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back to article Milkman skewers Google Street View over garage break-in

A UK-based milkman and former football manager has questioned whether Google Street View played a role in a series of attempted burglaries on his home - one successful - after Google's virtual window onto the world's very real streets exposed a photo of his wide open garage. Gordon Rayner, 54, suspects that burglars may have …

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FAIL

ohhhh puuuuleeeezee!!!

Come on people!!! Seriously !!!???

How about just closing the damned door !!???

Why does everyone insist on blaming the people with the money for life, the universe and everything.

People... sh*t happens OK

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Close the door

The burglary probably wasn't anything to do with Street View but I guess it could have been.

Suggesting that he "close the damned door" is disingenious since Google isn't going to send a car round to reshoot the picture of the closed door, and how would the man have known in the first place that the Google Car was coming? Obviously his recourse now is to have the image removed from Street View.

There's a difference between someone leaving their garage open 24 hours a day with all his stuff on display, and someone who tries to keep it concealed to avoid tempting thieves but happens to be snapped during the 15 minutes that it happens to be open. (There is a reason police advise keeping packages and valuables hidden from view when left in parked vehicles - to dissuade break-ins.)

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I suspect criminals do use it

I know a few people worried about similar things.

For example, my brother in law lives in a small village and there have been a lot of theft of heating oil. Now street view has come online, you can sit at your PC, slowly go down his entire street, peer through the side gates or over hedges and see very easily which ones would make an easy target.

Just driving past even slowly would not give you as clear view, even if you stopped outside, unless you were sitting on top of a double decker bus,

I would be very surprised if a criminal that's not acting on the spur of the moment, didn't make use of street view before committing their crimes.

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Big Brother

£350 bike goes for £50

The idea that crooks are trawling through Street View looking for marks in ridiculous. Scum that steal stuff just walk around and see a likely house/car/bike and steal it and walk away.

There was a lot of burglary before the invention of street view. What is more likely the reason for any perceived rise whether true or not is the police's lack of interest in investigating crimes!

So unless you break into a police station when the plod aren't on a break its a nice safe recession proof job. And there is no tax or NI to worry about!

Big Brother not watching whom they should be watching!

When my Lappy got nicked the Police told me it happens so often now they don't even bother investigating. Shame

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Anonymous Coward

I bet they would investigate

...if your laptop was stolen at the doughnut shop.

Just sayin.

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You can bet they are...

...the police use Street View for planning raids FFS! You can bet your arse that the (smarter) crooks are using it too. Rather savvy, the modern day scum.

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@The BigYin

"the police use Street View for planning raids FFS!"

Post proof or retract.

If they are, what a bunch of useless fucks; see my post later in this thread.

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The obvious question...

is, "How may hours per week, average, would you say you leave your garage door open?"

B&E types aren't typically the most meticulous planners. I think it's a lot more likely that the guy leaves his garage open a lot of the time, and the crooks happened to drive by at an opportune moment. They spotted the loot and came back that night to make a withdrawal. But since, apparently, no reporter thought to ask Mr. Rayner this obvious question, I suppose we should just blame Google and be done with it.

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Q: Does 'the guy leave his garage open a lot' ?

A: "he was pressure-washing his driveway". Unless he has a serious case of Obsessive Compulsive regarding his driveway, he's probably not doing that for more than half an hour a week. A lot of people do leave their garage door open if they are, say, working in the garage or running a hosepipe out of it - it doesn't mean they make a habit of it.

(Caveat : although I hate Google nearly as much as my ex-wife, there is still only a 'correlation', not proven cause-and-effect)

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There is a fair bit of OCD in the neighbourhood when it comes to driveways

http://bit.ly/c81jzw

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Anonymous Coward

Re:There is a fair bit of OCD in the neighbourhood when it comes to driveways

Post unobscured links please.

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300 character link follows

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=brackendale+parade&ie=UTF8&hl=en&hq=&hnear=Brackendale+Parade,+Bradford,+West+Yorkshire+BD10+0SR,+United+Kingdom&ll=53.844159,-1.745024&spn=0.000646,0.001206&t=h&z=20&layer=c&cbll=53.844108,-1.745137&panoid=pl4_44kD05t7SHXl3wOnSQ&cbp=12,156.55,,2,16.55

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WTF?

Sure, they spend their days on street view...

...looking for somewhere to budgle. MORE LIKELY: They walked/drove past/were tipped off on the contents of his garage, i'd likely say there were far more people passing his open garage in a day than there will be looking at it through street view eyes in a month.

If it's out in the open enough to be snapped up by street views cameras then surely it's visible enough to be spotted by Joe Bloggs walking his dog.

If anything, his insurance company should be investigating the fact he left his garage door wide open advertising his stuff to prospective theives.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not defending Google here, i'm merely standing up against the ridiculous lack of common sense seem to be displaying in recent times.

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Unhappy

Oi!!

Leave me out of it!!!

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Silver badge

Looking at the link above...

