Burglars use Google Street View to case out home

Burglars use Google Street View to case out home

Living in a world of shrinking privacy, Walt Babigian was worried crooks could scope out his home using a now ubiquitous technology: Google Street View.

Street View, which Google introduced in 2007, uses panoramic photos of streets across the United States and other countries, meant to provide a front view of buildings, houses and other locations.

But Babigian, who admits he’s overprotective of his family, thinks its being used by bad guys too — to scope out a neighborhood, he said.

“You’re got high bushes in front of the gate,” he said, pointing at his computer screen and a picture of a front yard. “You don’t even have to drive over.”

From any computer, he said burglars can identify hiding spots, how to break in, if you have an alarm system sign in your neighborhood, or even what kind of car you have.

“You don’t know when Google goes by your house and takes a picture, so you can’t prep ahead of time,” Babigian said.

Former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness has never heard of a burglar casing a neighborhood through Street View, but said it’s certainly possible.

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