepting friend requests from people you don’t know. While the vast quantities of new faces you meet while at university may become a blur, ensure that you aren’t giving strangers an insight into your private life.
Finally, if you’re living in a student house and on the way to the club, order a taxi to the end of the street so the driver doesn’t know where you’ve come from. In the past there have been incidents where the driver, knowing that the house’s occupants were enjoying a night out, has come back later to burgle.