Keep yourself safe at home

Home Safety Checklist

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Useful scam prevention advice

Information about a few specific types of scams that are currently out there to help you avoid being scammed.

Older people – safety advice

As an older person, there are a number of things you can do to keep yourself secure at home. Remember that New Zealand is a relatively safe place to live and it is unlikely that you will ever have an intruder. If you have crime or safety concerns about your neighbourhood then you should get in touch with your local Police, who will be happy to discuss these with you. There are a number of other agencies you can contact for help and advice, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and Age Concern.

One of the best actions you can take to make your place safer is to get to know your neighbours.

Think ahead

  • Don’t open the door to strangers. Install a peephole in your door. If you don’t know someone, keep the door closed.
  • Have a phone by your bed.
  • Arrange with a neighbour to phone or visit you if your curtains are still drawn after a certain time in the morning.
  • Have a personal or medical alarm that you can press in an emergency.
  • Never tell someone that you are alone in the house.
  • Get a Life Tube from Age Concern or Neighbourhood Support. In an emergency the red Life Tube sticker on your fridge will alert Police, ambulance or fire service that vital information about you is available inside the refrigerator.
  • Ask for a security checklist from Neighbourhood Support.

Don’t be tricked

  • If someone you don’t know asks to make a phone call from your home, get the phone number and offer to make the call yourself. Then they don’t need to enter your home and you don’t need to open the door.
  • Never do business with strangers who come to the door, phone you or contact you via email.
  • Never talk to strangers about your financial affairs.
  • Never give out your name and address or chat if you receive a wrong number phone call.
  • Use tried and trusted tradespeople. Get several quotes. Ask your family to recommend someone or contact Age Concern.

If you are cheated, tell Police. You could help Police catch the criminal and stop other people from being cheated.

If you suspect an older person is being cheated or abused, contact Citizens Advice Bureau, Age Concern, your community constable or local Police for advice.

Know your neighbours

The most important action you can take to make your place safer is to know your neighbours. Exchange contact details, discuss your crime and safety concerns and decide what you would do in an emergency.

Let neighbours know when you are going to be away. Swap holiday addresses and phone numbers.

Let each other know if visitors or tradespeople will be in your house while you are away.

Be a good neighbour

If your neighbours are away, you can help them by making their house look 'lived in'.

  • Turn on lights at night.
  • Close curtains at night and open them during the day.
  • Mow lawns.
  • Clear mail, especially junk mail and newspapers.
  • Use their clothesline or driveway.
  • Keep an eye on their house and walk around it once a day to check it is secure.

Question strangers, but don't say the neighbours are away. Write down their description and note the time and date. If you need help writing a description, visit the Neighbourhood Support website for a fact sheet.

Write down the registration numbers of unfamiliar vehicles moving slowly or stopping in the street.

Report anything suspicious to your local police station.

If you think a crime is being committed or someone is in serious danger, call Police immediately on 111.

Start a Neighbourhood Support group

Neighbourhood Support helps neighbours to talk to each other and works closely with Police and other organisations in your community to reduce crime, improve safety and prepare to deal with emergencies and natural disasters.

Visit the Neighbourhood Support website.

If you have an intruder, prowler or burglar

You will probably never have a prowler on your property or face an intruder in your house, but you should have a plan just in case.

If you wake and find an intruder in your home:

  • get out if you can
  • dial 111 and ask for Police
  • listen to what Police tell you
  • don't try and catch the intruder or block their escape
  • if you have to act – yell or scream, blow a whistle.

If you suspect there is a prowler outside:

  • dial 111 and ask for Police
  • listen to what Police tell you
  • turn on all outside lights if you are able to
  • turn off all inside lights
  • make a loud noise to frighten the prowler away and alert your neighbours.

If you arrive home and think there’s a burglar inside your house:

  • dial 111 and ask for Police
  • don't go inside
  • go to a safe place and wait for Police.
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Keep yourself safe indoors

  • Install a wide-angle door viewer so you can see who is at your door.
  • Keep your doors and windows secure and close your curtains at night.
  • Invest in good quality, secure locks.
  • If you live alone, don't advertise the fact. Keep your answerphone message generic – say "No one is available to take your call" rather than "I can't take your call".

If you think something is not right, but you are not sure, call 111 and let Police decide.

Civil Defence

Civil Defence helps communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. It is not an emergency service that will turn up at your door. Your survival after a major disaster could depend on the food and resources you and your neighbours have between you.

Emergency services could take several days to provide you with relief or supplies.

You are responsible for:

  • preparing your family to survive with sufficient food and water
  • staying warm and dry for several days after natural disasters such as floods, fires, tsunami and earthquakes.

For more information on how to prepare and get through a civil defence emergency visit the Civil Defence website