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Newlyweds Wedding Presents – A soft target for Crooks

In a recent visit to the movies I saw a poster for a movie called ”The Bling Ring”. It’s based on a real story about a group of high school kids that use social media to track the location of various stars – find out when they were going to A list parties, when they were on tour et cetera… and then use this information to determine who was home or not and break into their homes and rob them.

The movie itself is not really my cup of tea but I wish I had been on hand to provide some security advice to the celebrities who got robbed because something like this happening was entirely predictable.  To the best of my knowledge we haven’t had a “Bling Ring” gang operate in Melbourne but we certainly have had a “wedding ring” gang of organised thieves who targeted newlyweds.

Think about it – what could be a better, softer target, then the home of a recently married couple. The house is perhaps full of unopened wedding presents that can be easily sold.  The happy couple are often so accommodating to the thieves they even let them know publicly in the paper that they have recently got married and are heading overseas on a honeymoon leaving the house unattended.

Thieves don’t even need to read the paper – they can research everything online. Rarely is a couple married without it being announced on social media and it only takes one of your friends receiving your updates who has not locked their own updates down for our burglar to use his home computer to gather lots of Intel on couples about to leave a trove of presents at home unguarded. They can even research the address of the happy couple online, use Google Earth / maps to assess the best way in and out of the area and use Google images to check out your house, the neighbours’ houses, and use all this Intel to plan a heist all from the comfort of their own home.

Okay. I’m not trying to scare newlyweds out of a honeymoon but I am trying to ensure they take adequate security measures before they go. My advice is:-

  • Get a house sitter preferably one with a car. A car in the driveway shows that someone is around and that these won’t be able to assume the house is always empty. If you can’t get a house sitter speak to one of your neighbours about parking their car in your driveway.
  • But make sure all your doors and windows have got quality locks and that they are… well… Locked! A friend of mine recently came home from his honeymoon only to realise for the entire three weeks he was away his front door had been left unlocked as he rushed back in and out at the last minute prior to leaving and forgotten to re-lock it.  He got away with it luckily.
  • Leave the wedding presents at a relative’s place.
  • Consider an alarm system, they really are not that expensive. An organised burglar who has chosen your home thinking it a soft target as you are away will change their opinion when your alarm starts going off at piercing volume directly after they smash a window to gain entry to your home.

Don’t worry about trying to get your friends to lock down their Facebook or Twitter accounts – there is no point.  Just assume everything you write on the Internet is openly available to the rest of the world and take appropriate precautions.