KOLKATA: Tech-savvy burglars in the industrial district of West Burdwan in West Bengal are homing in on locked homes by tracking travel updates and photographs uploaded on social media sites.
The region is a hotbed of cybercrimes, and interstate burglary gangs operating along the Jharkhand-West Bengal border are using Facebook and Instagram to locate their targets.
Investigation by police has found that more than 30 houses were burgled in the Asansol-Durgapur region in the past three months after the occupants posted their travel updates or photographs from their destinations on social media.The Asansol-Durgapur Police Commissionerate has launched a campaign to stop people from announcing their travel plans on social media, and to tell them to ignore emails or friend requests from unknown people.
“Though we have tracked the modus operandi of the tech-savvy burglars, we have been unable to nab the culprits due to their discreet operation and due to jurisdiction limitations, as most criminals slip into safe houses in neighbouring Jharkhand after every burglary. Hence, we have started making announcements over loudspeakers, and at fairs and festivals, urging people not to post their travel plans on Facebook, or even post photographs from their vacation spots,” a senior police official said.
Sources said that the aggressive stance of West Bengal Police on cybercrime could also have been encouraged by the success of Hyderabad Police in arresting 10 cybercriminals from Asansol subdivision of West Burdwan district over the past two months.
It is not yet known if these 10 cybercriminals had any role in recent burglaries in the region.
Nevertheless, the recent arrests by Hyderabad Police, which has more cybercriminals in the Jamtara and Dhanbad districts of Jharkhand on its radar, has put pressure on West Bengal Police to achieve results, as the region has come to be known nationally for cybercrime.
Jamtara district, bordering West Burdwan, has earned infamy as a phishing centre after some 38 arrests were reportedly made between April 2015 and March 2017 by police teams of 12 states, and over 80 suo motu cases were lodged by Jharkhand police between July 2014 and July 2017 against 330 residents of the district for online fraud.