It used to be cool to see your street on Google Earth and Google Maps. Now criminals are using the free technology to “case” neighborhoods and target homes for car and home burglaries.

Have you ever searched for your address on Google Maps or Google Earth? If so, you might be surprised to find that anyone can see photos of your home and what’s in your driveway with just a couple of clicks. It’s like handing out photos of your home to strangers!

While it may have been cool to see your house on Google Street View for the first time, it’s important to be aware of the potential security risks. Police officers report that criminals use Google Street View to case neighborhoods and choose targets for home and car burglaries. They can virtually walk up and down streets to scope out houses with stand-alone garages, expensive cars in the driveway, and even visible security cameras. It’s also how some criminals have cased out their escape route.

How to Blur Your Home on Google Street View

While blurring your home on Google Street View may not completely deter criminals, it can add an extra layer of protection. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Google Maps or Google Earth and find your house.
  2. Select “Report a problem.”
  3. Choose “Blur.”
  4. Line up the red box to blur your house, car, license plate, or any other object.
  5. Provide Google with information to prove you own the property.
  6. Select a reason for blurring. Since there’s no option for “I just want my house blurred,” choose “Misplaced image.”

Google will then contact you via email for more information. Eventually, your house will be blurred on Google Street View, which is used in both Google Maps and Google Earth.

Important Note: Google continuously updates its photos, so it’s a good idea to keep checking back to make sure your house remains blurred.