Google Street View & Home Safety: What You Need To Know
Residential security is both supported and increasingly challenged in many ways as technology develops. For example, Google Street View is a great tool that enables people to explore the world from their computer screen, but as with most technology advances, there is a dark side, with people finding ways to use it for wrongful purposes. In this scenario, burglars are now using Google Street View to virtually case neighborhoods and prep for crime.
Richard Taylor, an ex-burglar and former front man for BBC’s To Catch A Thief, published his own thoughts about Google Street View in a column for The Sun. In his column, Taylor pulls no punches when it comes to the benefits that Google Street View provides to burglars. “(Google Street View) is nothing less than a burglar’s paradise,” writes Taylor. “Anyone who wants to burgle your house will be able to plan everything on their laptop at home in the evening.”
Those are scary facts, but Taylor is right. With the capabilities of smartphones and other mobile devices nowadays, a burglar could do some recon on your house… from wherever he or she pleases. Google Street View can also help burglars do everything from plan an escape route to check what kind of cars are typically parked on the street on a given day. “If I were planning a burglary,” Taylor writes, “StreetView is the first tool I would use.”
So, what can homeowners do about this? Obviously, investing in a home security system is the first most important step one can take to improve the security of a property. However, CBS 13 in Sacramento tackled the issue head on and offered homeowners valuable advice in an article entitled, “Call Kurtis: How To Hide Your House on Google Street View.”
CBS 13 interviewed a local man, Walt Babigian, and he was worried about exactly what Taylor told us above. He did not appreciate that a 3D picture of the house where his family sleeps was available on the internet for everyone to see. “You don’t know when Google goes by your house and takes a picture, so you can’t prep ahead of time,” Babigian told CBS 13.
His concerns were validated somewhat by former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness, who told CBS 13 that Google Street View is a “legitimate concern” for homeowners. Thankfully though, Google does offer the option to blur out images on Street View. Be it your car, your home, or even your face, if it is captured on Google Street View, you can request it to be blurred out due to privacy concerns. Google has faced lawsuits over Street View showing people’s faces and license plates in the past, but they did tell CBS 13 “we take the privacy of our users extremely seriously…We automatically blur faces and license plates that appear in Street View, and provide easy to use reporting tools so that people can ask for images of their house, car or themselves to be blurred.”
So, how does one go about blurring their property on Street View? It can be accomplished in a few steps. This YouTube video explains it very clearly, but we have listed the steps below in order to make it clearer.
How to Blur Your Property on Google Street View
1. Visit maps.google.com.
2. Type your home address into the search bar and press enter.
3. Click the red push-pin marker representing your house on the map.
4. Click on the street view image on the bottom-left side of the screen.
5. Click on “report a problem” link in the bottom-right corner of the Street Viewimage.
6. Fill out the blur request form.
7. Enter your email address and fill in the verification box.
8. Click submit.
This is a quick and easy way to drastically improve your home’s security. While privacy continues to dwindle as technology develops, requesting your home to be blurred on Google Street View is a step in the right direction. Just as arming your home with a security system increases safety, so does blurring your house on Google Street View. Learn more about Supreme’s home security solutions for New Jersey residents.