• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Holiday status updates 'not a burglary risk'

TT/The Local/at · 16 Apr 2014, 10:03

Published: 16 Apr 2014 10:03 GMT+02:00

Scientists at Blekinge Technical College (Blekinge tekniska högskola - BTH) used reported crime data provided by south Sweden police to analyze burglary patterns.

In some cases, they even helped the police solve burglaries because a known thief had a very specific modus operandi, although researcher Martin Boldt said he did not have the exact number of crime-busting data analyses at hand.

Some of the findings were old news. Houses at the end of a street and houses with gardens backing onto a forest were more at risk. A family that had an alarm system visible, however, was less likely to be burgled. Having a dog also helped cut the risk.

Among the 120 factors used to analyze burglary trends, one was dubbed simply "The Facebook Box". Had the victim talked about going away on the their social media accounts?

"I don't want to say there is no risk, as it's always a bad idea to write online that you're going away, but the risk was insignificant, or very small," said Boldt, who himself will happily post pictures or update his status while on holiday.

"But only after Facebook made privacy settings easier to manage a few years back," he told The Local. 

The researchers did not only look at Facebook, but other social media, blogs and chat forums. While there were a few cases of reported social media activity and a house being emptied, they were few and far between.

Boldt, however, pointed out that the police may not yet have gotten into the routine of asking the victim about social media behaviour.

"Or the police interview a parent, who has no idea that their kid has talked about the vacation online," Boldt said. 

The risks of announcing your absence online has been a topic of debate ever since social media took off, but Boldt said that real life situations could still pose a more concrete risk. 

"Listen, as a burglar, you cruise up and down the street Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, then on Thursday you hit up the house that's obviously empty," he said. "Thieves are lazy, they go for the easiest options, like peering into your mail box to see if the post has piled up." 

Story continues below…

And rather than that longed-for trip to Thailand, it could be quite mundane weekend fun like going to Ikea that puts a family at risk, he said. 

"If they see the entire Svensson family traipse out of a car at the mall - mum, dad, three kids - they know no one is home," he said, also mentioning ferries, the Öresundsbron bridge, and other places with a lot of people in motion as places where organized gangs of thieves could be looking up a car plate and to which address it is registered.

"It doesn't cost a lot of kronor to look up a registration number, so you'll feed several into the data base until you find a house which is nearby and in a good spot," he told The Local.

TT/The Local/at (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ikea threatens to shelve Russia growth plans
Everything Moscow. Photo: Maxim Murmur/AP

Will the Swedish furniture goliath retract its rubles?

Swedish police brace for 'unpredictable' pope
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine meeting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Nobody knows quite what to expect when Pope Francis visits secular Sweden this autumn.

Could this Swedish finding help cure alcoholism?
What causes alcohol dependency? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Scientists hope their findings will end the stigmatization of alcoholism.

Man jailed for six years for asylum home arson
The district court in Västmanland. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A court in western Sweden has sentenced a 28-year-old asylum seeker to six years in jail for starting a fire at the asylum centre where he lived.

Volvo on hunt for 400 new engineers in Sweden
Want to help build one of these? Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Want to work in Sweden?

Swedish hearts fail on Mondays and at Christmas
Tell me why I don't like Mondays. Photo: Marcus Lindblad/SvD/TT

July is Sweden's most heart-warming month.

Woman told she's not Swedish enough for a job
A sun bather wears a Swedish flag hat to celebrate National Day. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden's discrimination watchdog is on the case.

Really hungry elk wreak havoc in Swedish forests
Om-nom-nom. Photo: AP Photo/Becky Bohrer

"It's an emergency situation."

Swedish hotels cash in on business travellers
Visitors are flocking to Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Business travellers have been flocking to city hotels in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm this summer.

Opinion
'More men must stand up against abuse in Sweden'
Equality Minister Åsa Regnér. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Sweden's equality minister Åsa Regnér on why the government is introducing a new strategy on male violence against women.

Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
How good is Sweden for expat life?
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Gallery
Property of the week: Landskrona, Skåne
Gallery
People-watching: August 26th-28th
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
What are Sherpas doing on Sweden's highest mountain?
Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,373
jobs available