86% of Australians fear social media threatens home security
Almost nine in ten (86%) Australian residents believe that posting their whereabouts on social media websites presents a threat to home security, according to new research findings announced today by ADT Security.
Conducted in January 2012, the second annual ‘Secure Homes’ report surveyed 2000 homeowners and renters in both metropolitan and regional Australia. Among the other key findings, 30% of respondents reported they had been the victim of a break-in - 8% of them in the last 12 months.Forced entry through a window was described as the predominant method used by burglars, representing 41% of break-ins. Other common methods included forced entry through the back door (17%), forced entry through front door (12%), entry through an unlocked window (10%), garage (6%) and balcony (3%).
The impact of social media has attracted significant attention over the past year, with increased reports of opportunistic crime occurring due to information posted online.
“Savvy criminals are gaining access to up-to-the-minute details through peoples’ status updates and posts, allowing themto learn when the home is likely to be vacant. While sharing information with your online network is fun, it’s important to think twice before updating your facebook status, tweeting or checking into foursquare” said ADT Security’s Michael Bates.
“Small measures such as setting your profiles to private, turning off location finders, not accepting unknown people as friends or simply a bit of self-censorship when it comes to announcing an extended holiday, can help prevent falling victim to burglary or vandalism while away from home.”
The research also found that while almost a quarter (23%) of residents believe crime is a problem in their local community, the humble lock and key remains the home protection measure of choice for most Australians (89%). Recognising that the family pet can serve as an effective early warning system for unusual activity, one in five respondents showed great affection for guard dogs (20%), which was almost equal to the growing number of people who have an alarm system installed (22%).
“Any unusual disturbance around the home can trigger a barking dog or set off an alarm siren - whether it be someone breaking in or something less sinister. It's common to hear these sounds around the neighbourhood which is one of the reasons why people are reluctant to respond. A monitored alarm system is widely recognised as the most effective way to combat home security threats, and that’s why we are seeing an increase in the number of people who are adopting back-to-base systems," said Bates.
Other commonly used security measures included bars on windows and doors (18%), security system warning signs and stickers (19%) and motion sensor lighting (15%). CCTV surveillance trailed the list (5%).
“While only 5% of respondents use CCTV surveillance at their home, 67% believe surveillance is an effective anti-crime effort in their local community, with many saying they would like local councils to increase security in public areas such as parks shopping areas and other community facilities,” he said.
The survey also revealed some interesting generational differences when it comes to home security. In the event of a break-in, Baby Boomers are more concerned about identity fraud than other generations, with 62% identifying it as their primary concern. Comparatively, less than half of Gen Y respondents cited this as a concern (48%).
Younger people were more likely to admit suffering emotional distress after falling victim to crime, with 51% of Gen Y respondents experiencing anxiety and stress, as well as other health impacts such as sleeping difficulties (32%), an inability to be at home alone (26%) and reduced levels of trust (50%). While often thought to be more easily rattled by home invasion, older generations reported significantly less incidence of emotional side-effects: anxiety and stress (Gen X 38%, Boomers 28%, Builders 20%), sleeping difficulties (22%, 11%, 7%), an inability to be at home alone (9%, 3%, 3%), reduced levels of trust (32%, 39%, 30%).
When asked what they would be most upset about losing in the event of a break-in, Gen Y respondents showed greater concern for their personal computer/laptop (72%) than personal records (68%), cash (43%) or a camera (35%). Builders, Boomers and Gen X reported the loss of personal records as their greatest concern (82%, 76%, 70%), rather than big ticket items such as jewellery, cash and home theatre equipment, which are typically viewed as the most attractive items for burglars to steal.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
ADT Security commissioned leading online market research panel Pure Profile to conduct this survey of 2000 homeowners and renters around Australia during January 2012. For the purposes of the research, the generations are grouped as follows: Generation Y (born 1980-1994), Generation X (born 1965-1979), Baby Boomers (born 1946 -1964) and Builders (born before 1946).