Cleveland travel agents are helping to spread the message that if you advertise your well-eared break on social media, you are offering an open invite to burglars.
A social media survey conducted by Cleveland Police last summer found that 58% of 100 people questioned had posted status updates or photographs of themselves out of their house, while 59% of people said that they did not know everyone who had access to their profile.
Alarmingly, 38% of those that were surveyed said that they had been a victim of burglary, however, 18% of these said they would still be likely or highly likely to post on social media about when they are out of the house.
And 59% also said that they did not personally know everyone with access to their profiles.
Branches of Dawson & Sanderson, Thomas Cook and Thomson, across Cleveland, are getting involved in distributing crime prevention postcards to their customers, to raise awareness of the dangers of posting on social media when they are going away on holiday.
Acting Detective Chief Inspector Glen Westmoreland said: “We are again working in partnership with local travel agents to help spread the message that advertising that your home is empty could result in it being targeted by a burglar.
“Whilst not all burglaries occur as a result of victims being targeted through social media, it is important that people are vigilant about their security in every way possible to help prevent them from becoming a victim.
“The results of the survey that we have carried out last year clearly show that some people are unaware of the risk that they are taking when posting on social media. In distributing these postcards, we are hoping to highlight that risk to those who may be booking holidays or going abroad or even just going out for the night.
“We would like to remind those people not to post on social media about being out of their home, especially if there are people who have access to their profile that they do not know personally.”
Thomson’s regional sales manager Gail Smithson said: “Thomson and First Choice take thousands of people in the region on holiday every year so we are happy to support Cleveland Police.
"We hope the initiative makes a positive difference and helps people enjoy their holidays.”
Cleveland Police crime prevention advice to protect your home includes:
Always lock your doors and windows.
Make your home look occupied with use of plug-in timers to illuminate your home during hours of darkness.
Keep the rear of your premises secure and ensure that side rear gates are locked. Do not provide easy access to the rear of your property.
Use of dusk to dawn lighting, particularly to the rear of the property, will help to deter burglars.
Remove keys from locks and away from doors where they are out of sight.
Use an alarm.
Do not leave tools and ladders lying about and keep your shed and garage secure.
Make sure your items are traceable by post-coding your property with your house number using a UV pen.
For more crime prevention advice, visit the Crime Prevention section on the Cleveland Police website at: www.cleveland.police.uk