Neighbourhood & Community Safety
Neighbourhood Support Groups
Hastings District Council encourages people to join a Neighbourhood Support Group or help to start one in your street.
Neighbours who know each other through forming Support Groups are vital to neighbourhood safety.
Neighbours can sometimes spot suspicious behaviour and report to Police or even make themselves available when people are away to turn lights on or close curtains so that it looks like someone is home.
People do not have the time anymore to meet regularly with their wider neighbourhoods and discuss issues in their street. With our busy lives there appears to be less contact between neighbours –but this something that we need to change if we want burglaries and crime to be stopped.
In civil defence emergencies people will need to be self-sufficient for at least three days. Knowing your neighbour will be important so that you can support one another through this time or until help is available.
Neighbourhood Support Groups don’t need to meet very often nor have people living “out of one another’s pockets” as had previously been thought. Groups are being encouraged to be smaller and therefore more effective.
Neighbourhood Safety Tips
Always report a burglary to Police. Police are available 24 hours a day by phoning 111 in an emergency. Tell the operator what service you want - Police, Ambulance or Fire Services. Try to stay calm when making the call, and do not hang up.
Give your name, address and phone number to the operator and try to answer questions slowly and clearly. Emergency calls are free from all phones, including payphones and cell phones.
Preventing the would-be thief
Improving security in and around your home could prevent the would-be thief from entering your home.
It could slow the thief down and create problems with noise - either way, it is always good to be prepared in case of a would-be thief.
- Fit locks on your windows and lock them when you go out
- Glass can be removed from louvre windows so make sure you glue panes in with epoxy resin
- Lock your doors and close windows when going out - even if you are going out for only a minute
- Lock your doors at night when you are home
- Install deadlocks on exterior doors and internal garage doors
- Fit bolts on ranch sliders and French doors
- Do not hide your spare key under the mat or pot plants outside the door
- Lock your garage with a good quality padlock
- Do not put your name on your letterbox - it can allow people to find your phone number and subsequently determine if and when you are home.
- Fit a security light to brighten doors and secluded areas
- Do not leave tools and ladders outside which could be accessible to the would-be thief
- Fit a door viewer so you can see who is at the door. Ask callers to identify themselves before you open the door
- Consider installing alarms
- Do not leave bikes, lawn mowers etc. in open carports.
Mark your valuables
Experienced thieves will sometimes only take cash which cannot be identified. But your home contains all sorts of high value and portable items which can easily be sold.
Mark items such as televisions, cameras, videos, DVD players, computers and stereos with indelible markers, etching or engravings. You can use your driver's licence number which will assist Police (but nobody else) in identifying the property's rightful owner if it is stolen.
Anyone is able to record serial numbers and other unique identifying details of their valuable goods in an electronic database. For more information and to register your goods visit snap.org.nz
It is also a good idea to take photos or video of other valuable items such as paintings, jewellery, silver and antiques. Store the pictures or video somewhere safe, ideally not in your house so they can be used for insurance purposes in the event of a fire.
Alarms can be a good idea for your home. They won't stop a burglar from getting into your home, but alarms definitely limit the time inside your home. You should still make your home secure with good quality and strong locks, doors, windows and lighting.
When considering installing an alarm, seek professional advice and discuss your requirements with at least two or three firms. Ask friends or colleagues to recommend a reliable company. When a security person arrives to inspect your home in order to advise you on what is appropriate for your home, ask to see their current Security Guards Licence.
If your alarm is not professionally monitored, arrange for your neighbours to investigate if they hear it. Provide them with the code to turn it off if need be.
Going on holiday
With co-operation from your neighbours, you can minimise the likelihood of someone breaking into your home. The main thing is to avoid tell-tale signs of your absence.
Inform your neighbours of when you are leaving to go on holiday and when you will be back. Ask them to close and open curtains, feed the pets and collect the mail.
Other things to remember when going on holiday and leaving your home unoccupied:
- Cancel your newspaper
- Get your mail re-directed
- Turn down your telephone ring so thieves don't know it's unanswered. Do not leave a message on your answering machine to say that you are away
- Have a light connected to a timer that turns on at night
- Arrange for someone to mow your lawn depending on how long you are going to be away for
If you do return home to find that you have been burgled, contact the Police straight away. Do not touch anything as you may accidentally destroy evidence.
For more information on Neighbourhood Support Groups, contact Social Development Coordinator.
Each month, we publish Neighbourhood News, a newsletter updating Neighbourhood Support Coordinators and Street Champions in the Hastings District.
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