Nice caravan, 4WD with expensive looking tyres. These people would appear to have money, so are likely to be a target for criminal intentions. Though, I seriously doubt Google is involved - does anybody REALLY think people will plan a crime via Google streetview, and then go and nick some crap from a garage? All that high tech planning and the guy gets stuff taken from his garage...

OMFG, it's probably just some random opportunist, and Google is an easy target because, hey, there's damn near zero other information on who took the stuff and you gotta shout at somebody, right?

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Interesting...

“We’ve now launched Street View in around 20 countries and nowhere has there been any increase in crime as a result.”

That's an interestingly definitive statement, isn't it? Clearly, Google's tentacles are now so extensive that they can be confident of the exact incidence of crime in at least 20 countries...;)

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Coat

Can't be Google's fault.

If you don't want everything own to show up on Google, don't own anything. Geeze, these privacy nuts seem to think they have "rights" or something.

Google maps is great, so your privacy concerns are irrelevant.

Something something something have you tried this kool-aid?

Yeah, that's my coat...

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Stick up for Google - just for once

Yeah Yeah Yeah! we've heard it all before. Is has to someone else's fault doesn't it. Could it be that better security on the garage would be a good idea, an alarm perhaps or just a decent lock. Yes they do come back several times in a row as police statistics will indicate because people are often too stupid to get the message.

I distrust Googles information gathering powers just as much as the next man, but fairs fair just think what the government would have on us if they were only half as good as google. At least google only want to make money.

I for one love street view - in my work I have to visit lots of people in their homes and good though GPS is you just can't beat having been their before even if it is virtually. I just wish the photo's weren't always so old - and that fact alone must surely make a mockery of any claim that Google inspired the break in.

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They also return

because they think you may have used the insurance or opportunity to replace the stolen item with something better and newer. Additionally they hope that security has yet to be improved.

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More likely ...

The perps are probably locals who not only walk/cycle/drive by on a regular basis, but also could make a mental note of the owner's comings and goings, and thus plan the heist when the home was likely to be empty.

Occam's razor & all that, innit.

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Silver badge

In this case...

...you may well be right. It smacks much more of a crime of opportunity, and if it wasn't - a lot of effort went into stealing £50 worth of bike! This does not negate the fact that Street View and Google Maps could be a valuable assets to the criminally minded.

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@The BigYin

"This does not negate the fact that Street View and Google Maps could be a valuable assets to the criminally minded."

I totally disagree. As a matter of fact, quite the opposite appears to be the case.

The Wife & I parked in the lot outside General Vallejo's house in Sonoma, and took the bike path to 2nd Street East. We walked 2nd East to Mc Arthur and then back to the car (we were walking a couple of the dogs). Along the way, it was painfully obvious which properties could be burgled with impunity (it's amazing how much expensive junk people leave lying about!). It took about 45 minutes, and I rather suspect I could have gotten away with several thousand dollars worth of tools, bikes, expensive grills, ladders, etc. Maybe tens of thousands.

When I got home, I cased the same route along 2nd East using google. It took around an hour and a half, and the street on google bears no resemblance to the street this morning ... Today, there is an entire house missing (new foundation, though), completely different landscaping with trees gone, hedges gone, new fencing, fencing missing, second stories where none exist on google, a new garage or three, a couple house remodels, even a new bit of sidewalk. If I were trying to plan ANYTHING more nefarious than "roughly what does my destination look like", google would be worse than useless.

I invite any of you to try the same exercise in your area. I suspect the results will be the same. google maps is just that ... a map. I suspect OS maps would be more useful than google for planning a heist.

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Big Brother

Hmm ... doesn't look that much worth nicking

Well, looking at the streetview image it doesn't look like anything really worth trawling specifically around streetview for and to visit just to nick a few bits and pieces. I'm guessing he was more likely targeted randomly or they knew of him. You can't see what sort of bike it is or whether it is decent. There are loads of garages open in that area - bizarrely even some pigs roaming around!

Not sure what the point of trying to sue Google is either - what is he going to accuse them of? aiding and abetting

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The sky is falling!

Yes, that's it.. because the crooks are spending all their time scouring the internet for that 350£ bike. ooooorrrrr one pissed off man could just be looking to blame anyone he can get his hands on and get as much publicity while he's at it.. Can we have some real news now?

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IT Angle

A garage containing valuables?

..who'd a thunk it. Without Google Street View to show us these things we'd never have guessed. I thought garages were kept empty out of respect for Gordon Brown's head(*).

I've seen inside my neighbour's garages and all of them have items of value. Most of them have crappy locks as well. I suppose GSV might have encouraged someone to have a go but I doubt it. I'm pretty sure burglars know all about garages and the way they've become a storage locker for most people. Sadly few people bother to improve the security on them either.

(*)I'm really weird. I actually keep /a car/ in my garage.

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Megaphone

Doomsday

I think Street View will come to be seen as the Doomsday Book of the modern millennium.

