I was sitting down watching NBC’s Dateline with my wife and the show was about the “Bling Ring”

If you have not heard about this – from Wikipedia:

The Bling Ring, sometimes called the “Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch“, “The Burglar Bunch“, or the “Hollywood Hills Burglars“, were a group, mostly of teenagers based in and around Calabasas, California, who burglarized the homes of several celebrities over a period believed to have been from around October 2008 through August 2009. In total, their activities resulted in the theft of about $3 million in cash and belongings, most of it from Paris Hilton, whose house was burglarized several times. However, over 50 homes were reportedly targeted for potential burglary.[1][2][3] 

With my insurance and risk management perspective I was most interested in the simplistic ways they identified their targets, how they researched the break-ins and when they decided to do it.

It was fairly simple:

  1. They identified high profile people and celebrities in the area.
  2. The next step was to perform a simple internet search to locate the home of the targets. The latest online software such as google maps can zoom in to see great details of almost any property in the US. They were able to see any side streets, back entrances and details of the entire property and back yard to properly plan for the break-in.
  3. When determining when to make their move it was simple – they used social media. As celebrities were the targets they were able to find out when the home was vacant due to the highly publicized schedule of the victims.

Unfortunately the victims did not help their security as many times the homes were open, the keys were under the doormats and the alarms were off.

The simplicity of everything amazed me. It also prompted me to write this blog and to hopefully educate people to realize think differently about risk. My thoughts:

  1. You don’t have to be high profile to be a target – if you are in the news or in the public’s eye it is even more important to be extremely careful regarding what information is public.
  2. Install and consistently utilize alarms and video – insurance companies don’t offer a discount on this for nothing!
  3. Again, be cognizant of what information is public – set up a google alert on yourself for some help identifying what is being said about you online. Think about everything from a company press release to a child’s social media post – if it can be seen online it can be seen and be a risk.

Other measures can be taken to protect you and your home. Contact Deland, Gibson for more information and vendor options on protecting against these risks.