Police issue social media warning for vacationers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Police warn people going on vacation need to be careful about how they use social media.

Police say social media sites often play a big part in vacationing, but that can be dangerous. By posting a picture of you and your family at Disney World, police say you’re letting a lot of people know your home is probably unattended. Even posting a vacation countdown or a check-in at an airport can tip off a potential robber.

Police say most often a home invasion and robbery is committed by someone the person living in the home knows, which could mean a Facebook friend or Instagram follower.

“You want people to know you’re having a great time, but you’re always advertising your whereabouts and your destination. We can’t obviously police the Internet or police what you post, but we ask that you use wisdom and discretion,” Officer Chris Wilburn from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said.

IMPD officers say many criminals are no longer scared away by a light being left on inside a home while your away or other techniques that have been pushed in the past, so the best practice is to save your vacation photos and updates until you get home, and then share them on social media.

If you want to take extra steps to protect your home and property, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office is holding a crime prevention forum on the topic Thursday. It’s free and gets started at 6:30 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on East 52nd Street in the Fellowship Hall. The forum will present possibilities about why a criminal may choose you and the best ways to prevent burgarlies.

Also, local police departments including IMPD do something called patrol-when-possible. If you notify your police department when you’ll be out of town, they’ll make sure to send extra patrols through your neighborhood during that time to help make sure your home and belongings are safe.

There was also some research released last fall that said posting too many vacation photos can actually cause people to unfollow or even unfriend you on Facebook. So if safety isn’t that important to you, but your social media status is, maybe that will convince you to hold off on posting too much on Facebook.