It is quite simply a fantastic application of technology, I'm just thankful that the project is run by an independent organisation - not Government - if the latter we would probably be looking at the pictures in sepia at 40x30 resolution.

Maybe it may help crims but only a little and no more than looking at maps and driving by. I'm sure a good crim will stake-out their target, drive by themselves and make their own assessment.

I consider it's value to the public far greater than the odd crim activity (and embarrassing picture of a drunk in the gutter)

As for invasion of privacy - how can this be? The streets are not private and, at present, it's perfectly legal to take any picture from a street and publish them.

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Silver badge

Security though obscurity doesn't work.

Some people never learn.

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Happy

I found pigs in the street!

I couldn't resist having a poke around this guys street. It's a very nice area. But then I found what looks like a whole flock of big fat pigs snuffling around.

http://tinyurl.com/bradfordpigs

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Yum

I can see the trademark now, "Bacon by Google"!

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@ Eddy Ito

That's pronounced "Bacon sarnies by dot dot dot" ;-)

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Re: £350 bike goes for £50

"The idea that crooks are trawling through Street View looking for marks in ridiculous. Scum that steal stuff just walk around and see a likely house/car/bike and steal it and walk away."

Dunno about that, I've had my house stolen a good three or four times, and I blame Google for each and every instance, even the ones in the 80s.

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Joke

Our house, in the middle of our street...

Blimey. There must be some pretty tooled up scum if they can steal a house - You'd need a pretty big shed to store it in

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Joke

House stolen?

Cripes. I've heard of shoplifting, but houselifting?

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Anonymous Coward

Oh FFS

There might be the odd case where someone nefarious spots something interesting on Street View. There's a f*** load more cases where said nefarious geezer spots something interesting by walking down the street.

Street view is too slow and the data too old for a burglar to have a decent hit rate, compared with the alternative of just taking the odd walk.

Just imagine the information quality. On SV, I spot a nice bike in a garage. 6 months ago. On foot, I can also spot nosy neighbours, judge how busy (and hence risky) the road is, look and LISTEN for sabre-tooth guard penguins and El Plod.

SV is a toy, it may have some practical uses, but "casing a joint" with intent to burgle is most definitely NOT one of them.

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Linux

sabre-tooth guard penguins!

Admit it.

You have been casing my joint, haven't you !!?

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Happy

Casing...

... or smoking it, one or the other.

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Joke

New business opportunity

Venetian blinds with a photo-realistic depiction of your EMPTY garage. Hang em just inside the garage door and zim zam zoom => GSV Protection!

Also offering super sized versions with an image of an empty lot, police car in front of your house, or...

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Happy

Oh you mean sonething like....

http://izismile.com/2009/07/14/posters_on_the_garage_door_35_pics.html

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Coffee/keyboard

Re. Garage Door Poster

Aint laughed so much for a long time, cheers.

I want one!

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Bronze badge
Badgers

three times?

I think after the first couple of break ins I'd have left something like a open tin of paint precariously balanced by the window or similar. It was probably the same thieves anyway, so follow the trail of paint - find bike (and probably no computer...)

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Gold badge

There is another possibility.

Put aside for a moment the issue of whether burglars were or were not using Streetview to identify targets off their own bat.

In the wake of a fuckton of press hype over how easy it would be for burglars to use Streetview to identify targets, I'd have thought that even the dumbest burglar is going to have a look to see if there's the possibility that it might actually make their life easier.

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Badgers

Goggle

Did Google make any effort to investigate whether their actions WOULD increase crime? Did they produce a risk assessment? Or did they just come up with this idea to map the world at street level, buy some cars and head off into various sunsets?

I don't use Street View and could care less about it, it might be awesome, it might be really irresponsible. Personally I'd like to see my house blurred out by a massive advert for AOL. Maybe one day it will be.

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Wow

You've had your house stolen? That's really impressive.

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FAIL

Riiiiiiigh

Because it's not at all his responsibility for leaving his own blessed garage door open? Nope, not all his fault, the blame must be solely on the well-monied corporate enterprise. Suuuuuure - is that like his thinking, then?

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FAIL

Sorry, you fail

If he didn't open the door, how would he get the car (or anything else) out?

*LEAVING* the door open for extended periods without good cause is the issue.

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Who would have thought?

Valuable items such as bikes/lawnmowers/tools etc in a garage.

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FAIL

Its all the Ebul Goooogle

I had my garage broken into a few months ago, fortunately I dont have anything of value in there and all that it meant was a replacement shutter door.

Now even though my house isnt on Streetview, it must still be googles fault. Somehow.

It is obviously impossible for criminals to break into a place and steal things unless Google Street View gives them every minute detail of the scene (as it was on X date, because as we well know, nothing changes).

I detest almost everything about google. I am rabid about protecting our privacy from creeping surveillance state powers but this "blame streetview" mentality is just an epic fail.

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Bronze badge

Re: New Business Opportunity

Sadly you missed the boat here....follow this link and be amazed http://www.style-your-garage.com/eu/?id_lc=25

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