We’ve all done it – type in our address to see if the Google Street View car has captured us going about our lives as we cut the grass or bring in the shopping.
You might have noticed that faces and registration plates are automatically blurred in Google’s 360-degree imagery – but your house isn’t.
While many of us innocently use Street View to plan our routes and take virtual walks around the world’s most famous landmarks, criminals can utilise the free service for their gain.
“you’ve arrived at your destination” is our love language 🥰
— Google Maps (@googlemaps) November 9, 2023
From identifying where parcels could be left by couriers to planning break-ins, the security experts at ADT have stressed the importance of asking Google to blur your home.
How to get Google to blur your house on Google Street View
Michele Bennett, General Manager at ADT UK&I Subscriber, said: “Potential thieves are known to use social media to determine when homeowners are away, as well as learning the layout of victims’ homes and gardens.
“Thieves may also use Google Street View to learn the layouts of victims’ homes, allowing them to plan potential break-ins.
“Depending on the photo used in Google Street View, having an unblurred house can also alert thieves of the contents of your home and garden. If expensive items are visible in your house, you are more likely to become a victim of a robbery.
“It is highly recommended that you contact Google and request that your house is blurred to protect the privacy of you and your family.”
If you want to request that Google blurs your home, here’s what you need to do according to Google Maps Help.
- Start by opening Google Maps
- Find and then open the 360 photo that violates Google Maps image acceptance and privacy policies
- Click report a problem located in the bottom right
- Complete the form
- Click Submit
Google says that it will review your report as fast as it can.
It added on its website: “If you entered your email address in the form, we may contact you to get additional information or to update you on the status of your report.”
How to protect your home from being burgled
ADT’s security experts have also shared five tips to help protect your home from being burgled.
1. Make it look like someone is home
The security experts have warned that empty homes are more likely to be targeted by thieves.
They have suggested that it is a good idea to make your home look like it’s occupied while you’re out.
The experts suggested that you can do this by turning on and off the lights or TV linked to Smart Plugs.
They added: “You can trick opportunistic robbers into thinking you are home even when you are not.
“You can also control your smart plugs and ADT home security system while you are away using your smartphone.
“With ADT Smart Home you can take it one step further and connect your smart plugs to numerous smart cameras and your video doorbell at your home, so once movement is detected your lights automatically switch on, or have your outdoor cameras emit a deterrent noise to warn off potential thieves”.
2. See who’s at the door
A smart video doorbell allows you to see, hear, and speak to visitors even when you’re not at home, ADT says.
It means you’ll know who is at the door even if they don’t ring the doorbell (due to a motion detector) and you’ll also be able to a delivery person know where to leave a package when you’re not home.
3. Lock your sheds and outbuildings
ADT has also said that an outdoor building is often an easy target and has urged you to protect yours with secure windows and strong locks.
The security experts added: “It is also worth investing in outdoor lighting, as the light can blow the cover of darkness for a would-be thief.
“The most effective option is motion-activated security lights that you can programme to your needs and wants.
“Your ADT home security system can also be extended to protect garages, sheds and outbuildings, so in the event of a break-in, you and your keyholders will be notified”.
4. Get an alarm installed
ADT says that an alarm on the front of your house will act as a visible deterrent.
The experts continued: “ADT has been providing home security for nearly 150 years and many burglars are aware of the fact that all home security systems are monitored by a 24/7 alarm receiving centre, ensuring no alarm is ever ignored.
“All ADT home security systems are professionally installed by a trained engineer and the system itself comes equipped with a touchscreen control panel and is linked to the clever ADT Smart Services mobile app with numerous smart features allowing for complete connectivity of your home alarm system from your phone.
“Your alarm is also professionally monitored 24/7, so you, your keyholders or even the police are informed if your alarm is triggered. It is also advised that you set the alarm for when you’re away or even sleeping upstairs”.
5. Lock windows and doors
You should also make sure that you take the time to lock your windows and doors before you go out or before you go to bed, the experts at ADT have stressed.
They explained: “This is a precautionary measure, but heading into the winter months when it gets darker much earlier, it is important to ensure your windows and doors are locked.
“Also, check your home to ensure all locks are in good working order. This will deter any opportunists looking for a quick win.”