Safe and healthy communities
Creating a safer community is a key priority for Council. In our Community Strategic Plan 2017-2027 the community emphasised safety and crime prevention as a high priority, requiring an active response from Council.
As a result, we are strengthening collaboration between government departments, businesses and the community to reduce crime and increase the community’s sense that Lake Macquarie is a safe place to live, work and play.
Our Crime Prevention Strategy identifies key areas of crime activity currently being targeted in partnership with NSW Police and other key stakeholders.
Through these partnerships, Council is helping to:
- reduce thefts from homes and vehicles
- prevent vehicle theft
- improve graffiti removal response time
- educate the community and reduce the prevalence of domestic and family violence.
How to prevent car theft
Did you know about 70 per cent of vehicles stolen during 2018 – 2019 occurred from people’s homes? Most of these vehicles were stolen from driveways and even from private garages.
Vehicle thefts are almost always opportunistic in nature, with offenders often entering homes through unlocked doors and windows to get car keys. Some offenders are even prepared to enter while you are home, to quickly grab keys left in easily accessible spots.
The number of vehicles reported stolen from Lake Macquarie City from April 2018 to March 2019 was 524, down from 556 in the previous year.
Despite this positive reduction, it’s important to keep your vehicle safe by keeping your keys in a secure place.
Car security begins at home.
What you can do?
- Safeguard your keys – consider them to be as valuable as your car itself. Keep them in a discreet and secure place, such as in a draw, rather than on a bench..
- Lock your door behind you as you enter or leave home.
- Don’t tag your keys with your name or address – use a mobile phone number or driver licence number instead.
- At home, keep trees and shrubs well-trimmed in order to provide a clear line of sight to the street and reduce potential hiding places.
- Motion-activated external security lighting can deter intruders.
- Consider installing a visible, signposted alarm system as a deterrent to criminals.
- Be a good neighbour. If you notice any suspicious activity, report it immediately to Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.
Home security tips
Follow these three simple tips to improve your home security.
Prevent home burglary by making it harder for offenders to get into your home. Lock all doors and windows, even when you are home or if you will only be away for a short time.
Most home burglaries occur when the home is unoccupied. You can make it look like someone is home by leaving lights at night. You might also keep a radio or TV running.
It is harder for offenders to sell stolen property that is clearly marked with the owner’s details. It also makes it easier for police to return property to its rightful owner. Label valuables with personal information using marker pens, an engraving tool or micro tags.
Protect yourself against scams and fraud
Scams are becoming increasingly common, with people now targeted through phone calls, mail, email, online and in person.
Scammers use many different methods to steal your money or sensitive information, including:
- Fake tax, government or insurance rebates
- Door-to-door home maintenance offers
- Online shops advertised on social media
- Online dating scams
- An unexpected prize win
Protect yourself from identity theft and scams with a few simple actions:
- Lock your mailbox with a padlock
- Protect bank cards with PINs
- Create strong passwords
- Lock your computer and don’t give people remote access
- Keep important documents locked up when travelling
- Always log out of personal accounts online
- Check the legitimacy of businesses, prize and financial claims, important documents, dating profiles, emails and text messages
- Regularly check account statements for any unusual activity and request a copy of your annual credit report from a credit agency
- Know your rights as a consumer.Legitimate businesses offer cooling-off periods
- Look for the padlock symbol in the website address bar to ensure you are using a secure website
- Don’t share personal information if you are unsure of the legitimacy of the request
- Report lost or stolen cards immediately
- Report concerns to your bank
- Keep passwords stored in a safe and secure location
- Install reputable security software on your devices
- Shred documents containing personal information
- Report scams to scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam
Learn more about avoiding scams and fraud at Scam Watch and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.