Connect with your neighbourhood
Foster a friendlier neighbourhood – Give a wave to the familiar faces in your street. This doesn’t mean you must stop and have cups of tea with people, but just to be aware of who the usual people are. You might prefer to drop a ‘Hello Neighbour’ card in the letter box of your neighbours. Knowing at least some of your neighbours can really support your home safety and theirs.
Join the neighbourhood conversation – whether that be over the fence, or in a private chat group on social media, be a part of the information exchange. Take care to not share personal information, but these can be useful for letting others know about suspicious behaviours, lost pets or fun things to do.
Join the local crime prevention conversation - Neighbourhood Watch is a community-based crime prevention program which aims to improve the quality of life within a neighbourhood by minimising preventable crime and promoting closer community ties. The program relies on the community and the police working together in a partnership to achieve these aims.
Neighbourhood Watch Baw Baw always welcomes new members. if anyone wishes to join or requires any additional information please complete the form on the Neighbourhood Watch website, and they will provide you with the local groups contact details.
For more information, see the drop-down menu below titled 'Neighbourhood Watch'.
Use services - The Commonwealth Home Support Program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and is for people aged over 65 (or over 50 for Indigenous Australians). It provides a range of basic services designed to support frail older people, people with disabilities, and carers, to stay active, independent and living at home for as long as possible. Supporting people to stay active, involved and doing as much for themselves as possible, is proven to help people stay more independent, with a greater sense of control and wellbeing.
Keep in touch with trusted family and friends
Have a social connection outside of your home – being connected with a group or a club in the community supports safer living. Things like a sporting club, a music group, a book club, a church, a walking group all provide activities to join in with, and a social network that can share information and maybe help out if misfortune comes your way.
Watch for changes in relationships – Maybe it’s in your own relationships, or that of a friend, if something feels like it has changed for the worse, then seek help. See the information on Elder abuse (below) or visit Council’s Get Help and Support page.
Elder Abuse - This is a form of family violence that affects older people. It is any act carried out by a trusted friend or family member that causes harm to an older person. Abuse can be unintentional or deliberate. The harm caused to an older person may range from the unintended effects of poor care through to serious physical injury inflicted deliberately. Harm can also include emotional harm and financial loss including the loss of a home and belongings. For help or information please contact the organisations below:
- Senior Rights Victoria: Free information, advocacy and legal advice for older people or service providers. Seniors Rights Victoria can be contacted on 1300 368 821.
- Elder Rights Advocacy: Free advice and support for older people accessing residential care or a home care package. Elder Rights Advocacy can be contacted on 1800 600 700.
- 1800-ELDER-HELP: Free advice line for people experiencing elder abuse or services needing advice. Free call the advice line on 1800 353 374.
Be a friend to others – just as you benefit from being connected with others, so they benefit from your friendship.
Report all suspected and actual crimes quickly
Use Triple Zero (000) in an emergency – when someone’s life is or is likely to be in danger, when you need immediate police attendance, a crime is happening now, or an offender is (or may be) still in the area.
To effectively tackle crime in the whole community, Victoria Police need information about all crimes as quickly as possible. This helps the Police to notice trends, or lay charges. If you witness crime or you are a victim of a crime, put your misfortune to good use and report it. The Police Assistance Line and Online Reporting service provides you with the ability to call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to report lost property or property related crime such as a theft or property damage, or to make general police enquiries. Call 131 444 or submit an online report.
Scams - report all suspected and actual scams quickly too
Report possible or actual scams - The ACCC encourage you to report scams to them. It helps to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible.
Learn about scams - Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams. There are many types of Scams including:
- Attempts to gain your personal information e.g. phishing and Identity theft
- Rebate scams try to convince you that you are entitled to a rebate or reimbursement from the government, a bank or trusted organisation.
- Fake charities e.g. Scammers impersonate genuine charities and ask for donations or contact you claiming to collect money after natural disasters or major events
- Door-to-door and home maintenance scams, generally involve promoting goods and services that are of poor quality, or not delivered at all.
Protect yourself - don't be pressured into making a decision. Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency through short deadlines, fake emergencies or threats of legal action.
IDCARE - is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber support service, providing assistance to people affected by scams, hacking and identity theft, as well as those trying to manage joint accounts and online issues when a loved one has passed away. Contact IDCARE on 1800 595 160
Be informed and adaptable
How Safe Is My Place? Once a year, take this free quiz to find out how safe your home is from burglary and what you can do to improve security in and around your home. How Safe Is My Place is an initiative of Neighbourhood Watch Victoria and is supported by RACV. Completing the quiz will provide you with practical tips and advice on how to keep your home, treasured possessions and family secure. Make it part of your annual home and contents insurance routine.
During this free quiz, you will see some hot tips pop up that may help you keep your home safer and improve security around your home.
Seek out help with technology and change passwords regularly – You may have family or friends who can help you with your technology. If you prefer, there are options to learn more about your technology on the internet or in the community. Visit the Seniors’ page on the e-Safety Commissioner website to find out more.
Store keys, tools and valuables securely and out of sight
In your house - keep your valuables out of sight or locked away when you're not using them.
Keep cash in the bank - not at home or in the console of your car. Even loose change can encourage a thief to break into a car.
In the car - your garage remote control button gives easy access to your garage which may lead to your house. Keep it with you on your key-ring and avoid leaving it in the car for a thief to use. If you must leave valuables in the car, put them in a locked glovebox or store out of sight.
Believe it or not, your car registration plates can be a target for theft. Use one-way screws to fit the plates to the car to stop a thief from removing them.
In the shed – Keep sheds locked so that your tools are secure and are not used to break into your home.
Mail – Add a lock to your letterbox to protect your important documents that could be used fraudulently.
Look like you are home when you are not
Lighting - Fool opportunist burglars by switching on and off lights or turning on the radio to give them the impression you are at home, whilst away.
Mail – ask a trusted neighbour or friend to collect your mail if you are away.
Bins – ask a trusted neighbour to put out and bring in bins if you are not home.
Car in the driveway – again, those trusted neighbours might be able to park a vehicle in your driveway from time to time if you are away for an extended period.
Crime-fighting landscape around your house!
Pick plants to deter intruders - dense, thorny shrubs or hedges can be off-putting to intruders so consider planting them on, or around, your home's perimeter to keep people off your property.
Gravel paths – can make a crunching sound when walked over, especially if they have recently been topped up. They can give an early warning that someone is approaching.
Passive surveillance – this is a fancy way of asking how visible is your house from the street? Crime is less likely to happen in view of others. Increase the level of passive surveillance on your house by removing excess vegetation, improving lighting, and getting to know your neighbours. Please Note that if you intend to remove vegetation, first check that you are complying with local laws regarding vegetation removal.
Locks and limiters
Windows rods – a length of dowel in a sliding window track will prevent the pane from opening too far.
Door chain – if you need to open the door to see who has knocked, a door chain limits the amount that it will open. Make sure it is fitted with long, strong screws in both the door and in the door frame.
Door and window locks – chances are you already have these installed. Make a habit of locking doors and windows where someone could gain entry to you home.